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Thursday, 4 April 2019
Page: 14918

Australian Broadcasting Corporation

Dear Chair

Petition PN0384 — Aus tralian Broadcasting Corporation Board

Thank you for your letter of 3 December 2018 about Petition PN0384 concerning the Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC) board appointment process.

Under the Australian Broadcasting Corporation Act 1983 (ABC Act), a merit-based selection process must be followed before the Governor-General may appoint a non-executive director to the ABC Board. The ABC Act requires this process to be conducted by an independent Nomination Panel (the Panel), which is appointed by the Secretary of the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet. The selection process is undertaken by the Panel at arms-length of Government, and all applicants are assessed against statutory selection criteria and on the basis of merit.

Under this process, the Panel provides the Government with a written report that nominates candidates. The Government then considers the Panel's nominations and subsequently makes recommendations to the Governor-General for an appointment to this position. The ABC Act allows for the Government to recommend people to be appointed to the ABC Board that were not nominated by the Panel.

If a person not nominated by the Nomination Panel is appointed by the Governor-General as the Chairperson of the ABC Board, the Prime Minister must table the reasons for that appointment in each House of Parliament no later than 15 sittings days after the appointment was made. The reasons must include an assessment of the person against the selection criteria.

The selection process to till the ABC Chairperson vacancy is nearing completion. The Prime Minister has recently announced his intention to recommend to the Governor-General that Ms Ita Buttrose be appointed as the next Chair of the ABC.

Ms Buttrose is an exceptionally qualified candidate with a comprehensive background in the media industry. As well as being 2013 Australian of the Year, Ms Buttrose is a member of the Australian Media Hall of Fame, founded Cleo Magazine, was Editor of The Australian Women's Weekly, Editor in-Chief of the Daily Telegraph, Sunday Telegraph and The Sun-Herald and has worked for all the commercial television broadcasters.

Ms Buttrose has also served on the board of News Ltd, on the Advisory Board of the Australian Women Chamber of Commerce & Industry and as Director and board members for a range of charities including the National Breast Cancer Centre Advisory Network, The Smith Family and Alzheimer's Australia.

The Government has followed the legislated process for making this appointment.

In relation to ABC funding, under the Coalition Government the ABC has continued to receive over $1 billion in funding each year. The level of funding being provided is increasing year on year which means that in a rapidly changing media environment, the ABC has greater funding certainty than any other media organisation in the nation.

Thank you for bringing this matter to my attention. I trust this information will be of assistance.

Yours sincerely

from the Minister for Communications and the Arts, Senator Fifield(Petition No. PN0384)