Justin Milne resigns as ABC chairman after crisis board meeting

Justin Milne resigns from ABC chairman role

Justin Milne resigns from ABC chairman role

Milne's departure comes just days after the ABC sacked former managing director Michelle Guthrie.

In another reported exchange, he directed the managing director to "shoot" the ABC's political editor, Andrew Probyn.

Beyond the reports suggesting that Milne wanted to fire both Alberici and Probyn, Fairfax has reported that Milne referred to Guthrie as "the missus" to staff, and spoke of women as "chicks" and "babes". And, as always, my interests, my aim, has been to look after the interests of the corporation.

The nearly century-old ABC is incredibly popular Down Under, with polls showing that it is not just the most trusted news organisation in the country, but also seen as a national treasure. Get rid of her.

Around 70 per cent of Australians want a strong ABC, despite government spending cuts and daily withering criticism from its commercial rivals - who baulk at what they see as unfair competition from the taxpayer-funded behemoth.

"The operations of the ABC are entirely matters for the board and management of the ABC, which, by law, the Minister does not have a role in", he said.

The sacking led to an inquiry into Milne's actions and enormous public pressure, including from the broadcaster's employees, who are understood to have been considering industrial action had the chairman remained in his job.

Milne had allegedly told Guthrie to sack two senior journalists whose reports had provoked complaints from the government this year.

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"Nobody ever told me to hire anybody, fire anybody or do anything else", Mr. Milne said.

ABC staff have asked whether the chairman damaged the corporation's editorial independence. "We need to save the ABC - not Emma", Milne said, according to Fairfax. "Nobody from the government has ever rung me".

Milne has denied accusations that he interfered in the broadcaster's editorial independence.

A report claimed Mr Milne called on Ms Guthrie to stop triple j moving the Hottest 100 music countdown from Australia Day because he was afraid of what then-prime minister Malcolm Turnbull would say.

Acting center-left opposition leader Tanya Plibersek, demanded an fully independent investigation into what happened.

Communications Minister Mitch Fifield had initially declined to act but later announced an inquiry into allegations of misconduct against Mr Milne.

Earlier, Mr. Morrison had described the interference allegations against Mr. Milne as "pretty serious" and "very concerning".

However, he added, "the idea that the government has somehow got some list and is telling the ABC who should work there and who shouldn't - that's complete rubbish".

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