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Why don't we have a new head of the ABC yet?

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24.02.2019

To the victor go the spoils. In Australia’s political system it could be argued there are no greater spoils than an ability to appoint what are, arguably, the three most significant statutory offices in the gift of the government of the day.

Former ABC chairman Justin Milne and then managing director Michelle Guthrie. Credit:AAP

These are Head of State, Chief Justice of the High Court and chairman of the Australian Broadcasting Corporation. Of the three, you could say the latter is in a position to exert the most sway on Australia’s political and cultural life.

If Labor wins an election in May all of the above positions would be conservative government appointees of recent standing. Two of those appointments would take office, either on the cusp of an election in the case of the ABC, or afterwards with the Governor-General.

David Hurley takes over as the Queen’s representative from Peter Cosgrove in June after the government shunned attempts to have an appointment made following the election.

Justice Susan Kiefel.Credit:Robert Shakespeare

Susan Kiefel became Chief Justice in 2017 on the recommendation of fellow Queenslander, then attorney-general, George Brandis.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison has had on his desk for several weeks a shortlist of three candidates for a new chair of the ABC. Names mentioned are all lawyers.

This detail might land with a thud among those who believe the ABC chair should have broader media experience.........

© Canberra Times