ABC boss Michelle Guthrie ‘unreservedly’ apologises to Kevin Rudd following Cabinet Files coverage

ABC boss Michelle Guthrie has sent an apology to former Prime Minster Kevin Rudd after the broadcaster claimed he was warned of “critical risks” related to the home insulation scheme.

The apology, which was revealed in the Sydney Morning Herald overnight, follows controversy over the ABC’s ‘Cabinet Files’ coverage from earlier this year.

The ABC’s boss Michelle Guthrie has sent an apology to former prime minister Kevin Rudd

In the instance involving Rudd, the ABC’s story implied as Prime Minister he had ignored critical safety concerns ahead of the rollout of the 2009 home insulation subsidy scheme, when the document actually referred to financial risks.

Rudd launched legal proceedings following the accusations, which led to the ABC rewriting the story. It said it never intended to suggest Rudd had ignored critical risks before the deaths of four installers or that he lied to the royal commission.

In the letter, addressed on April 27, Guthrie “unreservedly” apologised to Rudd for the errors made on January 31.

She said there had been “much change and re-organisation” at the ABC, but admitted the broadcaster had made a number of mistakes in its content during that period.

“Stories were published which hand’t received the editorial scrutiny they needed, and weren’t up to our standards,” Guthrie wrote.

Guthrie admitted a number of editorial mistakes had been made through its ‘re-organisation’ period

Guthrie said the national broadcaster accepted Rudd wasn’t warned or aware of the risks relating to the scheme “at the relevant time”.

“Please accept this apology as a genuine reflection of the ABC’s concern over the matter and the harm caused.”

SMH is reporting Rudd dropped legal proceedings against the ABC following the apology.

The ABC has been approached for comment.

This isn’t the first time the ABC has been caught in cross fire over its editorial coverage. Earlier this year the ABC pulled its corporate tax analysis piece by Emma Alberici after it failed to meet the national broadcaster’s “editorial standards”.

Following the debacle, Guthrie admitted the ABC had “clearly failed” by publishing the two articles in question, in a letter to Communications Minister Mitch Fifield.

Earlier this week, the Australian Communication and Media Authority lambasted the national broadcaster over an ABC News Report by political editor Andrew Probyn, describing former Prime Minister Tony Abbott as “the most destructive politician of his generation”.

In 2016, former ABC tech editor Nick Ross accused the ABC of ‘gagging’ him over his NBN coverage.


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