22 January 2019

Stop and start again! ABC board stacking must end

Thousands of GetUp members are pressuring the Federal Government to urgently overhaul how the ABC’s top jobs are decided -- before it selects a new chair.


Thousands of GetUp members are pressuring the Federal Government to urgently overhaul how the ABC’s top jobs are decided – before it selects a new chair.

GetUp has today released a damming report called Inside Job: Political Interference at the ABC, which exposes as a complete sham, the chair selection process at the ABC.

GetUp democracy campaigner Jairaj Manoharachandran said the current process was absurd and open to abuse by the government of the day.

“The government has repeatedly ignored independent advice in favour of handpicking its mates to the ABC Board and has even hired a recruiting firm with strong ties to the Liberal Party to help appoint the two most senior positions in the organisation.

“Protecting our ABC can be done in four steps: remove the ability of the Minister to unilaterally handpick board members; replace the panel that shortlists candidates with a cross-party committee; publicly publish all positions, selection criteria, and the names of nominated candidates; and replace the two government-appointed directors on the board with a second staff-elected director and an audience supported director.”

GetUp members have started sending the report to their local MPs along with a warning: prepare for a backlash this federal election if you appoint another crony.

“Our ABC plays a vital role in our society and its independence is crucial - it’s the broadcaster Australians trust most to stay informed and to fiercely hold all politicians to account. Playing politics with our ABC puts all of this at risk.”

“The process to decide who leads our ABC needs an urgent overhaul. We can safeguard the ABC from toxic political game playing by giving ABC staff and everyday people more of a say in how our public broadcaster is run.”

More than 40,000 GetUp members have already signed a petition calling on the Federal Government to appoint a truly independent ABC chair.

“The ABC is Australia’s most trusted institution. If communities have to choose between Scott Morrison and a fearless and independent ABC, we know who they’re going to pick. Appoint a government crony to the ABC board, and there’ll be hell to pay on election day.”

Protecting the ABC was voted by GetUp members as a top five issue in the 2019 election survey.

A copy of the Inside Job: Political Interference at the ABC report can be downloaded here: https://defendtheabc.getup.org.au/