The intervention of ABC Chairperson Ita Buttrose seems to have smashed plans by anti-ABC Liberal Senator Andrew Bragg to hold a Senate inquiry into the ABC’s complaint-handling process.
Senator Bragg, who is chair of the Senate’s communications committee, announced an inquiry into complaints handling procedures at both the ABC and SBS early in November.
The notion of such a Senate inquiry enraged Ita Buttrose, who issued a strong statement slamming the idea.
Ms. Buttrose said the ABC had already initiated its own inquiry, and that the Bragg probe impinged upon the ABC’s statutory independence.
In the statement, Ita Buttrose said:
Instead of respecting the integrity of this process, the Senate Committee under the leadership of Senator Bragg has decided to initiate a parallel process. I will leave it to Senator Bragg to explain his motives but the impact of this action is clear. As Chair of the ABC Board I am duty bound to call out any action that seeks to undermine the independence of the national broadcaster.
Senator’s Bragg’s motion to hold a separate inquiry was suspended after Greens senator Sarah Hanson-Young and Labor senator Katy Gallagher co-sponsored a motion calling for it to be halted.
It’s a rare win for the ABC against a hostile government which appears eager to undermine the public broadcaster as often as it can.