Australian broadcasting corp’s chairman quits over politics claims

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The chairman of the Australian Broadcasting Corp. has resigned over allegations that he pressured the independent national broadcaster to fire two political journalists because the government disliked them.

This comes four days after the surprise sacking of former ABC managing director Michelle Guthrie.

Ms Guthrie refused and was herself fired yesterday...

"My aim, has been to look after the interests of the corporation".

The ABC is regularly ranked as Australia's most respected media organizations, an institution which has a place at the heart of the country's cultural, political and sports scenes. Get rid of her.

Fifield said it had been a hard week for the ABC and he reiterated the government's commitment to the independence of the broadcaster.


Labor communications spokeswoman Michelle Rowland has suggested the government has not acted in the interests of the ABC's independence.

On Monday, Mr Milne said during an interview on the ABC News channel that Ms Guthrie's employment with the ABC had been "terminated".

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

He says he never demanded anyone be sacked because the government didn't like their reporting, but maintains he was entitled to intervene in editorial issues.

Mr Milne must explain himself publicly, she said.

Federal Communications Minister Mitch Fifield has asked the head of his department to launch an inquiry into potential interference at the ABC.


Mr Milne has described this week's events as a "firestorm", coupled with allegations he called for the termination of Emma Alberici and political editor Andrew Probyn.

Mr Milne says the relationship between the ABC and the government is hard because the ABC is government funded but expected to stay impartial.

"Mr Milne has no understanding of editorial independence, proper complaints handling processes, or the appropriate distance a board chair needs to keep from staffing matters", the union said in a statement.

"Their responsibilities as a director require them to devote extra time and attention should their company be facing problems - we have even seen some cases where they have stepped into the role of acting CEO", Ms Peres da Costa said.

Scott Morrison, Australia's prime minister, urged the ABC to "resume normal transmission, both independently and without bias".

Justin Milne, for example, is a friend and former colleague of recently deposed Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull and has been widely seen as the government's "man at the ABC", according to ABC insiders and the public.


Sources at the ABC said employees had made it clear to board members on Thursday that ABC staff were so angry they were prepared to walk off the job in protest if Milne did not resign.

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