PM Scott Morrison’s cabinet has picked Ita Buttrose as the new ABC chair, with a formal announcement expected later this week.
The move has been confirmed by senior government sources and comes off the back of Justin Milne’s controversial exit from the position last September.
According to The Australian, Labor criticised the process to choose the replacement ABC chair after it came to light that the independent selection panel had not considered Buttrose, which sparked claims of “political interference”.
Morrison himself confirmed the panel had not put forward a female candidate to the government.
Under the ABC Act, the government must consult with the opposition leader before the appointment is made, but as the Aus reported, Bill Shorten’s office was last night could not confirm if that had occurred.
Shorten said: “Ita Buttrose is a perfectly nice person and she’s been in the media and she’s been a very successful and respected figure but the government’s bungled this process.
“They’ve paid money to have a process to get a shortlist and then they’ve ignored it themselves”.
Once he has consulted Shorten, Morrison will take the nomination to governor-general Peter Cosgrove before it is officially ratified.
Morrison has known Buttrose for a long time, telling ABC TV: “She’s an extraordinary Australian, an Australian of the Year and there have been few people more than Ita that I think have lifted the standards of journalism in this country and I think that says a lot about her character and her abilities”.