Australia

Sacked Guthrie's tumultuous time at the ABC

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The ABC's board has sacked managing director Michelle Guthrie, sparking a mixed response across the media industry and political circles.

Former media lawyer and Google executive Michelle Guthrie has faced a number of pressures since taking on the ABC's top job in March 2016.

How it happened:

* March 2016: Former media lawyer and Google executive Michelle Guthrie takes over from Mark Scott as the ABC's managing director. Liberal senator Eric Abetz says she will have to end the "lefty love-in" at the public broadcaster.

* October 2016: Ms Guthrie, at a Senate estimates hearing, rejects suggestions made in an opinion piece by former ABC presenter Johnathan Holmes that the public broadcaster is biased towards the left.

* February 2017: Both sides of politics criticise Ms Guthrie over a decision to switch off the ABC's shortwave radio service in the Northern Territory and parts of the Pacific. She insists in a Senate hearing the ABC would still be broadcast via FM and AM frequencies, the viewer access satellite television (VAST) service and online in the areas.

* March 2017: The ABC boss announces sweeping changes at the ABC, including axing a fifth of management, spending millions worth of savings on making new content and beefing up the broadcaster's presence in regional Australia.

ABC managing director Michelle Guthrie has been sacked.
ABC managing director Michelle Guthrie has been sacked.
AAP

* November 2017: Ms Guthrie reveals a plan to dismantle the divide between the public broadcaster's TV, radio and online divisions to instead create content across all platforms.

* May 8, 2018: The ABC boss lashes out at federal budget cuts to the broadcaster, saying a proposed $84 million hit can't be absorbed by efficiency measures alone.

* May 24, 2018: Calls for ABC to reconsider its advertising spending, after it was revealed in Senate estimates it had spent $440,000 on Google Ad Words and $1.4 million in Facebook advertising during the year.

* June 2018: Ms Guthrie rejects calls from within the Liberal party to privatise the public broadcaster, saying the commercial media sector doesn't need a new "advertising behemoth".

* August 2018: The ABC faces calls to justify its plans to create new digital lifestyle-focused projects, with free-to-air TV lobby group FreeTV saying lifestyle is "one of the most comprehensively covered market segments in Australian media".

* September 2018: Ms Guthrie is sacked, with the board declaring it is "not in the best interests" of the broadcaster for her to continue in the role.

What they said:

* "I want to see an ABC that's strong and doing its job and the board does as well." - Prime Minister Scott Morrison

* "I've got to say, I'm perplexed. I heard the report just before this media conference, I had a look at the statement from the board, I don't think that really clarifies matters." - Labor deputy leader Tanya Plibersek

* "What on earth is the government's explanation for Michelle Guthrie's apparent sacking as head of the ABC. The ABC's future is owned by all Australians." - Former PM Kevin Rudd

Deputy opposition leader Tanya Plibersek says she's confused by the move.
Deputy opposition leader Tanya Plibersek says she's confused by the move.
AAP

* "This seems like a great chance to bring in someone who will help the ABC become more fair and balanced. I nominate @PMOnAir (Sky News presenter Paul Murray)." - One Nation leader Pauline Hanson

* "I am devastated by the board's decision to terminate my employment despite no claim of wrongdoing on my part." - Michelle Guthrie

* "Whatever happens next, the ABC needs a strong advocate at the helm who will stand up to the relentless attacks from the coalition government and their anti-ABC cronies." - Greens senator Sarah Hanson-Young

* "I am hopeful that the new managing director will ensure that that the Ultimo-centric broadcaster is more in line with the aspirations of Australians including by delivering benefit to the taxpayer, stopping the left-wing bias and bringing an end to the frolics masquerading as news and 'comedy' from some ABC employees." - Liberal senator Eric Abetz

* "We feel it is time for a new vision and new direction for the ABC to emerge, allowing journalists and content makers to get on with the job of serving audiences with the content they trust." - Journalists' union MEAA

* "Excellent decision." - Sally Neighbour, 4Corners executive producer

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