THE board of the ABC will be asked to reconsider Triple J's decision to move the date of the Hottest 100 away from Australia Day.
Communications Minister Mitch Fifield told ABC this morning that the decision was political and was being seen as an attempt to "delegitimise" Australia Day.
"I'll be asking the board of the ABC, who have the ultimate programming and editorial responsibility, to reconsider this," he said.
"The ABC have legislated independence when it comes to programming decisions but as Minister I'm making clear to the ABC my view that they shouldn't mess with Australia Day and they shouldn't mess with the Hottest 100.
"I know that is the view of many of my parliamentary colleagues and it's also a widely held view in the community that the ABC just shouldn't be making political statements."
Triple J has held its music countdown on Australia Day since 1998 although it's not always been held on January 26.
It announced yesterday that it has decided to schedule the Hottest 100 for the fourth weekend of January, which falls on January 27 next year.
The decision comes after Triple J polled its listeners and found 60 per cent of them supported changing the date of the countdown.
In recent years there has been controversy over the celebration of Australia Day, which marks the arrival of the First Fleet and is often referred to as "Invasion Day" by Indigenous Australians.
In justifying its decision, Triple J acknowledged the day had become problematic and the countdown was being drawn into debate about whether Australia Day should be changed.
"We all agreed that the Hottest 100 shouldn't be part of a debate about the day it's on," a statement said. "The only debate should be about the songs."
The move has drawn a mixed response online with many applauding Triple J for the move, while others say they will switch off.
But the government interference is also drawing criticism with some wondering why politicians are getting involved.
Why is the government getting involved in this? How about they stick to their already massive list of unadressed issues.— Jay Michael (@brizzombie) November 27, 2017
I assume Mitch Fifield is also a member of the Triple M music jury. Can't wait to hear his opinions on the new Foo Fighters— Wil Anderson (@Wil_Anderson) November 27, 2017
I remember similar LNP outrage when we @triplej decided to change the #Hottest100 from best song of all time to songs released that year. Great to see them so passionately moved by issues concerning youth music— Adam Spencer (@adambspencer) November 27, 2017
60,000 Triple J listeners were polled about changing the date of their Hottest 100 and the vast majority voted to change it, so Triple J did. It's NOT Mitch Fifield;s decision to make ... ! https://t.co/UjnorYxIdm— Ed Hunter (@EdwardJWHunter) November 27, 2017
Others welcomed the move, pointing out Triple J's decision was a political one.
Great! It’s “Australia Day” not “ABC - JJJ Political Statement Day”. Do they not understand that the taxpayers pay for them and most taxpayers want them to leave Australia Day alone. They’re just promoting divisiveness— CSG (@carmelosg1) November 27, 2017
Privatise the ABC, that will stop this lefty nonsense.— 🇦🇺Dean 🇦🇺 (@richyricho) November 27, 2017
Among the general online community, views seem to be split about moving the Hottest 100.
"I honestly fail to see how this accomplishes anything other than pissing off a whole cohort of loyal listeners by taking away a much loved tradition," one woman wrote on Facebook.
"The date of Australia Day hasn't changed. Why should a bunch of people celebrating music offend anyone. You just lost my vote."
Another said: "So disappointing. The day is about celebrating all Australians. This is just political crap."
But others welcomed the move.
"Triple J is a youth station, they put it to vote, the youth spoke. What beautiful empathy and sentiment from our future leaders," one man posted.
Another said: "Why does it matter? It's not like all the artists are Australian in the countdown... why not just have a day of Australian music instead?
"It's not like they're getting rid of the countdown they're just gonna have it on the long weekend! People need to evolve and change, that's just the way it is.
"The hottest 100 only got put on Australia Day to coincide with Big Day out in Sydney all those years ago."
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