The ABC is on notice by the government who has said the broadcaster must declare how much taxpayer’s money was used to pay for its confidential settlement of disgraced ex-managing director Michelle Guthrie.
Communications minister Mitch Fifield said on Sunday that he expected transparency on the payout Guthrie received, considering the involvement of taxpayer funds.
In December, Guthrie sued the ABC for wrongful dismissal after she was fired halfway through her five-year contract.
At the time of her termination, she as given an $800,000 payout.
Late on Friday, the ABC and Guthrie announced in a joint statement that they had reached a “resolution”.
The statement said:
“The ABC and its former Managing Director, Michelle Guthrie, are pleased to announce a resolution to their Federal Court litigation.
The details of the resolution will remain confidential. No further public statement will be made regarding the resolution by the ABC or Ms Guthrie”.
No further details have been given and both parties have refused to answer questions regarding the settlement.
However, the secrecy surrounding the agreement has attracted plenty of criticism over the weekend.
The confidential nature of the agreement attracted widespread criticism over the weekend.
A spokesman for Fifield said that “neither the government nor the community are aware of the terms of the settlement”.
“The government’s preference would be for the parties concerned to be transparent in relation to any part of the settlement that may involve the payment and receipt of taxpayer funds”.
According to the SMH, One Nation Leader Pauline Hanson said any settlement payment should come out of the ABC’s current $1 billion-a-year budget.
Hanson said: “It’s not up to the taxpayer to further fund her sacking … it should be exposed.
“I don’t believe it should remain confidential … When it’s coming out of taxpayers’ dollars they deserve to know exactly how much is being paid”.
The ABC declined SMH’s request comment.
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