Government appoints Albrechtsen and Brown to ABC/SBS nomination panel

Screen Shot 2014-07-02 at 6.41.46 pmThe federal government has this evening announced conservative commentator Janet Albrechtsen and former deputy leader of the Liberal Party Neil Brown have been appointed to the nomination panel for board members of the ABC and SBS.

Mumbrella revealed this morning that Albrechtsen, who has been as an ardent critic of the ABC and managing director Mark Scott, was in line for the position on the panel which was created in 2007 in an attempt to depoliticise the appointment of board members to the public broadcasters.

This evening’s announcement has already drawn criticism from the Community and Public Sector Union (CPSU), which represents many ABC staff, which accused the government of attempting to return to an era when board appointments were made based on the political alignment of the candidate.

“Once again this Government is attempting to wind back the clock to an era when government think it is acceptable to appoint your mates and cheerleaders to plum positions in the public sector. Appointing Janet Albrechtsen and Neil Brown as gatekeepers for board positions on the ABC and SBS is a prime example of this Government’s modus operandi,” said Michael Tull, President of the CPSU.

“The Nomination Panel was supposed to depoliticise the process of appointing board members to the ABC and SBS. Appointing a right-wing figure such as Janet Albrechtsen makes a mockery of that intention and points to what we have been saying all year — that this Government has its sights set on editorial control of the ABC.”

Albrechtsen, who writes a regular weekly column to The Australian, was appointed to the board of the ABC under the Howard Government for a five year term from 2005 until 2010.

Neil Brown is a lawyer and Queens Counsel with a speciality in intellectual property matters. He was a member of Parliament in the 70s and 80s and held a number of ministries in the Coalition government during that time, even serving as deputy leader under John Howard during his first stint as opposition leader.

Albrechtsen, this morning, told Mumbrella that she rejected the suggestion that her appointment was part of attempt by the government to appoint conservative voices.

“I don’t think my objective in relation to the ABC has been to turn it into a right wing propaganda unit. I think what I’ve always wanted was for the ABC to be balanced, entertaining and unpredictable,” she said. 

Nic Christensen 


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