World

Crisis at ABC continues, pressure builds on chairman Justin Milne to resign

Crisis at ABC continues, pressure builds on chairman Justin Milne to resign

Australia's national broadcaster has lost both its chairman and managing director in less than a week, amid staff protests over concerns of government interference in its editorial independence.

The government on Wednesday ordered a communications department investigation into the published allegations that Mr. Milne had pressured Ms. Guthrie to fire the two journalists, warning she was "putting the future of the ABC at risk" and jeopardizing 500 million Australian dollars (360 million) in government funding the chairman wanted for his pet project to digitize the broadcaster.

Hours before Milne's resignation, the communications minister, Mitch Fifield, indicated that Milne no longer had the support of the government.

The sacking led to an inquiry into Milne's actions and enormous public pressure, including from the broadcaster's employees, who are understood to have been considering industrial action had the chairman remained in his job.

Milne also denied that his resignation was an admission of wrongdoing on his part, saying that "interests of the ABC have always been uppermost in my mind" and "there is absolutely no interference in the independence of the ABC by the government".

"Nobody from the government has ever rung me and told me what to do in relation to the ABC". Nobody every told me to hire anybody, fire anybody or do anything else.

"Absolutely 100% not", he said.

ABC's managing director Michelle Guthrie was sacked on Monday. And, as always, my interests, my aim, has been to look after the interests of the corporation.

"My concern has been on the accuracy and impartiality of news reporting".




How the dust settles remains to be seen, but the events are the culmination of rising political temperatures regarding the role and performance of the publicly owned ABC, which although it enjoys statutory independence from government has been under pressure for its perceived left-leaning political bias.

Fairfax Media reports allege that while still prime minister, Mr Turnbull called Mr Milne to complain about a report on the government's company tax cuts produced by chief economics correspondent Emma Alberici, which he claimed was full of inaccuracies.

The board held an urgent meeting on Wednesday afternoon and afterwards Mr Milne said he meant to stay on as chairman. "The bottom line is I have never called for anybody to be fired", Mr Turnbull told reporters in NY.

Follow Business Insider Australia on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Instagram.

But he rejects asking for specific reporters to be axed.

"Today, the Australian public has asked to be reassured that the ABC's independence is protected", Mr Morris wrote.

ABC chairman Justin Milne says he never demanded journalists be sacked but says his emails about getting rid of one need context.

Milne and Turnbull, who was ousted amid inter-party wrangling in August, are described by Australian media as "long-term [friends]".


  • Wealthy couple allegedly murdered by contract killer hired by estranged kin

    Wealthy couple allegedly murdered by contract killer hired by estranged kin

    The two alleged executioners and Satchakit are being held on suspicion of murder. Also arrested was the allegedly bitter relative, Warut Satchakit, 63.
    Judge weighs Cosby's sentence after declaring him 'predator'

    Judge weighs Cosby's sentence after declaring him 'predator'

    The answers will begin to emerge Monday, when the 81-year-old comedian appears in court in Pennsylvania for his sentencing. Cosby was smiling and joking with his spokesman and sheriff's deputies as he settled into the courtroom Tuesday.

    The internet in meltdown as Meghan Markle 'breaks royal protocol'

    Meanwhile, The Sun's royal correspondent Emily Andrews tweeted: "A princess who still takes the time to shut her auto door". That's not stopped royal watchers from furiously consulting their etiquette books.
  • Tropical Storm Kirk Revives

    Tropical Storm Kirk Revives

    Another system, about 260 miles south of Cape Hatteras, N.C., could become a tropical depression today as it moves northwestward. Kirk is moving off to the west at 18 miles per hour, and will gradually strengthen over the next few days.
    Former roommate says Kavanaugh was 'belligerent when he was very drunk'

    Former roommate says Kavanaugh was 'belligerent when he was very drunk'

    We talked at night as freshman roommates do and I would see him as he returned from nights out with his friends. But Trump was careful not to attack the women directly. "I wouldn't mind it at all".
    Effortless Danny Welbeck shows his quality in uneasy home victory

    Effortless Danny Welbeck shows his quality in uneasy home victory

    Lacazette and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang have started to link up well under the Spanish coach in the Premier League . England forward Welbeck put his side ahead after five minutes, heading home Matteo Guendouzi's cross.
  • Mourinho and Pogba in tense-looking exchange

    The Red Devils will be visiting the London Stadium to face West Ham who frustrated Chelsea to a goal-less draw on Saturday. Pogba and Mourinho then had a hostile stand-off in training on Wednesday, with cameras capturing the frosty exchange.
    Japan's universities improve in global rankings after years of decline

    Japan's universities improve in global rankings after years of decline

    Performing at the top of the 32 Taiwanese universities, NTU was ranked 170, moving up from last year's 198, the rankings showed. Overall, the United Kingdom has 29 universities in the top 200, and is the most-represented European country in the top 200.
    Salisbury poisoning suspect is Russian colonel

    Salisbury poisoning suspect is Russian colonel

    Russian Federation has always denied the allegations and President Vladimir Putin said the suspects were civilians . CCTV released by police showed the two men in Salisbury close to Skripal's house on the day of the poisoning.
  • The Fed raises interest rates by a quarter percentage point

    The Fed raises interest rates by a quarter percentage point

    If any more board members indicate they think a December rate hike is merited now, it will be seen as almost a done deal. If the Fed finds that prospect likely, it might signal Wednesday that it expects to slow its rate increases next year.
    Trump And Rouhani UN Speeches Highlight US- Iran Standoff

    Trump And Rouhani UN Speeches Highlight US- Iran Standoff

    Trump had called Kim a "rocket man" bent on nuclear destruction in his United Nations speech a year ago . Trump, he said, may have accidentally come up with his new 2020 campaign slogan.
    Trump says he rejected meeting with Trudeau over trade fight

    Trump says he rejected meeting with Trudeau over trade fight

    Trump said he does not have a good relationship with Canada's diplomatic delegation, including foreign minister Chrystia Freeland. He took aim at the country's dairy tariffs and reiterated his threat to tax Canada's auto industry.