"Australians trust Ita." PM Scott Morrison announces Ita Buttrose as the next ABC chair.


Businesswoman, journalist and former magazine editor Ita Buttrose is the new chair of the ABC, with the prime minister declaring she has the “strength, integrity and fierce independence” needed to do the job.

“Australians trust Ita, I trust Ita, and that’s why I’ve asked her to take on this role,” Scott Morrison told reporters in Sydney on Thursday.

Ms Buttrose replaces Justin Milne, who left the taxpayer-funded broadcaster six months ago after clashing with former managing director Michelle Guthrie.

Ita Buttrose talks to Mia Freedman about oversharing:

Video by MMC

Her appointment comes despite her not being included on a shortlist of recommendations for the position given to the federal government.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison announced the 77-year-old’s appointment to the public broadcaster’s top job on Thursday, despite her not being included on a shortlist of recommendations for the position given to the government.

Mr Morrison said Buttrose had a passion, deep knowledge and empathy for Australians and that she has also demonstrated a commitment throughout her media career – which began at age 15 in a copywriting job at the Australian Women’s Weekly – to putting her audience first.

“That’s what the ABC needs to do too,” he said.

The former editor of Cleo and Australian Women’s Weekly magazines and The Daily Telegraph said she’s honoured to be leading the broadcaster.

“I consider it one of the most important cultural and information organisations in this country,” Ms Buttrose said.

Ita Buttrose
"It's time to get the ABC functioning again with proper," said the former magazine editor.

Her first job will be restoring stability to the management of the organisation after the sudden and disruptive departures of Mr Milne and Ms Guthrie.

"It's time to get the ABC functioning again with proper, stable management and good frank discussion between the chair and whoever is the managing director," Ms Buttrose said.

"If there's not a close relationship between the chair and the managing director, you cannot make an organisation work efficiently and well."

She also promised she wouldn't be afraid to ask the government for more funding and defended the ABC push into the online news space, saying it had a right to be there.

The 2013 Australian of the Year will be the second woman to head the ABC since Dame Leonie Kramer in the early 1980s.

Mr Morrison will recommend Ms Buttrose's appointment, under a five-year contract, to the governor-general.