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Monday Conference – Rhodesia or Zimbabwe (1973)


Robert Moore interviews Senator Glen Sheil from Queensland, who has just returned from a week-long fact-finding tour of Rhodesia. His belief that Rhodesia is a fine and progressive African country is contrasted with the views of Bishop Donal Lamont. The bishop spent 30 years as a Catholic priest in that country before being deported by the government after having been found guilty of aiding and protecting terrorists. There’s also a hand-picked audience of those who support Rhodesia and those who support Zimbabwe, who take it in turns to ask questions of the two guests.

Curator’s notes

This program is from the third year of Monday Conference and already it had settled into its most effective format. There are two invited guests representing either side of the debate, with a carefully selected audience mirroring these two very divided points of view. The program was filmed in colour even though the ABC didn’t broadcast in colour until 1975.

Robert (Bob) Moore is the presenter and executive producer of the program. He had been one of the early reporters on Four Corners (2008), returning to Australia after a stint on the BBC’s Panorama (2008) program. In 1965 he became executive producer of Four Corners (2008) and one of its correspondents. He then interviewed leading Australians including Sir Frank Packer and Nugget Coombs for the six-part series Profiles of Power (1970). He began Monday Conference in 1971 and the show ceased with his sudden death in 1979.

Monday Conference was modelled on the US program Meet The Press (2008). These days, the Bob Moore tradition is continued by Jenny Brockie at SBS with her very popular prime time program Insight (2008). The ABC has followed with Difference of Opinion (2008), compered by Jeff McMullen.