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Milne Exits ABC – Project Jetstream Left Leaderless

The Morrison Government has already begun searching for a new chairman of the ABC – a government appointment – following Justin Milne’s resignation yesterday, following exposure of his correspondence with ABC CEO Michelle Guthrie and her eventual sacking.

Milne defended himself pretty well in an interview with ABC TV’s Leigh Sales last night, explaining the rationale for his recent behaviour, but his insistence that he had never sought the sacking of anyone appeared a little rich, given the publication of memos plainly calling on Guthrie to sack controversial reporter Emma Alberici.

It would be pretty easy for the Government to nominate one of the right-wing followers who have been pouring vitriol on  the ABC for many months and in some cases years – think Alan Jones, for instance – but that would solve nothing, just cause huge turmoil.

And in fact there’s something much more important at stake than a seat on the ABC board.

While not much of it has been made public, Milne had been a major figure working on the plan for a mainly-digital ABC in coming years, a plan known internally as Project Jetstream. That’s ultra-important to the ABC’s future and it will inevitably require hefty government funding.

The project has been pushed enthusiastically by Justin Milne during his time on the ABC board, though he experienced difficulty in getting Michelle Guthrie to embrace it.

If it’s to go ahead, the new ABC chairman will need to be someone with an understanding of digital technology, plus the ability to ease the inevitable tensions and to get on with both sides of the Federal Parliament.  

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