I am focused only on the ABC and independence: acting ABC Chair Kirstin Ferguson | radioinfo

I am focused only on the ABC and independence: acting ABC Chair Kirstin Ferguson

Saturday 29 September, 2018

"I don't have a relationship with Government. I am focused only on the ABC and independence," new ABC Acting Chair Kirstin Ferguson told ABC News.

In an interview after being named by Prime Minister Scott Morrison in the acting role to replace Justin Milne, Ferguson said she would listen politely to comments from government ministers but would not interfere in editorial processes.

"For a minister to expect that I'm going to do something differently or make any comment about editorial processes, they're not going to get very far."

She dismissed calls for the whole board to be replaced saying it is an "unreasonable expectation," and refused to discuss the internal board processes that led to the dismissal of Michelle Guthrie and the resignation of Justin Milne.

"I think this is something that will all come out in the departmental inquiry," she told ABC News. "We are grateful he [Mr Milne] resigned."

Ferguson refused to disclose when allegations of interference by Mr Milne were first brought to the board's attention.

Staff elected director Jane Connors, who has not made public comment until now, sent an all staff memo yesterday afternoon saying she had waited until the acting chair was appointed to say something. The memo said:

"The constraints on a board director are very real, and unfortunately, they preclude me from revealing board deliberations or the contents of confidential communications. However, I maintain that the board took the right decision in terminating the employment of the former managing director...

"I also believe that we took the right steps in relation to the former chairman."

Meanwhile, Fairfax Media has reported an internal board document from Michelle Guthrie that puts her arguments for not being sacked and articulates her allegations that Justin Milne tried to influence editorial processes. Read the report here.

The board has hired public relations firm FTI Consulting to help it with "crisis management".
 

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