The Federal Government has again ignored proper process in announcing the appointment of Ita Butrose as ABC Chair. While Ms Buttrose is a well-respected Australian with wide experience in print media, she comes to this leadership role with no specific broadcasting or digital skills so essential to overseeing the future of the ABC.
The Government referred the ABC Chair vacancy to a recruitment firm last October and shortlisted names recommended by the Nominations Panel were sent to the Prime Minister’s office for consideration in January. It appears the appointment of Ms Buttrose has been made outside this standard process.
Furthermore, the ABC legislation requires the Prime Minister to consult the Leader of the Opposition on the appointment of the ABC Chair, yet no such advice has been sought from Bill Shorten.
It is unfortunate that Ms Buttrose commences her term in such circumstances.
ABC Friends hopes Ms Buttrose will send strong signals to all Australians that she will uphold the independence of the ABC and become a passionate advocate for the national public broadcaster developing new directions within Australia and the Asia Pacific region.
After the last few years of controversy, severe funding cuts and allegations of political interference it will be essential that the new ABC Chair Ms Buttrose develop close links with the vast majority of Australians who trust the ABC and want to see it better respected and enabled to meet its Charter obligations to provide diverse programming and a wide range of services.
National President ABC Friends
Ph: 0447 735 156 or 0418 181 843