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Australia’s ABC seeks Chairman

Monday 14 Nov 2011
The Australian government has appointed a temporary Chairman of the ABC after it ran out of time to find a replacement for Maurice Newman, whose term expires at the end of the year, the Sydney Morning Herald reports.

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Another board member, Steven Skala, will hold the position in the interim.

In September, the government decided not to renew Mr Newman’s five-year term. Reforms to the ABC and SBS board appointment process mean an independent panel has to interview and recommend someone for the role. The Department of Broadband, Communications and the Digital Economy is responsible for the process.

The Herald understands seven people have been interviewed, including existing ABC board members, and that at least one judge applied for the part-time, A$151,500 (US$152,300)-a-year job.

But the panel’s report and recommended shortlist is still to be delivered to the minister, Stephen Conroy.

His office confirmed that Mr Skala, a former Deutsche Bank executive, would fill the position from 1 January until a permanent Chairman was named.

Under the new appointments regime, the Prime Minister, Julia Gillard, chooses the ABC Chairman on the basis of the panel’s shortlist. The choice must win cabinet approval, and the leader of the opposition must also be consulted.