PM Puts Dr Kirstin Ferguson Forward As Acting ABC Chair
Scott Morrison believes ABC board member Dr Kirstin Ferguson can restore stability at the national broadcaster as its acting chair.
Morrison on Friday announced Ferguson has been recommended for the role of deputy chair, which would make her acting chair when endorsed by the Governor-General later that day.
ABC chairman Justin Milne resigned on Thursday amid reports he called for journalists to be sacked because the government didn't like their reporting, three days after former managing director Michelle Guthrie was fired.
"Kirstin will be able to step up into that role as recommended and I think restore some stability there which is very necessary," the prime minister told reporters in Sydney.
"It's important that the ABC maintains its independence. It's also important that the ABC maintains a very unbiased approach to how it reports things, that it gets it right and gets the facts right."
Ferguson, who was appointed to the board on 2015, would remain acting in the job until a permanent chair is appointed.
The recommendation comes after senior Labor frontbencher Anthony Albanese said ABC board members should be considering their positions.
"The ABC certainly is a mess and board members who can't do their job should be considering their position," Mr Albanese told the Nine Network.
"What the board needs is people on it who will stand up for the independence of the ABC. It is critical that it be a public broadcaster, not a government broadcaster."
Communications Minister Mitch Fifield has ordered his department secretary to run an inquiry into the broadcaster and report back within days.
Home Affairs Minister Peter Dutton said the results of the inquiry should be known before the future of ABC board members is decided.
"Let that investigation take place, get to the bottom of it, see what the recommendations are and make decisions from there," he said.
Milne has denied demanding any journalist be sacked, but maintains he was entitled to intervene on issues of editorial accuracy and independence.
The former chairman has been accused of asking Guthrie to fire senior journalists Emma Alberici and Andrew Probyn because the government didn't like their reporting.
In one email to Guthrie, Milne reportedly said the government hated Alberici and the ABC should "get rid of her".
Milne is also said to have ordered Guthrie sack Probyn by telling her "you just have to shoot him" because former Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull hated the journalist.