The Australian Greens have welcomed the Senate’s support in establishing an inquiry into the ABC, which will investigate recent instances of political interference and the undermining of the broadcaster’s independence.
“The political interference that has plagued the ABC will now be investigated with the aim to clear the cloud over our beloved public broadcaster’s future independence,” Greens media spokesperson Senator Sarah Hanson-Young said.
“In this time of low trust in politicians and a rise in fake news, it is vital that our beloved public broadcaster is able to report the news without fear or favour, and without political interference.
“The ABC has faced budget cuts, frivolous ideological complaints, and weathered drastic changes in the media industry to remain one of the nation’s most valued public institutions.
“Australians love their public broadcaster, and The Greens will always defend its independence.”
The inquiry will be chaired by the Greens under the following terms of reference:
The allegations of political interference in the ABC, with particular reference to:
- the termination of ABC managing director Michelle Guthrie;
- the conduct of the Chair and board;
- the structure, composition and appointments of the ABC board;
- the political influence or attempted influence of the government over ABC editorial decision-making; including
- outcomes of the Competitive Neutrality of the National Broadcaster Inquiry and Efficiency Review – ABC and SBS; and
- the role of funding uncertainty in facilitating political influence.
- governance, legislative and funding options to strengthen the editorial independence and strength of the ABC to prosecute its charter obligations; and
- any other related matters.