ABC operations

because if there’s one way to address public concern about the ABC becoming a Murdoch mouthpiece, go and appoint a former News Limited CEO as Chair :face_with_raised_eyebrow:

EDIT: or perhaps not the News Corp mouthpiece…


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Press release from the office of Communications Minister Michelle Rowland

New ABC Chairperson

The Albanese Government will recommend to the Governor-General, His Excellency General the Honourable David Hurley AC DSC (Retd), that Mr Kimberley (Kim) Williams AM be appointed the next Chairperson of the Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC) Board.

Mr Williams has extensive experience across the screen, music, sports and media industries, and has made eminent and substantial contributions to the cultural life of the nation.

He is currently Chair of Thomson Reuters Founders Share Company, Co-Chair of the State Library of NSW Foundation Board and Director of Stradivarius Pty Ltd.

Mr Williams has held a number of Chief Executive positions across the creative industries, including the Australian Film Commission, Southern Star Entertainment, Fox Studios Australia, Foxtel, and NewsCorp Australia – and he is a recognised producer, innovator and executive leader.

His previous non-executive positions have included Chair of the Copyright Agency, the Sydney Opera House Trust, the Sydney Symphony Orchestra, the Australian Film Finance Corporation, Musica Viva Australia, the Richard Gill School, Deputy Chair of the NSW State Conservatorium of Music, and an AFL Commissioner.

In 2006, Mr Williams was appointed a Member of the Order of Australia for his services to the arts, film, and television industries.

Mr Williams was nominated for appointment by the independent Nomination Panel as part of the merit-based appointment process for the ABC and SBS Boards, and the Leader of the Opposition was consulted on the appointment in accordance with the legislated process.

The Chairperson position is part-time for five years, with remuneration set by the Remuneration Tribunal.

The Government acknowledges outgoing Chairperson Ms Ita Buttrose AC, OBE for her strong and steady leadership of the national broadcaster throughout her five-year term, and wishes her well for her future endeavours.

Live coverage of the announcement on commercial TV this morning.

And on ABC


How could The Australian get it so wrong? Kim Williams has been scarcely mentioned as a candidate for ABC chair role, and his photo was not in the paper’s report on Monday.

It’s the Australian. Anything they try to make about the ABC should be taken with a grain of salt.

It’s almost like they have none or no good sources? or they publish articles for outcomes they’d like to see? There is no value in constantly copy and pasting snippets from the paper either.

If “Chopper” Elsworth is writing it, there’s your answer.


Statement from ABC Board and ABC Chair Ita Buttrose

The ABC Board has met today to discuss the legal action brought by Antoinette Lattouf in the Fair Work Commission. The Board notes that the ABC rejects the claims and has lodged its defence.

The Board of the ABC has passed a unanimous vote of confidence in the ABC’s Managing Director David Anderson.

ABC Chair Ita Buttrose, speaking on behalf of the ABC Board, said: “It is abhorrent and incorrect that people would suggest that he has shown a lack of support for independent journalism and journalists.

“David Anderson has always been a strong supporter of the independence of the ABC and its journalists. He has encouraged them to report without fear or favour and has never weakly surrendered to criticism as some critics have alleged.

“The ABC regularly receives, and responds to, complaints from individuals or organisations and the assumption that either the Managing Director as Editor-in-Chief or I would be influenced by any sort of lobbying pressure is quite simply wrong.

“The Board, including the Managing Director, recognise that this is a very difficult environment for our staff with many societal issues that threaten to divide us. We will continue to prioritise actions that support our staff, ensure our journalistic independence, and protect the trust that Australians place in the ABC.”

It’s going to be incredibly hard to find anyone local who is appropriately qualified and hasn’t had some sort of time inside or associated with the News Ltd/Corp orbit.

Given the way he exited News Ltd, I’m fairly confident they’re going not to give him a free run.


ABC statement

The Prime Minister Anthony Albanese has announced media executive Kim Williams AM as the next Chair of the ABC, following Ita Buttrose AC OBE when she finishes on 6 March.

The ABC welcomes this appointment. Mr Williams is a respected and experienced leader with deep connections across the media, arts, sport, political and business sectors.

