Former ABC chairman Maurice Newman has criticised the public broadcaster’s new managing director, David Anderson, for his public “partisan position”, despite this week insisting there was no bias at the publicly funded media organisation.
The Conservative Party has long called out bias in our national broadcaster and wants a major rationalisation of its reach and budget and for a merger with SBS.
The Australian reports, Mr Newman said it was ”extraordinary” that Mr Anderson, who has worked at the ABC for nearly 30 years, used his first media interview on Monday night to encourage the public to vote for Labor or any political party other than the Coalition, just three days after being appointed.
Mr Newman also questioned Mr Anderson’s warning that cuts to staff and services were inevitable because the Coalition would strip $84 million from the ABC over the next three years. He described the comments as “cute”.
Mr Anderson told ABC’s Radio National that cuts were unavoidable if the broadcaster’s funding was not increased.
“It’s very clear: what he’s saying is that if you care about the ABC vote Labor or anything other than the Coalition,” said Mr Newman, who was ABC chairman for five years until the end of 2011.
“Whatever he may think personally, to actually go out publicly and really encourage voters to support anything other than the Coalition, I find amazing.”
Josh Frydenberg last month confirmed a freeze on the indexation of the ABC’s $1 billion annual budget allocation, which would mean $83.7m in expected funding increases over the next three years would not be given to the broadcaster.
However, the ABC was allocated an extra $43.7m in the federal budget to continue the Enhanced Newsgathering measure, which supports local news and current affairs.