Australian news, and some related international items

Australian govt ignored nomination panel, appointed uranium industry’s Vanessa Guthrie to ABC Board

ABC board: secret shortlist of candidates ignored in favour of mining executive revealed
Documents show Coalition government passed over some of Australia’s most eminent cultural figures to appoint Vanessa Guthrie,
Guardian,  Margaret Simons, Sat 3 Aug 2019  The government passed over some of Australia’s most eminent cultural figures in order to appoint a mining executive to the ABC board in 2017, despite the fact that she was not recommended by an independent selection process.Documents released under freedom of information legislation show that in February 2017, the government rejected singer, writer and director Robyn Archer, former managing director of SBS Shaun Brown, and Sandra Levy, former chief executive of the Australian Film, Television and Radio School.

They were on a list of eight names recommended by an independent nomination panel after an extensive application and vetting process. The then communications minister, Mitch Fifield, instead appointed the chair of the Minerals Council of Australia, Vanessa Guthrie.

Guthrie had no media experience. At the time, the ABC was facing constant government criticism over its reporting on the coalmining industry and energy security.

Guthrie had also been through the application process but was not recommended for appointment. Fifield’s press release at the time said that while Guthrie had not been recommended, she “was identified by the government as having the requisite skills”.

However, until now, we have not known who was passed over in Guthrie’s favour.

Robyn Archer – singer, writer, director and public advocate for the arts, as well as the former artistic director of the Adelaide and Melbourne international arts festivals.

 Shaun Brown – former managing director of SBS for four years from 2006. Before that, a reporter, presenter, producer and senior executive with Television New Zealand.

 Sandra Levy – former CEO of the Australian Film, Television and Radio School, former head of drama at Zapruder’s Other Films, former director of development at Channel Nine and, before that, director of television at the ABC.

 Emile Sherman – Academy award-winning film producer, known for his work on the films The Kings Speech, Lion and Shame. Co-founder and managing director of See-Saw Films.

 John M Green – publisher, novelist, former executive director of an investment bank, business writer and commentator, member of the governing council of the National Library of Australia.

Georgie Somerset was also on the list recommended by the board, and was appointed with Guthrie. She is a Queensland cattle farmer with board experience across the not-for-profit sector.

An eighth recommended person’s name has not been released at their request. …….

Out of the current nine-member ABC board, five were appointed by the government despite not being recommended through the independent process. As well as Buttrose and Guthrie, the others are company director Dr Kirstin Ferguson (appointed 2015), businesswoman Donny Walford (2015) and businessman Joseph Gersh (2018).

The revelation of the rejected February 2017 applicants is the result of a 22-month battle. The original freedom of information request was lodged in October 2017……..

August 3, 2019 - Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, media, politics

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