Following calls for him to step-down following revelations regarding his conduct, ABC chairman Justin Milne has formally resigned.
An emergency board meeting at the ABC, for which Mr Milne was not present, decided to request that he step away from his position. It was later revealed that Mr Milne had totally resigned rather than just stood aside pending an inquiry, putting an end to the chaos that has overtaken the ABC for the last week.
The scandal began when Fairfax media reported it has obtained email correspondence from Justin Milne wherein he suggested that an ABC journalist be sacked because they had upset the Government with their reporting. In the email, Mr Milne spoke of the need to “save the ABC” in the light of some kind of Government reprisal.
The board is expected to meet again to decide on who will serve as acting chairman.
In a clip from an ABC interview scheduled to air tonight, Mr Milne strongly denied that there had been any political interference from Canberra regarding who the corporation should and shouldn’t sack. He said that “Nobody from the government has ever rung me”.
However, Mr Milne acknowledged the “firestorm” that the situation has created and said that while the board only expected him to stand aside pending an inquiry; he thought it was best for the ABC if he fully resigned.
Upon being questioned outside a speaking engagement at the UN General Assembly in New York, former Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull insisted that he had never given any instruction to the ABC or Justin Milne regarding staff that should be let go. He did, however, point out that he had expressed in the past he was disappointed with the ABC’s reporting and implied it had fallen victim to a measure of political bias.