ABC Friends fear board stacking is back

“The appointment of Janet Albrechtsen and Neil Brown to the panel that recommends appointments to the ABC Board is alarming,” says Glenys Stradijot, ABC Friends national spokesperson.
The pair were appointed today by the Abbott Government, to a four-person nomination panel, which will scritinise possible board appointees, and recommend a short list to the Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet when vacant ABC and SBS board positions arise.

Albrechtsen and Brown will serve alongside businessman David Gonski and former diplomat Ric Smith.

Stradijot fears there will be a return to “the bad old days” when the Howard Government “stacked” the ABC’s governing board with its political supporters.
“Ms Albrechtsen is widely perceived as a right-wing political warrior. It is disturbing that someone so clearly partisan and a strident opponent of the ABC should be appointed to such a position.
“Mr Brown is a former politician who has held senior positions in the Liberal Party. ABC Friends also knows him to be a strong critic of the ABC.
“ABC Friends worked long and hard for the introduction of a system which would depoliticise appointments to the ABC Board, one in which board members would be appointed on merit.

The appointment of Ms Albrechtsen and Mr Brown undermines the integrity of the ABC Board appointment process, according to Stradijot.

In 2011, Labor introduced a merit-based appointment process aimed at depoliticising the ABC and SBS boards. SBS currently has two vacant board positions and the ABC has one vacant position.

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