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February 2019

Court releases Cardinal Pell's 2016 interview with police in the Vatican

Ita ready to "continue the conversation" - Ita will fit right in at their ABC

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Selected excerpts from transcript of today's press conference.

ITA BUTTROSE: I don't have a problem with the Australian public. I believe the main shareholders of the ABC are the Australian public. I have always had a very good communication with them and I think through the ABC we'll be able to continue that conversation. The ABC does it very well. It does it much better than the commercial networks.

JOURNALIST: What do you think is the biggest challenge facing the ABC at the moment?

ITA BUTTROSE: I think the most important - and 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....

JOURNALIST: Ita, do you believe the ABC requires more funding to fulfil its commitments to the Australian people?

ITA BUTTROSE: I haven't been through the accounts yet. I haven't discussed anything with the acting managing director or with the acting chair. And I need to look at those things. I need to look at those figures and see what's what. I'm aware what the current funding is, but, look, let me assure you that if I think there is a need for more funding, I won't be frightened to ask for it.

JOURNALIST: There is a loud view by some of the community that the ABC is a nest of left-wing vipers in terms of its journalism that it doesn't represent - I see nods and smiles from the Prime Minister.

PRIME MINISTER: I'm just amused.

JOURNALIST: What is your take on it?

ITA BUTTROSE: 80 per cent of Australian’s say we're unbiased. 80 per cent of Australians say that they trust our news more than they trust any other kind of information. So we must be doing something right

It's Ita - PM recommends Governor General appoints Ita to Chair the ABC

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The Morrison Government will recommend to the Governor-General that Ita Buttrose AO OBE be appointed as the next Chair of the ABC.

Ms Buttrose is an exceptionally qualified candidate with a comprehensive background in the media industry.

As well as being 2013 Australian of the Year, Ms Buttrose is a member of the Australian Media Hall of Fame, founded Cleo Magazine, was Editor of The Australian Women’s Weekly, Editor in-Chief of the Daily Telegraph, Sunday Telegraph and The Sun-Herald and has worked for all the commercial television broadcasters. Ms Buttrose has also served on the board of News Ltd, on the Advisory Board of the Australian Women Chamber of Commerce & Industry and as Director and board members for a range of charities including the National Breast Cancer Centre Advisory Network, The Smith Family and Alzheimer’s Australia.  

Prime Minister Scott Morrison said Ms Buttrose was an outstanding candidate to steer the ABC as Chair.

“Ita is an extraordinary Australian who will bring decades of media and management experience to the ABC. I can think of no-one better to lead the national broadcaster,” the Prime Minister said.

Minister for Communications Mitch Fifield said Ms Buttrose would be only the second woman to Chair the ABC after Dame Leonie Kramer AC DBE in the early 1980s.

“After a difficult period for the ABC, Ita Buttrose is someone Australians know and can trust to Chair the national broadcaster,” Minister Fifield said.

The Government has followed the legislated process for making this appointment, including considering the report of the independent nomination panel and consulting with the Leader of the Opposition.

The Chair position is part-time for 5 years, with remuneration being set by the Remuneration Tribunal.

The Government thanks Dr Kirstin Ferguson for acting in the role of Chair over the past five months. Dr Ferguson will continue on the board as Deputy Chair.


I'd have preferred to hear "The budget is allocated by the elected government, I'll contain spending within the budgeted funds we receive".

Ms Buttrose sounds a little like an activist in waiting.

Oh dear!  Ms Buttrose wants to assure the staff that "life will go on as usual".  That's the last thing we need.

Putting Mr Richter QC's sentencing submissions into proper perspective

You'll find plenty of mainstream media commentary - and some on this website - about Robert Richter QC's submissions to Judge Kidd regarding the sentencing of Cardinal Pell.

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Mr Richter QC was not making admissions of guilt.

He was describing the offending "according to the verdict".

Here is an extract from the ABC's report of those proceedings.

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Mr Richter's job is to advance his client's interests, regardless of who the client is.

He's made it clear, along with his instructing solicitor Mr Galbally that Cardinal Pell does not admit the offences, that he maintains his innocence, that the jury guilty verdict was unreasonable and unsafe - and the conviction is under appeal.

The appeal will be heard by judges only.  If they decide that there were grounds for a reasonable juror to have reasonable doubt about the Cardinal's guilt they will overturn the conviction.

Cardinal Pell is convicted - today.  But prudent observers would be wise to await the final appeal judgement before lining up to join the firing squad.