ABC chairman Justin Milne has resigned, four days after the surprise sacking of managing director Michelle Guthrie.
- Mr Milne had been accused in several reports this week of failing to safeguard the ABC’s editorial independence
- He refutes this, and said the Government never “told me what to do in relation to the ABC”
- However, he also said: “You can’t go around irritating the person who’s going to give you funding …”
The ABC Board is meeting at noon today to decide who will be the acting chairman.
In an exclusive interview with 730s Leigh Sales, Mr Milne described the week’s events as a “firestorm” and said he “wanted to provide a release valve”.
“Clearly there is a lot of pressure on the organisation, and as always, my interests have been to look after the interests of the corporation,” he said.
“It’s clearly not a good thing for everybody to be trying to do their job with this kind of firestorm going on.”
Mr Milne had been under enormous pressure to stand down.
In the days after Ms Guthrie’s acrimonious departure, explosive reports claimed Mr Milne had earlier urged the then managing director to sack two prominent reporters because the Government “hated” them.
Fairfax media claimed Mr Milne emailed Ms Guthrie in May to insist senior journalist Emma Alberici be fired.
Another report in News Limited publications claimed Mr Milne had ordered the sacking of the ABC’s political editor, Andrew Probyn.