Former ABC managing director Michelle Guthrie during Senate Estimates at Parliament House in Canberra. Picture: AAP /Mick Tsikas.
Former ABC managing director Michelle Guthrie during Senate Estimates at Parliament House in Canberra. Picture: AAP /Mick Tsikas.

Sacked Guthrie taking ABC to court

FORMER ABC Managing Director Michelle Guthrie has lodged papers to take the ABC to court after she was sacked last month, the public broadcaster reports.

Ms Guthrie will reportedly claim that the board "had no reason to trigger the termination clause" as part of an alleged unfair dismissal claim, according to sources.

Ms Guthrie was shown the door on September 24, with the ABC board saying her ongoing leadership was not in the broadcaster's best interests.

A spokesperson for Ms Guthrie confirmed she had lodged a claim with the Fair Work Commission but did not confirm which damages were being sought.

The ABC also confirmed Ms Guthrie had made a complaint, but according to a spokesperson, "details of the complaint are not a matter of public record".

The development coincides with news the upper house's communications and environment committee will examine the recent controversy at the ABC including the sacking of Ms Guthrie and chair Justin Milne's resignation.

The inquiry will look at political influence over ABC editorial decision-making, taking in the role of funding uncertainty and how the board is appointed. Labor pushed for a separate inquiry which would have been conducted by the Senate's finance and public administration committee.

Former ABC managing director Michelle Guthrie (right) and former ABC Chairman Justin Milne during the ABC Annual Public Meeting in Ultimo, Sydney. Picture: AAP/Joel Carrett.
Former ABC managing director Michelle Guthrie (right) and former ABC Chairman Justin Milne during the ABC Annual Public Meeting in Ultimo, Sydney. Picture: AAP/Joel Carrett.

But that referral was shot down, with the government backing the Greens inquiry over Labor's.

"The Greens believe the more appropriate committee for this inquiry to go to would be the committee that usually deals with these issues," Greens senator Sarah Hanson-Young said.

Government minister Anne Ruston agreed the communications committee was more appropriate.

The push comes after the release of the findings of an inquiry carried out by the communications department on Monday.

It probed the events leading up to Ms Guthrie being fired and Mr Milne resigning.

The review found neither former prime minister Malcolm Turnbull or any other minister requested ABC journalists be sacked in the lead up to the national broadcaster's recent leadership woes.

But it said the ABC's former top brass were in no doubt that senior government members were "very concerned" about editorial standards at the broadcaster. They also believed that may affect the ABC's standing and funding. The inquiry report is due on March 29.

 

- With AAP

 

megan.palin@news.com.au | @Megan_Palin



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