ABC News Editor Publicly Defends Staff, While Shorten Calls Broadcaster A “Dictatorship”

ABC News Editor Publicly Defends Staff, While Shorten Calls Broadcaster A “Dictatorship”
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The highly controversial Four Corners interview with Michelle Guthrie, where the former ABC managing director claimed Justin Milne had “inappropriately touched” her, is making waves across Australia.

Immediately following the explosive interview, ABC news director Gaven Morris felt it necessary to show his support for ABC staff.

In a tweet, Morris said: “Staff and people across the ­organisation act with amazing ­integrity and professionalism every day. They’re devoted to serving our loyal audiences in the public interest.”

As well as Morris, Labour Leader Bill Shorten has slammed the ABC, calling it a “dictatorship” during a public address on Tuesday in Melbourne.

“The idea that you might have people at the highest level making behind-the-scenes phone calls and emails demanding this journalist and that journalist be censored because they criticised the government — we don’t live in a dictatorship,” he said.

“There’s clearly been a lack of accountability and also, in my opinion, too much interference with the ABC.”

Meanwhile, speaking to The Australian, Tasmanian Liberal senator Eric Abetz said the public broadcaster was portrayed as being in “disarray” thanks to the Four Corners segment.

He added: “The appointment of a new chair and a new managing director will hopefully allow the ABC to refocus on ensuring that the $1.1 billion of Australian taxpayers’ money is ­delivered for the benefit of the listening, viewing and online public, rather than the internal games and power plays which are of no benefit and are hugely costly to the taxpayer.”

While many members of parliament are making their voices heard, there are some staying curiously quiet; specifically, ABC board members.

According to The Sydney Morning Herald, ABC directors and board members are distancing themselves from Guthrie following her allegations against Milne.

During the Four Corners interview, Guthrie claimed Milne “inappropriately touched” her; rubbing her back while at a dinner with board director at Kylie Kwong restaurant in November 2017.

As per SMH, sources have told Fairfax board directors who attended the dinner did not see Milne touch Guthrie and are unaware of any other directors who did.

Yesterday, an ABC spokesperson said: “The ABC has no comment to make.

“Issues raised in last night’s Four Corners report are the subject of legal action, a Senate inquiry and an investigation by an independent external expert commissioned by the board.”

Milne has strongly denied the accusation.

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