Skip to content
Media, Political

New ABC chair inherits a battered, bruised broadcaster

The Australia Institute 2 mins read

Media Release | Wednesday 6 March 2024

The Australia Institute’s Democracy & Accountability Program welcomes Kim Williams as the new chair of the Australian Broadcasting Corporation and hopes that his appointment cements the independence of the ABC Board appointment process. With deep experience heading arts and media organisations, Mr Williams is highly qualified for the role.

The Albanese Government has used the arm’s length, merit-based nomination panel process for all new appointments to the ABC Board. However, there is no guarantee that future governments will do the same – unless the law is reformed to require it, as the Australia Institute recommended in a recent submission.

Mr Williams’ predecessors have a chequered history. Former ABC chair Justin Milne resigned amid an outcry at his attempts to have senior journalists sacked for offending the government of the day.

Departing chair and Morrison government “captain’s pick”, Ita Buttrose leaves amid concern about her willingness to acquiesce to a powerful lobby group and the role she played in having presenter Antoinette Lattouf taken off air.

“The chair needs to be a bulwark against external political pressure on the ABC, not a conduit for it,” said Stephen Long, Australia Institute senior fellow who was formerly one of the ABC’s most senior reporters.

“Staff need to know that they are backed to do their jobs.

“Years of culture war attacks on the ABC have had a corrosive effect on the organisation.

“It’s led to a situation where executives sometimes confuse the appearance of impartiality with genuine impartiality, which means following the facts where they lead and reporting without fear or favour.

“While the chair should always be arm’s length from editorial decisions, he can play an important role in creating and restoring a culture of genuine integrity and independence,” said Mr Long.

“Australians want an ABC that is free from political interference,” said Bill Browne, Director, Democracy & Accountability Program at the Australia Institute.

“Australia Institute polling research finds seven in 10 Australians would prefer the Communications Minister be limited to appointing candidates who have been shortlisted by an independent selection panel.

“Greater transparency and oversight of the board appointment process for the national broadcaster will help secure its independence.

“One of the new chair’s first tasks must be to reassure ABC staff and the public that there will be no undue board interference in editorial decisions.”

Media enquiries:
Luciana Lawe Davies 
0457 974 636 

More from this category

  • Political, Property Real Estate
  • 24/04/2024
  • 07:35
Homelessness NSW

New data reveals NSW social housing waitlist blowout

Media release | Wednesday, April 24 2024 A fresh analysis by Homelessness NSW reveals where people are waiting the longest for social housing, sparking calls to double the supply of social homes and boost services funding. New government data shows progress to reduce the social housing waitlist is stalling. By the end of March, there were 57,401 households on the waitlist across NSW, including 8,657 on the priority waitlist. An analysis by Homelessness NSW shows median wait times rising to five-and-a-half years (66.5 months) in northern NSW in the first three months of the year. People in Illawarra can expect…

  • Political
  • 24/04/2024
  • 07:29


A collection of Labor and Independent Councillors at Liverpool City Council hold serious concerns about the capacity of the Mayor Ned Mannoun to make decisions in the best interests of the community. The Mayor plans to push through unpopular, unproven, and potentially disastrous staff cuts, including sacking the popular and effective CEO John Ajaka, to fund the construction of a $50 million pool in the electorate of Holsworthy, currently held by the Mayor's wife Tina Ayyad. “This is just another example of the Mayor making increasingly erratic decisions that just don’t stack up,” says Councillor Charishma Kaliyanda. In addition to…

  • Political
  • 23/04/2024
  • 07:27
Community Housing Industry Association

Double the Housing Australia Future Fund to help fix housing crisis

An alliance of housing, property and social service organisations is pressing the Albanese government to significantly amplify its efforts to alleviate the national housing shortage.The Property Council of Australia, National Shelter, the Housing Industry Association, the Community Housing Industry Association, ACOSS, Master Builders Australia, and Homelessness Australia are jointly urging the government to double the Housing Australia Future Fund to $20 billion in the upcoming budget.This would be a critical step towards meeting the ambitious target of constructing 1.2 million new homes by 2029 under the National Housing Accord.“The government has made important commitments and progress is under way -…

Media Outreach made fast, easy, simple.

Feature your press release on Medianet's News Hub every time you distribute with Medianet. Pay per release or save with a subscription.