Former ABC managing director Michelle Guthrie and former chairman Justin Milne have made submissions to a parliamentary inquiry into political interference in the public broadcaster and the series of events leading to their departure from the ABC. The inquiry, aiming to “find solutions to what has clearly become an issue of political interference,” has also seen Mr. Milne’s replacement call for a change to the way the national broadcaster is funded.
Ms. Guthrie was removed unexpectedly from her position in September, with Mr. Milne stating it was not in the best interest of the ABC for her to continue in her role leading the organisation. Ms. Guthrie stated there was “no justification” for her sacking. The fallout from the unexpected sacking led to Mr. Milne resigning 4 days later, amidst accusations of political interference with the national broadcaster, including allegations he encouraged her to fire journalists the government didn’t like.
The tense situation has resulted in questions regarding how the national broadcaster can maintain independence from government influence when it is reliant on government funding. The events also saw union-led ABC staff holding walkouts in protest, with signs stating “hands off the ABC” and “no political intervention”.
Current ABC board members will also face questions from senators about whether they have failed to protect the national broadcasters editorial independence.