Communications minister says chairman’s future is a matter for him to assess as board meets without him

Michelle Rowland is not outright calling for Justin Milne to step down, but she comes very close to the line.

“Labor’s view is that his position is untenable and hence we do not have confidence in his position as chairman. That is a decision for him to make in relation to his position,” she says.

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Scott Morrison, who is on a bit of a strawberry tour across Queensland’s Sunshine Coast, says he spoke to Malcolm Turnbull this morning and he doesn’t believe the former prime minister ‘hated’ any ABC’s journalist.

And he didn’t. I mean he didn’t. I actually spoke to Malcolm today. I speak to Malcolm pretty frequently. No, what the former prime minister did, just like I have as a minister, and I’m sure others… You know, the ABC is not perfect. You know, they make mistakes and it’s alright for people to call them out on that and raise those issues with the ABC.

We’ve all done that before. Members of the public do that. Members of Parliament do that. Prime ministers do it. Ministers do it. But it’s not our job to tell the ABC how to run itself and how toll then, you know, deal with any complaints.

I have because they’ve got it wrong on plenty of occasions and they’ve apologised to me for getting it wrong on a number of occasions. That’s probably the more shocking thing. Surprising I should say. But that’s my point. There are processes. We use them. And responses are provided and that’s how it should work. But the idea that the government has somehow got some list and is telling the ABC who should work there and who shouldn’t – that’s complete rubbish. They’ve got an independent board. They’ve made decisions about their managing director. They made those decisions.”

That’s why I’m seeking to establish the facts around that. I know there are a lot of reports about that, but I’ll make my decisions and any further comments I make about the conduct of the chairman in relation to the actual evidence and I’m waiting to see that and I’ve got a process in place to go to that. You’ve got to be fair. I mean people have made allegations. They’re pretty serious allegations I’ve got to say. And on the face of it that’s very concerning, very concerning.But I’m not going to prejudge it based on some newspaper or internet or, you know, television reports I’m going to base that on the clear advice and evidence presented by the department.”

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