The federal government has fired back at ABC managing director Michelle Guthrie after over her claims that its media reforms deal with Pauline Hanson’s One Nation party has advanced its “political vendetta” against the broadcaster.
In a speech on Friday night to the Friends of the ABC, Guthrie gave the government a right verbal bollocking, accusing it of using the ABC as a political bargaining chip, according to The Australian Financial Review.
The government required the support of One Nation to pass the media reforms through the senate, and in order to get it, Communications Minister Mitch Fifield had to agree to an inquiry into the ABC to find out whether it’s using its status to compete unfairly against its commercial rivals.
The ABC will also need to have a “rural and regional” reference in its charter, along with two people on its board who have a rural or regional background, as part of the deal.
Fifield rubbished Guthrie’s claims, according to the AFR, saying the ABC should basically suck it up.
“No media organisation is perfect, and those that are sustained by the taxpayer should expect and welcome the attention of the Parliament from time to time,” he said.
“The enhanced transparency and accountability measures for the public broadcasters will reinforce the ABC’s commitment to rural and regional Australia and to fair and balanced news.”
The media reforms are tipped to come before Parliament in the next few weeks.