Chairman resigns at Australian broadcaster ABC amid 'firestorm' after managing director sacked

Justin Milne resigns from ABC chairman role

ABC chairman Justin Milne quits following attempts to seek sacking reporters

Australia's much-loved public broadcaster scrambled to safeguard its hard-won reputation for impartiality on Thursday (Sept 27), forcing out a chairman accused of intervening in news coverage to please the government.

Former ABC chairman Justin Milne leaves the ABC studios in Sydney after resigning his chairmanship on Thursday.

Michelle Guthrie was let go on Monday after mounting tensions between her and the ABC board.

"It's clearly not a good thing for everybody to be trying to do their job with this kind of fire storm going on, so I wanted to provide a release valve", Milne told the ABC in a television interview.

Turnbull's anger at ABC economics commentator Emma Alberici, who produced a critical - and some say error-ridden - analysis of the government's taxation policy prompted Milne to demand that the journalist be sacked.

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.

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She added that the producer and director were complicit in her harassment and did not heed her complaints about Nana Patekar. She even maintained in reports that she had rehearsed for it solo. "Neither my name is Tanushree nor Nana Patekar".

"They [the government] hate her", Mr. Milne reportedly wrote to Ms. Guthrie.

Justin Milne's resignation and Michelle Guthrie's sacking leave a leadership vacuum at ABC.

Responding to Fairfax Media's report detailing concerns about his language in meetings, Mr Milne said he did not think that he had ever called Ms Guthrie "the missus".

Asked by ABC host Leigh Sales whether he had crossed a line through his attempted interventions, Mr Milne said it was not his role to be a "wall" between politicians and the editorial team.

In light of these events, Prime Minster Scott Morrison said that the allegations against Milne were problematic: "They're pretty serious allegations, I've got to say, and on the face of it they're very concerning".

He said in regards to accuracy, the ABC "failed" in a number of occasions in recent times.

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"It's happened to me many times", he said, claiming he had been accused - falsely - by "four or five women". "She knew Brett. Kavanaugh, in his testimony, is prepared to say that while he did not assault Ford, he was "not questioning that Dr.

Mr Fifield dismissed suggestions his complaints carried significantly more weight given they came from the minister responsible for the ABC.

Mr Milne must explain himself publicly, she said.

Mr Milne is also said to have ordered Ms Guthrie sack political editor Andrew Probyn by telling her "you just have to shoot him", because then prime minister Malcolm Turnbull hated the journalist.

After meeting without Milne, the ABC board this morning asked its chairman to step aside following a controversial few days.

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

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