Crisis won’t end until ABC Board members answer what they knew and when
MEAA’s ABC House Committee demands greater transparency and accountability from the ABC board in light of a damaging week for the national broadcaster.
The ABC’s interim Board has failed to fully address all the questions about political interference at the ABC, in particular what board members knew and when.
While we appreciate there are confidentiality requirements for board members, it is time to lift the veil in the interests of full and frank disclosure.
No more leaks, no more rumours, no more expensive spin doctors and crisis managers controlling the flow of information.
Each interim Board member needs to provide an account of their actions. As well, all relevant materials – emails, dossiers and other communications – should be made available to the inquiries into these matters.
The Australian people have a right to know the full picture of what has been happening.
In light of continuing and damaging allegations, such an approach is the only way to restore staff and audience confidence in the board and its deliberations.
The past week has shown the damage political appointees can do when their personal interests and connections override their directors’ obligations.
This would be the time for those interim directors who feel they cannot truly act in the best interests of the ABC, to step down.
The MEAA ABC House Committee also demands a “reset” of the ABC board – that means a change to the way board members are appointed.
Industry experience is crucial for an institution like ours. So too is a commitment to, and understanding of, public broadcasting. We need to recruit directors who will uphold our independence and who value our public ownership.
It is unacceptable that the ABC board has over decades become a landing pad for appointed political mates for whom it is just another seat on the corporate circuit.
Given that it was staff action that brought about the necessary change, MEAA’s House Committee believes two staff-elected directors are needed on the board to protect the organisation.
We are proud that, despite the board chaos, the day to day operations across the vast network of ABC content divisions continued seamlessly because of the commitment, the passion and the hard work of ABC staff.