Mr Williams’ appointment signals the continuation of stability and good governance at the ABC Board under the leadership of Ms Buttrose over the past five years.

Media Entertainment & Arts Alliance statement

New chair must restore ABC’s reputation for independence

The incoming chair of the ABC, Kim Williams, must immediately move to restore the reputation of the national broadcaster by addressing concerns about the impact of external pressures on editorial decision making.

The Media, Entertainment & Arts Alliance, the union representing journalists at the ABC, calls on the new chair to work with unions to support staff who are under attack, reaffirm the commitment to cultural diversity in the workplace, and uphold the standards of reporting without fear or favour that the public expects of the ABC.

MEAA welcomes the appointment of Mr Williams, noting that he has decades of media experience including senior management positions at the ABC, commercial broadcast media and arts administration in the past, and that he was recommended by an independent nomination panel.

The Acting Chief Executive of MEAA, Adam Portelli, said the new chair would take office at a critical time for the ABC’s future following a staff vote of no confidence in managing director David Anderson earlier this week.

“On Monday, union members overwhelmingly said they had lost confidence in David Anderson because of his failure to address very real concerns about the way the ABC deals with external pressure and supports journalists from First Nations and culturally diverse backgrounds when they are under attack,” he said.

“Public trust in the ABC as an organisation that will always pursue frank and fearless journalism has been damaged, and management under Mr Anderson has not demonstrated it is taking these concerns seriously.

“Following yesterday’s board meeting, the current chair, Ita Buttrose, revealed she is completely out of touch with the concerns felt in newsrooms across Australia.

“Dozens of staff have told us their first hand experiences of feeling unsupported by management when under external attack and the negative impact this is having on their ability to do their jobs and on the reputation and integrity of the ABC. But Ms Buttrose failed to acknowledge these concerns.

“ABC journalists have put forward five very reasonable suggestions to restore the confidence of staff in the managing director but at this stage, Mr Anderson has not committed to an urgent meeting as they requested.

“We are optimistic that the incoming chair, Kim Williams, will bring a more collaborative approach to dealing with issues of cultural safety and editorial integrity than has been witnessed under Ms Buttrose.

“He must understand that nothing less than the reputation of the ABC is at stake here.”

It’s already started. Sharri Markson was already having a go tonight from what I overheard. I missed most of what she was saying but I think she was framing him as a hypocrite who was openly critical of the ABC in his book, written years ago, like it was some great reveal.

Australia Day across the ABC


In a spirit of reflection and respect, the ABC is aiming to make the coverage of Australia Day more inclusive than ever before, to capture the diversity of Australians and the range of perspectives about January 26.

This year, the ABC particularly invites audiences to look at the day through the lens of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people. Coverage of the day across television, radio and digital streams will also offer perspectives from other communities, including new Australians, farming families, city dwellers, suburbanites and people in remote communities, so that audiences everywhere can see and hear different accents and perspectives. Events highlighted by the ABC will range from Australia Day BBQs and Survival Day events to citizenship ceremonies, local concerts, change-the-date protests, sport days and other community events and happenings.

Comprehensive coverage of national events marking the holiday begins with the Australian of the Year Awards live from the National Arboretum in Canberra at 7.30pm (AEST) on Thursday 25 January. Hosted by Leigh Sales, the broadcast on ABC TV, ABC iview, ABC NEWS channel and ABC Radio celebrates the achievements and contributions of outstanding Australians throughout 2023.

Prime Minister Anthony Albanese will announce the four category awards recognising the achievements of extraordinary Australians, including Australian of the Year.

On Australia Day itself, the first feature-length interview with the recipient of the Australian of the Year will air on ABC Radio local stations at 8.30am local time in each state and territory.

In other Australia Day coverage on Friday January 26, ABC TV and ABC iview will broadcast live the National Citizenship and Flag Raising Ceremony from the shores of Lake Burley Griffin in Canberra at 9.00am and the Governor General’s address at 6.53pm.

