The ABC is the nation’s premier cultural institution and the prism though which we view ourselves, our nation and the world. The ABC’s reach is broad and inclusive. From the city to the regions, we rely on the expertise and independence of the ABC to inform, educate and entertain.
The events of last year, which included the sacking of Managing Director Michelle Guthrie and the resignation of Chair Justin Milne, highlighted serious issues of governance, overarching legislation and funding pressures within the ABC.
Further, the serious allegations of political interference threaten the independence of the ABC. As one of the most trusted organisations in our country, any action which threatens to jeopardise or undermine the ABC’s independence should be dealt with swiftly. The recent appointment of Ita Buttrose as Chair again highlights the need for my bill, as the manner of her appointment might hinder her ability to stand up to threats of the ABC’s independence and integrity. However well-intentioned Ms Buttrose may be, the danger is that her tenure will always be seen through the prism of her partisan appointment.
For these reasons, I put forward my Australian Broadcasting Corporation Amendment (Appointment of Directors) Bill 2018, which aims to ensure the integrity, independence and transparency of the ABC board appointment process.
Actions So Far
Speaking in the Senate
- Protecting the ABC from attacks on its independence
- Labor distances itself from the ABC chair process, but has no qualms with the result
- Parliament to consider sweeping changes to the way ABC board members are picked