After a week of chaos at the ABC, which has seen both its managing director and chairperson depart, Prime Minister Scott Morrison has announced he will recommend Dr Kirstin Ferguson to be appointed deputy chair and acting chair of the ABC.
She will be the acting chair until a permanent replacement is found.
The Prime Minster’s suggestion is yet to be approved by the Governor-General. Morrison confirmed he would be taking his choice to the Governor-General today.
“Should the Governor-General accept that recommendation then she [Ferguson] will also be in the position of acting chair of the ABC until such time as a new chair appointment is made through the normal process,” he said.
Ferguson has been on the ABC board since 2015. She has 10 years of experience as director, having held positions on the ASX100 and ASX200 boards.
“There are vacancies and appointments to be made, but it is important that the ABC gets back to work,” Morrison said.
If appointed as acting chair of the ABC, Ferguson will face the mammoth challenge of restoring faith in the public broadcaster.
The ABC has had a chaotic week, which began on Monday September 24 with the sacking of Michelle Guthrie as the managing director. Things only got worse when emails accusing the former ABC chair Justin Milne were leaked by Fairfax Media, suggesting he’d asked for the sacking of journalist Emma Alberici. This then followed reports from News Corp saying Milne also wanted journalist Andrew Probyn dismissed.
In light of these allegations, hundreds of ABC staff gathered outside head office in Sydney calling on Milne to step aside until a government investigation, commissioned by Communications Minister Mitch Fifield, is conducted into the matter.
In an interview with ABC’s 7.30, aired last night, Milne revealed he’d made the decision to quit.