ABC logo broken in half. The left side.ABC logo broken in half. The right side.


Appointments to the ABC Board are supposed to be merit-based, involving an external recruitment agency and an independent nominations panel.

But the Coalition has repeatedly ignored the recommendations of the panel in favour of handpicking their mates to board positions. Of the six current government-appointed board members, four were appointed without the endorsement of the nominations panel.

We’ve recently witnessed the devastating consequences of this inside job. The rest of the Board sat on their hands while former ABC Chair Justin Milne - an old friend of Malcolm Turnbull - repeatedly sought to interfere in the ABC’s editorial and fire senior journalists for reporting that angered the Government.

And Prime Minister Scott Morrison has already point blank refused to rule out appointing yet another Coalition lackey as the new ABC Chair.

Who’s leading the
current process

The Coalition hired Korn Ferry - an agency with strong ties to the Liberal party - to run the recruitment process for the next ABC Chair. And they did it without any competitive open-tender process.

Their Chairperson, Katie Lahey, is a former long-serving CEO of the Business Council of Australia - a key political ally of the Coalition’s, and many of whose senior staff are former Liberal party staffers. Lahey is a regular attendee of Liberal Party functions and fundraisers.

And it gets worse.

Photo of Robert Webster

The man in charge of leading the process is Robert Webster - a former Coalition NSW MP and current Liberal party member. He has donated nearly $30,000 to the Liberals over the last two financial years.

A former Coalition MP who still donates his own money to the Liberal party is hardly going to recommend anyone that a Coalition Government won’t like.

Under the spotlight
Greg Hywood

The current leading candidate to be the next ABC Chair is Greg Hywood, the former CEO who decimated Fairfax newsrooms.

Hywood fired 3600 people through five rounds of brutal redundancies over a six year period. He helped orchestrate the controversial Nine-Fairfax merger that has put the masthead’s editorial independence at risk, and already cost 92 people their jobs – allowing him to collect up to an $8.2 million payout.

And he is no champion of public broadcasting. He repeatedly advocated for the ABC’s operations to be gutted and reduced to nothing more than a market failure service.

The current board

Donny Walford

  • Didn’t apply to be on the Board. The nominations panel had never seen her, she didn’t fill out an application form, and she didn’t even express any interest in the job.
  • As recently as October 2018 was attending Liberal Party fundraisers and giving them money.

Vanessa Guthrie

  • A coal lobbyist, Guthrie sits on the board of two fossil fuel companies that are major Coalition donors - including being CEO of the Minerals Council of Australia
  • Rejected by the nominations panel for having zero media experience or any other relevant qualifications.

Joseph Gersh

  • An investment banker who was rejected by the nominations panel
  • Gersh is a long term friend and confidante of former Liberal Treasurer Peter Costello, who has previously appointed him to other board positions

Kirstin Ferguson

  • Withdrew from the application process before Government personally appealed to her to accept a position
  • Another former mining executive, infamous for failing to protect a whistleblower who personally alerted her to a bribery scandal over a multi-billion dollar coal deal.

How can we protect our ABC’s independence?

ABC Board directors should be champions of public broadcasting who uphold its independence and value its public ownership - not government cronies.

Together we can ensure that all future appointments are truly independent of Government. Here’s what we need to do:

  1. Ensure the integrity of the process: remove the ability of the Minister to handpick board members unilaterally.
  2. Depoliticise the nominations: replace the nominations panel with a genuinely cross-party committee
  3. Increase transparency: publicly publishing all positions, selection criteria, and the names of nominated candidates.
  4. Give key stakeholders a voice: Replace two government-appointed directors with a second staff elected director and an audience supported director.

This website was made possible by the 6,195 incredible GetUp members that chipped in to fund hard-hitting research to expose Morrison’s sham selection process for the next ABC Chair and protect our ABC’s independence from further political interference.

Follow this link to see the full Inside Job report.

We’re going to show the Coalition that any attempt to corrupt our ABC’s independence will cost them on election day.

But we can’t do it without your help. Can you chip in now to fund the campaign to Save our ABC?