Chair of Australian public broadcaster quits in meddling row

Former ABC chairman Justin Milne leaves the ABC studios after resigning his chairmanship

Former ABC chairman Justin Milne leaves the ABC studios after resigning his chairmanship

Milne said his resignation did not signal that he had failed to uphold the editorial independence of the ABC and he denied anyone from the government had ever tried to influence him.

'I would never had funded these sort of programming choices if I was the minister.

He says he never demanded anyone be sacked because the government didn't like their reporting, but maintains he was entitled to intervene in editorial issues.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison said on his official social media the ABC's board and its chairman had made the "right call". "They are, rightly, very protective of its integrity and independence".

The Labor opposition went further, saying it no longer had "confidence" in his leadership and describing his position as "untenable".

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

Speaking at a Queensland strawberry farm hours before Mr Milne resigned, Mr Morrison said the facts of the matter needed to be determined "before anybody races off on anything here".

Labor's Communications spokesperson, Michelle Rowland, and others have dismissed the proposed inquiry.

In an interview with the ABC's 7.30 programme, Milne described the week's events as a "firestorm" and said he "wanted to provide a release valve".

Guthrie, who says she is considering her legal options, was seen by staffers who spoke to Asia Times as a weak and ineffective leader and a poor advocate for the organization in Canberra, even though this week's revelations show that she did push back against the political interference of her chairman.

A journalist critical of Malcolm Turnbull
Justin Milne is a friend of former PM Malcolm Turnbull

"There was absolutely no interference in the independence of the ABC by the government".

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". My aims have been to look after the interests of the corporation.

As Marcus Strom, president of the Media Entertainment and Arts Alliance, told ABC News, the staff deserve better and are sick of being treated like "political footballs". He said it was preferable for him to resign than simply step aside while an investigation took place.

Mr Conroy said the ABC had made a series of questionable programming decisions.

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Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull holds his final news conference before leaving Parliament in Canberra on August 24.

Justin Milne resigned from the national broadcaster amid reports he had asked for journalists to be fired because their reporting was disliked by the Australian government.

Following Guthrie's departure, emails from Milne were leaked to The Sydney Morning Herald which suggested Guthrie "get rid of" Alberici following complaints from the then Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull about inaccuracies in her reporting of proposed company tax cuts.

These included petitioning former managing director Michelle Guthrie to sack senior journalist Emma Alberici and to "shoot" political editor Andrew Probyn because the government didn't like them. "My concern has been on the accuracy and impartiality of reporting", Mr. Turnbull told reporters.

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