Australia

'Australians trust Ita': Ita Buttrose is confirmed as new ABC chair

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Prime Minister Scott Morrison has announced that veteran journalist Ita Buttrose is the new chair of the ABC.

Businesswoman, journalist and former magazine editor Ita Buttrose has been confirmed as the new chair of the ABC.

On appointing Ms Buttrose, Prime Minister Scott Morrison said: "Australians trust Ita. I trust Ita."

"That's why I have asked her to take on this role."

"I am absolutely thrilled that she has accepted."

Ms Buttrose will replace outgoing chairman Justin Milne, who departed the ABC six months ago amid a clash with former managing director Michelle Guthrie. 

Her appointment comes despite her not being included on a shortlist of recommendations for the position given to the federal government.

"In Ms Buttrose we have someone who has demonstrated throughout her career that the best way to run a broadcasting, publishing organisation is to focus on the people for who it is for. Which is the viewers and the readers and the listeners to the ABC," said Mr Morrison.

Mr Morrison will recommend Ms Buttrose's appointment, under a five-year contract, to the governor-general.

"In my role as chair, I think my most important role is to restore stability to the management of the organisation, to reassure the staff that life will go on as usual and to reassure the board who have also been through a period of unrest," said Ms Buttrose.

"It’s time to get the ABC functioning again with proper, stable management and good, frank discussion between the chair and whoever is the managing director."

Promising that she wouldn't be afraid to ask the government for more funding, Ms Buttrose also defended the ABC push into the online news space, saying it had a right to be there.

The 2013 Australian of the Year will be the second woman to head the ABC since Dame Leonie Kramer in the early 1980s.

Who is Ita Buttrose?

Born in Sydney's Potts Point in 1942, Ms Buttrose spent several of her earliest years living in New York City, where her father, journalist and former Daily Mirror editor Charles Buttrose, was posted as a correspondent.

She began her media career at the age of 15 as a copy girl at the Australian Women's Weekly, before landing a spot as a cadet journalist on the women's section of The Daily Telegraph and The Sunday Telegraph.

Having been the editor of The Women's Weekly, Cleo magazine and The Daily Telegraph (later The Sunday Telegraph), she was the first woman appointed to the News Limited board in 1981. 

National President of Alzheimer's Australia from 2011 to 2014, Ms Buttrose remains an ambassador for the organisation, now known as Dementia Australia. A cause close to her heart, she has spoken about caring for her father who suffered dementia before his death in 1999.

Most recently, Ms Buttrose hosted the Studio 10 program.

 

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