Departure from ABC by Ita Buttrose

Departure from ABC by Ita Buttrose

Ita Buttrose has announced that she will not seek a second term as ABC Chair when her appointment ends in March.

Ita Buttrose took over as chair of the ABC at a turbulent time for the public broadcaster. The previous chair had left under a cloud having been accused of interfering in internal ABC management decisions. The ABC was also in the midst of an unfair dismissal case brought by the then-Managing Director who had been sacked by the chair. 

ABC Friends did not agree with the manner of Ms Buttrose’s appointment, a 'captain’s pick' by the Prime Minister, Scott Morrison, but she stepped into a difficult role with skill. She restored calm and a sense of direction to an organisation that had gone through a particularly difficult time. 

During her time as chair, Ms Buttrose made some important interventions in support of the ABC and press freedom. 

She was unafraid to call out the intense pressure that coalition government ministers tried to exert on the ABC, decried police raids on the ABC in the strongest possible terms, and advocated for legislation to protect press freedom.  

ABC Friends President, Cassandra Parkinson, said that Ms Buttrose had been accessible to her organisation and willingly accepted invitations to speak at its events around the country.

"I thank Ms Buttrose for her fearless commitment to our public broadcaster in challenging times," Ms Parkinson said. 

"With a change of government and with the ABC at the start of a five year plan, this is an appropriate time to appoint a new chair," Ms Parkinson said. 

"ABC Friends looks forward to an open transparent process for appointing the new chair."

"Over coming days we will make recommendations to the government to strengthen appointment processes for the ABC Board as part of our response to the government’s review into options to support the independence of the national broadcasters," Ms Parkinson said.

Contact: [email protected] 

Cassandra Parkinson 
ABC Friends