The spectacular Australia Day Live Concert from the Sydney Opera House is an appropriate finale to the national day. Hosted by John Foreman, Casey Donovan and Jeremy Fernandez and showcasing musical performances from leading Aussie talent, the two-hour event kicks off at 7.30pm. Featuring storytelling, tributes and entertainment, Australia Day Live takes place against a dazzling Sydney Harbour backdrop featuring a watercraft extravaganza of yachts, jet skis, fly boarders and parachutists, culminating in a firework and light show.

Since 2016, Australia Day Live at Sydney Opera House has proven to be much more than a concert; it brings us together on our national day to reflect, respect and celebrate the Australian spirit and the best of who we are.

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ABC statement on Drag Queen Story Time

The ABC condemns the hateful and offensive response we have received from some individuals in response to the callout for this event. The event will no longer be held at the Rockdale Library and the ABC is considering how we can safely host it.

The ABC invited families from within the LGBTQIA+ community to participate in a Drag Queen Story Time event which would be filmed as part of our Mardi Gras coverage. These events are designed for families and are regularly held in public spaces.

The ABC is the official host broadcaster for the 2024 Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras. As part of this partnership the ABC showcases the diversity of the LGBTQIA+ community, aligning with its Charter obligation to reflect all Australians.

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Amanda Meade wrote in her weekly media column on The Guardian Australia today that the Drag Queen Story Time segment would still go ahead but would be filmed in a safe, undisclosed location.


Big loss for Paramount ANZ, seems to be a wave of new leaders coming into the ABC of late.

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Opening statement by ABC Managing Director David Anderson to Senate Estimates

I welcome this opportunity today to share with the Committee some of the achievements and successes we have delivered for audiences over summer.

Since the start of July 2023, the ABC Emergency team has activated for more than 475 events (up until 3 Feb 2024).

I would like to particularly acknowledge the incredible work of our North Queensland teams who delivered more than 65 hours of emergency coverage around tropical cyclones Jasper and Kirrily.

Rural and regional communities know and trust the ABC for good reason. We have earned their trust through our hard work and dedication to those communities. I’m proud to say the ABC has once again proven to be a critical source of trusted information to help keep people safe.

Across this summer, ABC content has strongly resonated with audiences.

ABC’s NYE TV broadcast coverage reached a massive 3.4 million viewers, up 200,000 on 2022.

Around 500,000 people watched the inspirational Australian of the Year Awards on January 25.

triple J’s hottest 100 recorded more than 2.35 million votes. 34.5% of the population aged 18-75 years engaged with the event this year, or roughly 6.5 million people.

Significantly, more than 50 per cent of the songs were from Australian artists and half a million dollars was raised for the mental health organisation Headspace.

Programming as diverse as Muster Dogs and the political series Nemesis has given our audiences a mix of feelgood adventures and recent political history.

Both programs have been enjoyed across ABC TV and ABC iview by more than 1.4 million people so far.

With numbers like these it is little wonder that the ABC continues to be valued by more than 80% of Australians and has significantly higher levels of trust than commercial media.

Of course, the media landscape is changing rapidly, and the ABC needs to continue adapt to remain relevant to Australians.

In this context I am pleased to report that our digital first strategy is working.

ABC iview web and app, and both the ABC listen and ABC News apps are all up compared to last financial year.

In January 2024, more than 32 million hours of content was consumed on ABC iview.

The ABC is #2 in Digital News audience rankings and #1 for general news.

480,000 people now use the ABC listen app on a weekly basis.

Sport was a primary audience driver across audio this summer with Test Cricket and the Australian Open Tennis delivering strong audiences.

Overall, Sport delivered close to 2 million streams across the 6-week period.

ABC’s third-party reach has grown – 25% of the Australian adult population has now watched, read or listened to ABC content on a third-party platform.

There is more to be done and there is no room for complacency, but I am confident the evolution of the ABC into a modern digital media service is heading in the right direction.

On Saturday the ABC was recognised with 11 awards at the AACTAs. I urge you to catch up on some of those programs which include The Newsreader, Old People’s Home for Teenagers and of course… Bluey.

I have previously provided information to the Committee on the Review into ABC Systems and Processes in Support of Staff who Experience Racism.

This is an important piece of work for the ABC, and I am determined to ensure it is as comprehensive as possible in every way. It is crucial that we do not rush this important work.

