Layers of politics in the ABC: Sue Howard

Former ABC Director of Radio Sue Howard has spoken publicly for the first time about being sacked from the ABC by Mark Scott. She told Jon Faine on ABC774 Melbourne that she was removed because she and Scott were on different ends of the political spectrum and because she had applied for the Managing Director’s job. 

Faine said she had a “falling out with our boss Mark Scott.” 

She responded “We certainly probably were politically quite different. I’m less politically conservative than Mark, shall we say.


“And I think there is a kind of tradition that when a managing director comes in, to be fair, Mark was the only one I know who has done this quite as efficiently ……that anyone who was in line for your job, or applied for you job, tends to get the flick in the next little while… So I always expected that at some point Mark would ask me to move on.”


Sue Howard, who now works as a mediator, explained that there are “layers and layers of politics” in the ABC, that most broadcasters do not know about.

Faine also spoke about his previous sacking from ABC774 due to lineup changes, when the station was known as 3LO. He said Sue Howard had given him good advice at that time to bite his tongue and not criticise ABC management publicly. He took that advice, formulating a funny, but carefully worded farewell in his last program. Faine tells that story towards the end of the 7 minute audio excerpt.


The insight into ABC Radio politics of the time came as part of Jon Faine’s Conversation Hour, where he has a guest in the studio to co-host with him and interview other personalities.

After discussing her own circumstances, Sue Howard and Faine interviewed Toni Childs. To hear the full interview, click here.

At the time she left the ABC, no reason was given publicly for Sue Howard’s departure. An ABC media release at the time quoted Howard saying:

“It’s very hard to leave something you are so passionate about, but in many ways this is the very best time of all. I am proud that radio finished 2008 on an historic high with its largest audience share on record. It’s very clear that millions of our listeners are telling us every week that we’re doing a lot right and it’s a terrific feeling to leave the medium I love in such a strong position.”