ABC Defiant

This story in the Australian caught my eye this morning:

A new row has erupted between the ABC and the government over an investigation into allegations raised by sacked managing director Michelle Guthrie as the national broadcaster prepares to face a hostile grilling at Senate estimates.

ABC acting chair Kirstin ­Ferguson has refused a request from Communications Minister Mitch Fifield to reveal the scope or time frames of an investigation into problems Ms Guthrie raised with the organisation’s board the day before she was sacked.

In a letter on October 15 to Ms Ferguson, Senator Fifield sought advice on “what the Board intends to do to address the issues that have been raised and measures being taken to ensure the ongoing stability of ABC operations”.

As the ABC’s acting managing director David Anderson prepares to front a tense Senate estimates committee on Tuesday, Ms Ferguson has effectively cast the letter as an attack on the ABC’s independence in a response to Senator ­Fifield that will further inflame an increasingly bitter dispute over alleged political interference.

“It is not appropriate for me, or any director, to make any comment regarding the investigation, including its scope or time frame,” Ms Ferguson wrote. “To do so would potentially breach our fiduciary duty to act in the best interests of the ABC.”

According to sources, the response was not well received by ministers. Senator Fifield declined a request for comment.

Yes. Well. That is the same Kirstin ­Ferguson that the government has just appointed as acting Chairman.

Let this be a lesson to you Mitch – you screw your enemies where and when you can, and not just when they need screwing.

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23 Responses to ABC Defiant

  1. I’ve come to the conclusion that this Liberal Party doesn’t have a clue.

  2. egg_

    Yet another faceplant by the third raters.

  3. Suburban Boy

    “To do so would potentially breach our fiduciary duty to act in the best interests of the ABC.”

    Who said the ABC couldn’t do comedy any more?

  4. RobK

    …. you screw your enemies where and when you can, and not just when they need screwing.
    Somewhat a hedonistic approach, no?

  5. H B Bear

    “It is not appropriate for me, or any director, to make any comment regarding the investigation, including its scope or time frame,” Ms Ferguson wrote. “To do so would potentially breach our fiduciary duty to act in the best interests of the ABC.”

    What utter bullsh1t. How long will taxpayers continue to fund this media behemoth which operates without any Ministerial oversight or control?

  6. Tintarella di Luna

    In December, 2004 Paul Sheehan wrote an article about Stephen Conroy and re-visited it in March 2013

    In that article he says the Labor Party had

    devolved into an insular patronage machine dominated by vindictive mediocrities.

    which is exactly what the Liberal party has become – hence, in my view, there is not an iota of difference between Labor and Liberal, they are treacherous, self-serving hypocrites who care not a jot for Australia and the people who live in regional, rural and remote Australia. A pox on both their houses.

  7. Tintarella di Luna

    oops apologies for my boldness

  8. NB

    Split in Corleone family. Godmother threatens government.

  9. Shy Ted

    Hey Mitch, when he gets back from Bali, why don’t you send Maocolm in, they seem to like him.

  10. Roger

    Yes. Well. That is the same Kirstin ­Ferguson that the government has just appointed as acting Chairman.

    Is this the same Kirstin Ferguson who praised Emma Alberici for her now infamous sophomoric piece on company taxation?

  11. Baldrick

    “It is not appropriate for me, or any director, to make any comment regarding the investigation, including its scope or time frame,” Ms Ferguson wrote. “To do so would potentially breach our fiduciary duty to act in the best interests of the ABC.”

    But it seems okay for ABC staff to pass comment:

    Sally Neighbour ✔ @neighbour_s
    Michelle Guthrie sacked from ABC managing director role halfway through term
    Excellent decision

  12. Pickles

    You don’t screw your enemies you gutshoot them, sit on a milk crate and smash tins until the moaning stops.

  13. Old Lefty

    In the wake of the national apology, will someone at last call the ABC to account t for its historical promotion of P**ophilia (Richard Neville, it’s good music shows etc) and it’s pederasty casting Ng couch run by Jon Stephens? Or its collusion with Bob Ellis and the Hewitt circle, etc etc?

  14. Jonesy

    Mitch, you represent the sole shareholder of the company. Either get the answers you want..or sack the bloody lot of them!

  15. Percy Popinjay

    The ALPBC has done a figurative Colonel Kurtz on the Australian people, headed upriver and is now out there operating without any decency or restraint, totally beyond the pale of any acceptable human conduct – and they’re still hoovering billions of taxpayers’ dollars.

    So where’s our Cap’n Willard?

  16. John Constantine

    Four corners tonight about purging guns.

    ABC hates any competition for its ABC backed rural independent commo candidates.

  17. Singleton Engineer

    I am with the lady.

    Imagine what a half-smart lawyer would do if receiving a running commentary as things progress.

    From another perspective, Mitch Fifield seems to be as silly as I suspected. Another in his position might have avoided putting sensitive matters into print at such an early stage. Does he have any strategic nous at all? Doesn’t he realise what a meddling ninny he was making of himself?

  18. Tim Neilson

    Imagine what a half-smart lawyer would do if receiving a running commentary as things progress.

    He wasn’t asking for “commentary”. He was asking for facts. Imagine what a half-smart lawyer for Guthrie would do if the ABC tried to conceal those facts in any litigation.

  19. candy

    Perhaps Michelle Guthrie was trying to get the ABC onto a more unbiased path? This is why they hate her now?

    Mark Scott did a lot of damage. He let the ABC journos accuse Navy officers of burning and abusing asylums seekers. All lies, all done to damage the government under Tony Abbott. Malcolm Turnbull as communications minister did nothing but actually seemed to support the ABC in those lies and accusations.

    It’s just a hunch but Ms Guthrie may have been trying to make a more balanced path.

  20. Driftforge

    Let this be a lesson to you Mitch – you screw your enemies where and when you can, and not just when they need screwing.

    So… we’re facing a Barnaby Joyce style kerfuffle all over again? Just had another one down in Tas as well…

  21. cuckoo

    “It is not appropriate for me, or any director, to make any comment regarding the investigation, including its scope or time frame,” Ms Ferguson wrote. “To do so would potentially breach our fiduciary duty to act in the best interests of the ABC.”

    That’s just a word salad. What fiduciary duty? And if it existed what would it have to do with the investigation?

  22. Texas Jack

    I am moving to North Sydney and I’m going to vote for the ALP. Simple as that!

  23. Squirrel

    I hope the Senate interrogation also includes some very pointed questions about the ABC’s selective coverage of the email which slurred Phelps AND Sharma.

    Whoever becomes Shadow Communications Minister after the now seemingly inevitable election loss should ensure that a detailed, practical plan for dealing with the ABC is ready to go when the electoral pendulum eventually swings back.

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