Ita Buttrose, chair of the ABC, has told the National Press Club that she has concerns about her exclusion from decisions surrounding new appointees to the ABC Board.
Buttrose appeared at the National Press Club to give an address called a ‘vision for healthy ageing in Australia’ in support of Macular Disease Foundation Australia.
The board is supposed to be made up of five to seven members, but currently has only four. Three members have resigned in the last year, meaning the board has just enough members to make a quorum.
One board member was attacked by a cow in rural Queensland, pushing the board dangerously close to being unable to meet quorom had her injuries been more severe.
Speaking at the NPC, Buttrose said: “I said to my fellow members the other day, ‘for god’s sake don’t get sick anybody, otherwise we will be in a lot of strife’.”
Appointments to the board are recommended by an independent nominations panel to Communications Minister Paul Fletcher. Legally though, Fletcher does not actually have to accept the recommendations. The government has the power to appoint who they see fit to the board.
“I don’t know chairs of other companies who have no input into the composition of their board,” said Buttrose.
“Although we are a commonwealth entity, I do think the chair of all commonwealth entities should have some input into who the directors are.”
Buttrose also objected to questions about Attorney General Christian Porter’s defamation case against the ABC, telling the journalist who asked about it, “you are not really serious about that question, are you? You know the case is before the court and I simply cannot comment one way or another.”