ABC staff demand independent inquiry into Justin Milne’s Emma Alberici email

Justin Milne resigns from ABC chairman role

Justin Milne resigns from ABC chairman role

Australia's much-loved public broadcaster scrambled to safeguard its hard-won reputation for impartiality on Thursday (Sept 27), forcing out a chairman accused of intervening in news coverage to please the government.

Fifield yesterday announced that his department would investigate the claim that Milne tried to get ABC chief economics correspondent Emma Alberici fired because the government "hated" her, as well as the claim that he told former managing director Guthrie to dump political editor Andrew Probyn after former PM Malcolm Turnbull complained about his reporting.

Australia Institute executive director Ben Oquist says the allegations have "shattered" trust in the ABC's independence and means it's time to change the broadcaster's governance processes.

His exit comes after managing director Michelle Guthrie was sacked on Monday.

"We are at a crisis at the ABC and as is often said, never waste a good crisis, use it as an opportunity", he told reporters in Canberra on Thursday.

Mr Milne confirmed the ABC board had meant to ask him to step aside while an investigation was conducted into his conduct, but said he had instead chose to quit.

"They [the government] hate her", Mr. Milne reportedly wrote to Ms. Guthrie.

ABC board chairman Justin Milne.

The meeting was called as an update on the current situation following Ms Guthrie's departure as managing director, along with stories that have appeared in the media today involving Mr Milne.

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In light of the revelations of interference, ABC staff held meetings across the country, with Melbourne staff declaring Milne should stand aside while an independent enquiry takes place.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison tweeted that Milne's resignation was the right decision.

The nearly century-old Australian Broadcasting Corporation is incredibly popular Down Under, with polls showing it is not just the most trusted news organization in the country, but also seen as a national treasure.

"The operations of the ABC are entirely matters for the board and management of the ABC, which, by law, the Minister does not have a role in", he said.

"The bottom line is I've never called for anybody to be fired".

Pressure is now on Mr Milne to resign over the matter.

Turnbull has also been personally linked to other allegations of governmental overreach and influence at the ABC.

According to the act, the board's duties include ensuring the functions of the ABC are performed efficiently, maintaining the integrity of the organisation, and ensuring news reporting is accurate and impartial.

Mr Turnbull says he did not ask for specific reporters to be axed.

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