Secret email to sack ABC star
A SECRET email has been revealed calling for the sacking of a high-profile ABC presenter, as the public broadcaster faces increased scrutiny over its recent leadership topple.
ABC chairman Justin Milne reportedly told former managing director Michelle Guthrie to fire the public broadcaster's economics correspondent Emma Alberici.
Just one day after Ms Guthrie was sensationally dismissed from the public broadcaster less than halfway into her five-year term, Fairfax Media has revealed a scathing email in which Mr Milne was instructed to "get rid" of Alberici.
The email was reportedly sent on May 8 in response to one from Ms Guthrie, and was later circulated to board members in the week leading up to her axing on Monday.
"They (the government) hate her," Mr Milne said in the email of Alberici. "We are tarred with her brush. I think it's simple. Get rid of her. We need to save the ABC - not Emma. There is no guarantee they (the Coalition) will lose the next election."
The day before that, then-prime minister Malcolm Turnbull had sent a list of complaints to the public broadcaster's news director Gaven Morris over a story Alberici had written about the government's research and innovation spending.
Communications Minister Mitch Fifield also complained to the ABC about the story.
The email revelation follows a tumultuous week for the ABC, after Ms Guthrie, on a salary nearing $900,000 a year, was given her marching orders by management on Monday.
Staff at the ABC were notified by email before the broadcaster released a statement outlining the personnel change but failing to explain the reasons behind it.
"The decision follows discussions over several months that concluded when directors resolved that it was not in the best interests of the ABC for Ms Guthrie to continue to lead the organisation," the statement said.
"In resolving to seek fresh leadership, the Board's foremost consideration was the long-term interests of our own people and the millions of Australians who engage with ABC content every week."
Ms Guthrie made her feelings known just before midday with a statement of her own. She said she was "devastated by the Board's decision to terminate my employment despite no claim of wrongdoing on my part".
The former managing director who was just halfway through her five-year contract with the ABC, said she was considering taking legal action.
"My term concludes on 4 July, 2021," she said. "While my contract permits the Board to terminate my appointment without cause and with immediate effect, I believe there is no justification for the Board to trigger that termination clause. I am considering my legal options.
"At no point have any issues been raised with me about the transformation being undertaken, the investing in audiences strategy and my effectiveness in delivering that strategy."