Australia state broadcaster chair resigns after denying government meddling in ABC

Australia state broadcaster chair resigns after denying government meddling in ABC

Australia state broadcaster chair resigns after denying government meddling in ABC

Australia's much-loved public broadcaster scrambled to safeguard its hard-won reputation for impartiality on Thursday (Sept 27), forcing out a chairman accused of intervening in news coverage to please the government.

ABC directors met on Thursday and decided Milne should stand aside while a government investigation took place, which prompted the ABC chair to resign.

ABC managing director Michelle Guthrie is sacked by the broadcaster's board, who claimed it was "not in the best interests" of the broadcaster for her to continue in the role.

Fairfax Media has reported that Mr. Milne wrote an email to Ms. Guthrie calling for Ms. Alberici be fired on May 8, a day after Mr. Turnbull complained to the ABC's news director about an Ms. Alberici report on government spending.

The nearly century-old Australian Broadcasting Corporation is incredibly popular Down Under, with polls showing it is not just the most trusted news organization in the country, but also seen as a national treasure. Get rid of her.

"Time for the ABC to resume normal transmission, both independently and without bias", he said on Twitter.

Mr Milne's board position is not due for re-election at Tabcorp's annual general meeting next month.

In just two explosive days, the situation also spawned two inquiries into the ABC's leadership crisis: one spurred by Communications Minister Mitch Fifield, and another in the Senate, where the Labor Party opposition and Greens have the numbers to outvote the government.

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"Nobody from the government has ever rung me and told me what to do in relation to the ABC", he said.

Milne said then the board's decision was made in the "long-term interests of our own people and the millions of Australians who engage with ABC content every week".

She told ABC Radio Melbourne's Jon Faine she had not heard Mr Milne reportedly wanted her sacked until she read Fairfax's article.

The government didn't respond to a report in March, but Mr Oquist said a debate on the issue is bound to happen now.

In a text message exchange with ABC radio presenter Rafael Epstein, Mr Milne said "yes" when asked if he meant to remain in the role.

An Essential poll released on September 25 said 54% of those surveyed trusted the ABC, vastly more than said they had faith in the federal parliament (28%) or Australia's political parties (15%).

ABC staff have asked whether the chairman damaged the corporation's editorial independence.

Mr Milne, who resigned on Thursday, is also the chairman of two ASX-listed companies - accounting software giant MYOB and communications technology business NetComm Wireless.

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