ABC Alumni’s open letter to the PM

In an open letter endorsed by almost 100 former promintent ABC Staff including Kerry O’Brien, Jeff McMullen and David Hill, the ABC Alumni have urged Prime Minister Scott Morrison to not appoint a biased ABC Chair.

The text of the letter is below.


The Federal Government must not rush to appoint a new ABC Chair, especially one who has displayed bias against the national broadcaster’s comprehensive role in Australian society.

ABC Alumni, representing more than 200 former ABC staff, appeals to the Federal Government to respect the independence of the ABC and not appoint a new Chair until after the Senate Inquiry into ‘allegations of political interference’ delivers its report in a few months’ time.

The current process of selecting and appointing board members is open to political influence and needs urgent reform.

The Communications Minister should not appoint ABC board members without complying with the current nomination process; nor should the Prime Minister make a “captain’s pick” for Chair.

The leadership of the ABC and the long-term future of the national broadcaster is too important for the Government to rush a decision to appoint a Chair.

The threshold public interest test must be whether a candidate has a strong track record of support for the ABC and the concept of public media generally.

Commercial media executives who lobbied to restrict the ABC’s online activities and confine it to areas regarded as uneconomic for commercial media should be disqualified from consideration.

ABC Alumni made a strong submission to the Competitive Neutrality inquiry and notes that the independent panel reported to the Federal Government that the ABC does not have a competitive advantage in the Australian media market and its current range of output should not be restricted.

ABC Alumni strongly believes that the new Chair must commit to maintain the ABC’s output in metropolitan, rural and regional Australia and to re-vitalise  operations in Asia and the Pacific on all platforms – radio, television and online.

The Open Letter is endorsed by almost 100 former prominent ABC staff, including: Kerry O’Brien, Jeff McMullen, David Hill, Penny Chapman, Peter Manning, Robin Hughes, Maxine McKew, Matt Peacock, Helen Grasswill, Shaun Hoyt, Vatsikopoulos, Tim Ritchie, Bob Debus, John Tulloh, Peter Marks, David Brill, Tony Bond, Sue Spencer, Jane Singleton, Richard Ackland, Tim Bowden, Ramona Koval, Jemima Garrett, Tony Walker, Peter Cave, John Cleary, Jane Jeffes, Karen Snowdon, Gillian Coote, Gillian Appleton, Anne Maria Nicholson, Andrew Fowler,Toni Hassan, Catherine Shirley, Ian Vaile, Ian MacIntosh, Wendy Page, Pepita Conlon, Tracey Ellison, Stephen Crittenden, John Millard, Janet Clayton, Louisa Wright, Vivien Altman, Denise Eriksen, Andrew Potter, Kathy Bowlen, Mike Donaldson, Kay Nankervis, Kate Hodges, Robert Garnsey, John Lander, Heather Forbes, Michael P. Ward, Bill Bunbury, Lynne Shaw, Bill Flemming, Sharon Carlton, Janine Burdeu, Anne Wynter, Mike Honey, Rupert Mazlin, Phil Cullen, Stuart Burchmore, Nick Franklin, David Adamson, Robin Sproule, Elaine D. Cooke, Tony Souter, Sue Tronser, Deb Nesbitt, Gethin Creagh, Fairlie Stanish, John Tingle, Lisa Schultz, Don Smith, Paul Collins, Margaret Murphy, Felicity Biggins, Margot Saville, Linda Boland, Michele McKenzie, Kate Miller, Patricia Kirkwood, Coral Saunders, Margot McLaughlin, Mark Hayes, David W. Bate.


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