Ita Buttrose has opened up about staying apolitical while she’s at the helm of the government-funded ABC Network.
Buttrose did a spread with Stellar magazine where she opened up about her role and made it clear she has no plans to retire. Thank god, because we can’t lose Tracy Grimshaw and Buttrose in one fell swoop.
She said, “I’m not there as chair to be friendly to any political party.
“I don’t think it’s necessary to badmouth me because I haven’t been friendly to a particular side of politics. I’m not supposed to be friendly to anyone in politics. I can be respectful. But I’ve always thought journalists need to be apolitical.”
Buttrose also spoke about how the network has a history of rubbing the government the wrong way. She said: “It’s not easy for the ABC under any government because we seem to have the knack of upsetting governments quite heavily.
“Sir Robert Menzies complained about the ABC. I think John Howard complained about it at one stage. Paul Keating did; Bob Hawke did. You name it.”
However, Buttrose was clear that she expected her journalists to be able to ignore any political noise or criticism and do the work.
She said: “We’re the national broadcaster, and you can’t be hampered by any political persuasions on how you might cover a story.
“You have to cover it. We’re meant to be able to deliver both sides of the story and let the public decide.
“We’re meant to be able to deal with facts and not opinions. The moment we started dishing out bylines as though everyone had an entitlement to an opinion, we opened the floodgates to opinion journalists.”