On Sunday evening ABC Chair Ita Buttrose issued a statement calling for a motion to “terminate or suspend” the Senate inquiry adding that it was a “blatant attempt to usurp the role of the ABC Board and undermine the operational independence of the ABC”.
When Scott Morrison was asked by reporters on Monday if he supported Senator Bragg’s inquiry into the ABC he questioned why any government agency would escape the “scrutiny of the Senate”.
“There’s no government agency that is above the scrutiny of the Senate and I don’t understand why that would be an extraordinary initiative to take,” he said.
Prime Minister Scott Morrison has reminded the ABC that no government agency is above the scrutiny of the Senate. Picture: NCA NewsWire / David Crosling
The Prime Minister also reminded those in attendance that his government was subject to similar inquiries.
“I mean the government is responsive to the inquiries undertaken,” Mr Morrison said.
“We’ve had a senate committee that has been inquiring into the management of COVID from the start of COVID, they look into what the Chief Medical Officer does, what General Frewen does.
“There’s no government agency that beyond the scrutiny of the Senate there’s no special set of arrangements for one agency over others.”
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In her statement Ms Buttrose slammed the Senate inquiry calling it an “act of political interference” adding that it would damage the ABC’s credibility.
“Once again, an elected representative has chosen to threaten the ABC’s independence at the expense of the integrity of this irreplaceable public service,” she said.
“Any incursion of this kind into the ABC’s independence should be seen by Australians for what it is: an attempt to weaken the community’s trust in the public broadcaster
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“This is an act of political interference designed to intimidate the ABC and mute its role as this country’s most trusted source of public interest journalism.”
When Mr Morrison was asked by reporters if he was comfortable with the Senate inquiry he simply replied: “Why wouldn’t you be?”
“It’s a government agency, yes they have their independence and no one is questioning that, but they’re not above the scrutiny for how they conduct themselves using tax payers money from any other government agency,” he said.
“That’s sort of business as usual for the Australian Parliament, I don’t know why they would consider themselves an exception to business as usual.”

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