Tonightly c--- skit: Ex-ABC chairman wanted to change editorial policy

September 29, 2018

Former ABC chairman Justin Milne was so enraged by an episode of an ABC TV show that labelled a Conservative Party candidate a “c---” that he demanded editorial policies be changed, something called for at the time by party leader Cory Bernardi.

The Sydney Morning Herald reports, in an 11-page document presented to the board, former managing director Michelle Guthrie details an email from Mr Milne about the decision by the now-cancelled comedy show Tonightly to use the offensive term to describe Conservative Party candidate Kevin Bailey.

According to the document, Mr Milne told his managing director “not one person … thinks this is OK - including Labor politicians who think we are crazy”.

Mr Milne resigned from the ABC on Thursday after it was revealed he had encouraged Ms Guthrie to sack reporters the government did not like, including ABC chief economics correspondent Emma Alberici and political editor Andrew Probyn.

He did not ask the former managing director to sack Tonightly host Tom Ballard in the email, but instead suggested editorial policies were “inadequate”.

Communications Minister Mitch Fifield in March said the segment “clearly crossed a line” and described it as “vitriolic abuse”. Senator Bernardi complained to Ms Guthrie directly.

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