ABC chairman Justin Milne quits following attempts to seek sacking reporters

ABC chairman Justin Milne quits following attempts to seek sacking reporters

ABC chairman Justin Milne quits following attempts to seek sacking reporters

"My aim, has been to look after the interests of the corporation".

"There was absolutely no interference in the independence of the ABC by the Government", Milne said. He said he never used the term "babes", but did sometimes call people he liked "chicks" in order to relax them.

'I would never had funded these sort of programming choices if I was the minister.

Mr Milne also said he never demanded anyone be sacked because the government didn't like their reporting, but maintains he was entitled to intervene in editorial issues.

"When there is an issue of editorial independence and accuracy it's appropriate for the chair to be involved - it's the chair's job", he said.

After an emergency board meeting held without Milne, the ABC board thanked him for his "experienced leadership" and said it was "grateful for his willingness to put the ABC first in coming to his decision to resign".

Mr Milne had been under enormous pressure to stand down.

Speaking with reporters earlier, Morrison described the allegations against Milne as "very concerning", according to the AP.

Communications Minister Mitch Fifield has ordered his department secretary to run an inquiry and report back within days.

And it's clearly not a good thing for everyone to be trying to do their job with this kind of firestorm going on so I wanted to provide a release valve.

He is now under pressure from all corners of the political spectrum, with Opposition Leader Bill Shorten interrupting his leave to declare the chairman's position was now "untenable", and Labor moving to establish a Senate inquiry into the alleged political interference. "In fact, I feel that the interests of the ABC have always been utmost in my mind and, just to get it on the record for you, there was absolutely no interference in the independence of the ABC by the government".

Overnight, Turnbull admitted he had been in contact with the ABC to discuss his concerns over the broadcaster's coverage, but denied he ever called for ABC staff to be fired. He said it was preferable for him to resign than simply step aside while an investigation took place.

Both Fifield and Morrison have declared their support for the ABC and suggested that Milne's reported interventions were unacceptable.

"The ABC is, and always has been, a fiercely independent news organization and it is of no concern to our program makers or journalists whether they are hated by any government", the motion passed by ABC Melbourne said.

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The former chairman denies this.

The communications minister's comments came after a similar denial from former prime minister Malcolm Turnbull.

He said neither he nor the former prime minister Malcolm Turnbull had ever asked for a reporter to be sacked.

His denial, however, paled in comparison to a News Limited splash which claimed Mr Milne had phoned Ms Guthrie instructing her "to shoot" political editor Andrew Probyn.

Turnbull, who has been living in NY since being forced to resign as prime minister, said he had complained about the two journalists, but never asked for their dismissal, according to The Associated Press.

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