The review is being led by respected lawyer and cultural leader Dr Terri Janke and work on the review commenced on 20 October, following the Voice Referendum. The independent process being managed by Dr Janke and her team has required significant preparation in terms of understanding the ABC’s processes and culture and ensuring every opportunity is afforded to any individual who wishes to engage with the review.

The review is expected to produce an anonymised report by the end of June and Dr Janke’s findings and recommendations will be made public. The final report will be peer reviewed.

The review will build on our work as the first media organisation to have an Elevate Reconciliation Action Plan.

This timeline is consistent with Dr Janke’s planning and other conversations I had with similarly qualified leaders who work in this space.

Finally, I would like to turn to another matter which has attracted some publicity.

Since December there has been significant public discourse about a dispute between Antoinette Lattouf and the ABC.

This dispute is the subject of active legal proceedings that are being defended by the ABC.

I acknowledge that there is interest in this matter and that Committee members will have a range of questions.

However the ABC’s ability to answer those questions today is constrained. I do seek the understanding of the Committee that it will not be appropriate for me to comment on issues that are related in some way to Ms Lattouf’s engagement at the ABC, given the proceedings.

The ABC does not wish to prejudice those proceedings and as a result I am limited in what I can say today.

ABC and Tonga Broadcasting Commission cement relationship with MOU


The Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC) and the Tonga Broadcasting Commission (TBC) have exchanged a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU), recognising their longstanding relationship.

The signing of the MOU builds on the spirit of friendship developed over many years by the two national broadcasters, recognising the cultural significance of both organisations and their role in connecting and informing Tongan and Australian audiences.

Under the agreement, the ABC and TBC acknowledge their shared history as public broadcasters championing the public interest and supporting democratic values across the Pacific region as well as their functions as emergency broadcasters, offering their citizens access to timely information in times of crisis.

The MOU underpins further collaboration and sharing of knowledge, content and technical expertise while welcoming the ongoing exchange of skills and strengthening of media practices.

ABC Head International Services Claire M. Gorman said: “We’re thrilled to be undertaking this MOU with TBC, having worked together over many years. As public broadcasters, we share a mutual understanding of the importance of collaboration and offering informative, educational and entertaining services to our audiences.”

TBC CEO Viola Ulakai expressed gratitude, saying, “We extend our sincere thanks to the Australian Broadcasting Corporation for their support throughout our enduring relationship.”

TBC currently supports the ABC’s broadcast of ABC Radio Australia in Tonga on 103FM and is a partner with ABC International Development in media development initiatives in Tonga, aimed at developing journalism and content making skills to tell Tongan stories through Tongan voices. Australia in Tonga on 103FM and is a partner with ABC International Development in media development initiatives in Tonga, aimed at developing journalism and content making skills to tell Tongan stories through Tongan voices.


Fresh Blood 3 Productions Premiere


The first round of Fresh Blood 3 productions have landed!

Ten creative teams were selected in 2023 from a staggering 400 submissions and tasked with writing and producing a short-form comedy video series. Across January and February 2024, the projects have each had a premiere via the ABC iview YouTube channel, and the creators’ own social media platforms. They can be viewed on the ABC TV + iview YouTube channel.

Fresh Blood is a joint ABC and Screen Australia initiative designed to unearth the next generation of creative talent behind and in front of the camera. It has previously helped launch the careers of some of Australia’s best comedy writers, directors, and performers, including Aunty Donna, Nina Oyama, Freudian Nip, Fancy Boy, and Skit Box.

ABC Head of Entertainment Rachel Millar said: “It’s been a joy to watch the rollout of the first stage of Fresh Blood’s class of ‘24. It’s so exciting to see how diverse these projects are, with such a wide range of fresh comedic voices and stories being told across the ten projects. The future of Australian screen comedy is in safe hands!”

Screen Australia Head of Online and Games Lee Naimo said: “Fresh Blood continues to be an incredibly successful platform for supporting and showcasing Australia’s emerging comedic talent. Each of the teams have brought their unique perspectives to their projects, and we couldn’t be more excited about the impact that will have on the future of Australian storytelling.”

