It has emerged that the now federal Industry Minister, Christian Porter, made his own big dent in the ABC’s shrinking budget by taking the public broadcaster to court and then withdrawing his defamation action.
Speaking at a Senate Estimates hearing, ABC Managing Director David Anderson revealed the action cost the ABC $780,000 in total.
That figure includes a $100,000 cost for mediation alone.
The former Attorney-General sued the ABC in March after it published an article revealing an historical rape allegation against a then-unnamed Cabinet minister.
Mr. Anderson told the senators that a full hearing may have resulted in a $1.5m bill for the ABC.
In spite of Mr. Porter making public statements that the mediated agreement between the two parties had “humiliated” the ABC, David Anderson stood behind the ABC’s journalism.
The ABC has not issued an apology, the ABC stands by its journalism, the article in question remains online, it remains unchanged and available for everyone to see it.
On behalf of the ABC, I’m not humiliated and we do not regret the article.
The ABC’s Media Watch had its own take on events.
The ABC Managing Director also told the hearing that Mr. Porter had tried to settle the case twice, but did not elaborate.
I don’t want to sabotage any possible mediation in the future by revealing what was in these without-prejudice offers that came before us.
The judge in the case, Justice Jayne Margot, will soon decide whether the ABC’s brief of evidence in the case will be made public.