ABC staff pass motion for chairman Justin Milne to stand down

Former Assistant Editor
Image: Twitter / @Sasbites

ABC staff have passed a motion calling on chairman Justin Milne to stand aside in a meeting on Wednesday afternoon.

Fairfax reports that the motion was passed unanimously, for Milne to remove himself while an independent investigation takes place into his conduct regarding a leaked email to former managing director Michelle Guthrie.

Guthrie was sacked earlier this week, two years into her five-year term, with Milne explaining that the board decided it was not in the best interests of the ABC for her to continue.

But since then, a leaked email obtained by Fairfax has revealed that Milne informed Guthrie to sack well-known presenter Emma Alberici after a complaint from Prime Minister at the time Malcolm Turnbull.

The email told Guthrie that the government “hate” Alberici, and that the ABC was “tarred with her brush.

“I think it’s simple. Get rid of her. We need to save the ABC – not Emma.”

More than 300 ABC staff attended the crisis meeting today, passing a motion that suggested an inquiry into Milne’s conduct was necessary to “to safeguard the independence of the ABC.”

“We can’t have this coming from the board,” said senior ABC journo Stephen Long, who is the head of the staff union committee.

“If the chairman thinks this is an appropriate thing to do, the chairman does not understand his role.”

Milne released a statement this morning, prior to the meeting; “The job of the ABC Board is to independently govern the Corporation, protect its best interests, ensure that it is well funded, well managed and that our content is of the highest standards.

“That is precisely what the Board has done and will continue to do. I do not propose to provide a running commentary on day to day issues which arise in pursuit of our duties.”

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