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ABC bosses face grilling over political interference


Directors and staff at the ABC are set to be grilled by senators about allegations of political interference at the public broadcaster.

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The allegations emerged after the ABC’s board sacked the organisation’s ex-managing director Michelle Guthrie halfway through her five-year term in September.

Ms Guthrie claimed then-chair Justin Milne had encouraged her to fire journalists, after senior government figures had taken issue with them.

Mr Milne denied the claims, but resigned as chair just days after Ms Guthrie’s departure regardless, with media stalwart Ita Buttrose announced as his replacement last week.

Under pressure from the Greens, the government supported a Senate inquiry into the issue, with Ms Guthrie and Mr Milne both pressing their cases at a public hearing in November.

Some board members also gave evidence.

But most directors of the ABC – including acting chair Dr Kristin Ferguson – will face questioning today.

So too will the ABC’s acting managing director David Anderson and news director Gaven Morris.

Content director of the ABC’s youth-focused radio station Triple J, Ollie Wards, will also front the hearing by teleconference.

Another public hearing will be held on Wednesday, including ABC alumni and academics.

The latest hearings come after Ms Guthrie and the ABC on Friday reached a resolution in the federal court case she brought against them.

“The details of the resolution will remain confidential. No further public statement will be made regarding the resolution by the ABC or Ms Guthrie,” the ABC said in a statement on Friday.

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