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Allegations of political interference in the Australian Broadcasting Corporation

Media regulation Public broadcasting Governance Politics Political appointments Australia

On 16 October 2018, the Senate referred the following matter to the Environment and Communications References Committee (committee) for inquiry and report by 29 March 2019:

The allegations of political interference in the Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC), with particular reference to:

(a) the termination of ABC Managing Director, Ms Michelle Guthrie;

(b) the conduct of the Chair and the Board;

(c) the structure, composition and appointments of the ABC Board;

(d) the political influence or attempted influence of the Government over ABC editorial decision-making, including:

(i) outcomes of the Competitive Neutrality of the National Broadcaster Inquiry and Efficiency Review—ABC and SBS, and

(ii) the role of funding uncertainty in facilitating political influence;

(e) governance, legislative and funding options to strengthen the editorial independence and strength of the ABC to prosecute its charter obligations; and

(f) other related matters

This report comprises the following four chapters:

  • Chapter 1—outlines the conduct and background of the inquiry;
  • Chapter 2—examines governance arrangements for the ABC;
  • Chapter 3—discusses the events of 2018 leading to termination of the managing director's employment and resignation of the Chair; and
  • Chapter 4—enquires into allegations of political influence in the ABC.
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