Published: Sun, September 30, 2018
Global Media | By Jackie Banks

Australian Broadcasting Corporation chair resigns over political interference claims

Australian Broadcasting Corporation chair resigns over political interference claims

The chairman of the Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC) has resigned following allegations of political interference.

The news comes shortly after Guthrie, ABC's first female managing director, was sacked less than mid-way through her five-year term, following a board decision announced on 24 September.

Mr Milne is also said to have ordered Ms Guthrie sack political editor Andrew Probyn by telling her "you just have to shoot him", because then prime minister Malcolm Turnbull hated the journalist.

The meeting was called as an update on the current situation following Ms Guthrie's departure as managing director, along with stories that have appeared in the media today involving Mr Milne.

"I feel that the interests of the ABC have always been uppermost in my mind".

The ABC is many Australians' most trusted news source. Get rid of her.

"More concerning for the nation is how the Liberal Party seeks to interfere with the ABC's independence, cut its funding and eventually look to sell it off", said Labor leader Bill Shorten.

Horrified by the suggestion the government could have a say in their jobs and content, ABC journalists held union meetings in Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane and Hobart and passed motions calling either for an inquiry or for Milne to stand aside.

The board held an urgent meeting on Wednesday afternoon and afterwards Mr Milne said he meant to stay on as chairman.

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Turnbull, who has lived in NY since he was ousted as prime minister on August 24, said on Thursday that while he had complained about the two reporters' journalism, he had never asked for them to be fired.

Despite contrary claims, Milne asserts "nobody" from the Australian government has ever "told him" what to do at the ABC.

The revelations sparked protests from the broadcaster's staff on Wednesday who called for Mr Milne's removal and for the organisation's editorial independence to be protected.

Milne said he had quit on Thursday for the good of the organization.

According to an article published by the ABC, "ABC chairman Justin Milne has told 7.30's Leigh Sales he will resign".

The conservative coalition has long complained of a leftist bias in ABC reporting.

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

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.

Earlier, Mr. Morrison had described the interference allegations against Mr. Milne as "pretty serious" and "very concerning".

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