In the next stage, teams will submit a treatment for a six-episode series to an ABC-Screen Australia judging panel. Up to three creative teams will develop their projects into a longer pilot, between 20-27 minutes, with the potential to be commissioned by the ABC as a series. The successful teams will each receive up to $400,000 (up to $200,000 from Screen Australia and up to $200,000 from the ABC) for the development and production of their pilots.

You can view the stage-one Fresh Blood 3 short-form series here:

Fresh Blood 3


Team: Wendy Mocke, Rizcel Gagawanan, Jessica Magro and Vanilla Tupu.

Synopsis: Best Friends Norah and Charli must spend their afterlife providing ancestral guidance to young black people.

Episode 1

Episode 2

Episode 3


Team: Paul Georghiou, Brooke Kymberley, Todor Manojlovic and Heather Riley.
Synopsis: Day Job is an animated documentary that follows the lives of the over-qualified young staff of a dingy local bowling alley. Watch as that dream life of passion, love and career triumph always narrowly eludes them. But that stack of used bowling shoes is always there for them, just waiting to be cleaned.

Episode 1

Episode 2

Episode 3


Team: Emma Holland and Xavier Hazard.

Synopsis: Kooky children’s art presenter Emma struggles to teach morals to a new generation through the joy of crafting, as the puppets, set, and even herself, derail the show in increasingly unsettling sketches (for adults only).

Episode 1

Episode 2

Episode 3


Team: Danielle Walker, Lauren Bonner, Greta Lee Jackson, and Jono Mastrippolito.


The town of Gowa must evacuate within six months. Sam, an aspiring journalist, returns home to document her family and home for the last time ever.

Episode 1

Episode 2

Episode 3


Team: Annie Louey, Jemma Cotter, Joshua Ladgrove, Oscar Axel Thorborg and Annie Thiele.

Synopsis: After her father dies unexpectedly, Annie lands a job at a funeral home in an attempt to gain closure. The shambolic small business, run by her dysfunctional boss Sal, opens Annie’s eyes to the bizarre world of funerals.

Episode 1

Episode 2

Episode 3


Team: Munasib Hamid, Miski Omar, Kevin Jin and Shehryar Hussain.

Synopsis: A surrealist comedy-drama that follows three young adults of the diaspora that move out from the Western Suburbs of Sydney to the Inner West in need of the freedom to express their inner realities. Always finding themselves walking the wire between worlds; their families, their inner monologue, and the world around them, they face a set of absurd and hilarious circumstances.

Episode 1

Episode 2

Episode 3


Team: Vidya Rajan, Nicholas Colla, Elyce Phillips, Nicolette Minster and Jesse Vogelaar.

Synopsis: Ruby Rai is a down-and-out Private Investigator… which is exactly how she likes it. But it’s not easy being your best hard-boiled self when inept co-workers, meddlesome family, and the endless weirdos (clients and ex-lovers) of the big city are waiting to thwart your every turn.

Episode 1

Episode 2

Episode 3


Team: Lauren Anderson and Meegan May.


Based on the award-winning fiction podcast created by Meegan May and Lauren Anderson, STARSHIP Q STAR follows the ‘first all women and non-binary crew’ on a PR mission to Mars, when they inadvertently end up the last six humans in the universe.

Episode 1

Episode 2

Episode 3


Team: Urvi Majumdar, Sophie Braham, Rohan Ganju, Suren Jayemanne, Sukhjit Kaur Khalsa, Nina Oyama, and Sashi. Perera
Synopsis: In 2010 Melbourne, a nerdy Indian girl struggles to fit in and find love amidst her parents’ traditional expectations and in the heightened, competitive environment of an elite academic all girls’ school.

Episode 1

Episode 2

Episode 3


Team: Josh Yasserie, Jon Rex Williams and Gita Irwin.

Synopsis: Reg, a hot-headed animated First Nations man living in real-world Redfern, gets evicted from his home and goes in search of his place of belonging (which he can’t remember) guided only by the spirit of his late wife Agnes and Wiiny: a little gum-stoned furry flirt who he can’t understand.

Kingsland will be available to view on ABC TV and iview soon.