Senate committee split on political interference at the ABC

A Senate committee has delivered its report into allegations of political interference in the ABC covering everything from the dismissal of the Managing Director Michelle Guthrie to the appointment of Ita Buttrose as the ABC Chair. 

The Senate committee was led by Greens senator Sarah Hanson-Young, deputy chair Liberal Jonathon Duniam, three Labor and one Nationals senator,  with the majority expressing grave concerns that the Prime Minister has chosen to make yet another so-called ‘captain’s pick’, this time in relation to the appointment of Ita Buttrose as ABC chair.
The committee agreed that there should be stronger representation of media experience on the board, recommending that no less than two non-executive members should demonstrate substantial experience or knowledge in the media industry
The opposition and crossbench dominated committee called for more transparency around government-directed board appointments and called for a five-year funding model.
In its report the committee says it “…believes that political interference or the prospect of political interference, and all that that entails, is experienced to varying degrees throughout the ABC and that while The ABC Board and Acting MD confidently asserted that independence is a demonstrated priority for the ABC but the committee heard that this message is either not reaching ABC Staff or is being treated with little regard in the besieged
The committee’s government senators disagreed with a number of points issuing a dissenting report  that said the inquiry had found “has found no evidence of a single incident of political interference in the ABC by the Government, the former Prime Minister, or the Minister for Communications.” and they “strongly reject the contention in the majority report that political interference is experienced to varying degrees throughout the ABC.”



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