Under-fire Milne refuses to quit ABC

Lawrence Kim
September 27, 2018

More voices are calling for ABC chairman Justin Milne to step down over reports he demanded a reporter be sacked because she wasn't like by the Coalition Government. "There is no guarantee they will lose the next election".

"It's sad, but I think the chairman, Milne, really has to really consider his position and consider resigning", he told the ABC. At the time, the ABC removed an analysis piece by Alberici related to the proposed changes, and revised a news story which accompanied the piece.

Brisbane ABC staffers went further, unanimously calling for Milnne's immediate resignation should the email exchange prove to have occurred.

While Milne is now being investigated following reports he wanted journalist Emma Alberici fired because the Government wasn't happy with the way she reported on tax policy, The Guardian is reporting that Milne tried to stop triple j from moving the date of its Hottest 100 countdown away from Australia Day.

Employees of the national broadcaster passed the motion at a meeting in Sydney on Wednesday afternoon stating an investigation was needed to protect the ABC's independence.

Former ABC chairman David Hill, who served as ABC chairman for one year before becoming managing director in 1987 - a position he held until 1995 - said Mr Milne should resign.

Mr Cassidy told Wednesday evening's The Project Mr Milne and Michelle Guthrie, the recipient of the emails in question, did not understand how journalism worked and thus were unqualified to weigh in on Alberici's employment.

On Wednesday morning, Milne issued a statement which did not directly respond to the Fairfax report, saying he would not "provide a running commentary" on operational issues inside the ABC.

"That is precisely what the board has done and will continue to do", Milne said.

'It's unfortunate that we've had Michelle Guthrie and Justin Milne in charge at the same time because neither of them have a real understanding of how it all works, ' Mr Cassidy told host Waleed Aly.

At a meeting coordinated by the Media, Entertainment and Arts Alliance, staff called on an independent inquiry into the matter saying: "the idea behind the investigation is to secure the editorial independence of the ABC from top to bottom".

Mr Milne was appointed chairman of the ABC in March 2017, under former prime minister Malcolm Turnbull, and has previously served as a senior executive for Telstra, Microsoft and NBN Co.

In Melbourne, the ABC also called for Milne to step aside to make room for an inquiry.

The Australian's Chris Kenny wrote that Milne's "intercession in the controversy over a shoddy report by economics correspondent Emma Alberici - revealed in a leaked email - was beyond the pale and reeks of political interference".

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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