ABC Chair Ita Buttrose won’t seek new term

ABC Chair Ita Buttrose says she won’t be seeking reappointment when her current term comes to an end next March.

Ita Buttrose

Communications Minister Michelle Rowland announced on Tuesday that Ms Buttrose had advised the government of her decision to walk away on March 6.

Ms Rowland said Ms Buttrose had provided outstanding leadership since her appointment in 2019, and was a strong defender of the independence of the ABC and a fierce advocate for its role in Australian society.

“Ms Buttrose was the right Chair for the right time,” the minister said in a statement.

Ms Buttrose is a formidable corporate leader who has served with distinction, speaking truth to power and upholding governance standards to protect independent public broadcasting

“She navigated the public broadcaster through a challenging period that included strident political criticism, the COVID-19 pandemic and the ongoing transformation of the ABC so it can remain an essential part of Australian life in the digital age.”

Ms Buttrose became the second woman to hold the position in March 2019 when she took over from acting chair Kirstin Ferguson, following the departure of Justin Milne the previous September.

Her tenure has not been without controversy, having faced criticism for her response to the departure of Q&A host Stan Grant, who stood down from his position in May after being subject to racial abuse.

Describing Ms Buttrose as a ‘giant’ of Australia’s media industry,  Mr Rowland paid tribute to her stewardship at the national broadcaster, which included developing a new five year plan outlining its intention to become an integrated digital platform by 2028.

She also hailed Ms Buttrose for championing inclusivity through the introduction of audio-descriptions and boosting the representation of women in the media.

Ms Rowland said  Ms Buttrose still had a lot to do over the rest of her term, and would leave the ABC stronger than when she took up the role.

The government will begin a selection process ‘in due course’, to be conducted by an independent nomination panel and an external agency.

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