The senator criticizes ABC’s decision to lay off 100 workers, including their popular political editor, after pocketing $6 billion in funding – amid growing calls for chairwoman Ita Buttrose to step down over the ‘bath of blood”
- Senator Matt Canavan says ABC is getting ‘irrelevant’
- Massive layoffs lead to calls for ABC President Ita Buttrose to leave
An opposition senator has criticized the ABC for firing political editor Andrew Probyn, despite the federal government allocating $6 billion in the May budget.
Probyn said he was “stunned” after learning on Thursday that he was losing his job amid sweeping budget cuts, leading to calls for the resignation of ABC President Ita Buttrose.
Outspoken National Liberal Party politician Matt Canavan said the national broadcaster should hold MPs to account and it was becoming “irrelevant”.
“They scrapped the political editor. It’s scandalous. One of their roles should be to subject us to scrutiny, and the political editor obviously helps to do that,” he said.
Probyn, who joined the ABC in 2016, has been told his post is no longer needed and he, along with more than 100 other staff, is fired in what is being called a ‘bloodbath’.
There have been calls for ABC President Ita Buttrose to resign or be sacked for firing Andrew Probyn
Mr. Canavan said Sky News Australia that Probyn was always scrupulously fair in the way he covered political stories.
“I had my run-ins with Andrew Probyn, but he was always very tough, but always very fair,” he said.
“So I think it’s a remarkable decision to just drop somebody of that corporate heritage and knowledge here in the press gallery.
“I think the ABC is slipping into irrelevance.”
The Queensland senator, who has long been a global warming skeptic, also said: “Apparently the ABC has so much money they are going to set up a climate reporting unit.
“I can’t wait, personally, (for) more meteorologists to scare us. We’re going to explode instantly in 10 years, apparently.
Andrew Probyn (pictured) said he was ‘stunned’ after learning on Thursday he was losing his job as part of sweeping cuts at the ABC
Outspoken Liberal National Party politician Matt Canavan (pictured) said the ABC should hold MPs to account and it was becoming ‘irrelevant’
Speaking on the same platform, Liberal Senator Andrew Bragg also defended Probyn and suggested his firing was less job-related than internal ABC machinations.
“Obviously, Probyn is a long-time publisher there and has a very good reputation.
‘It’s disappointing. It seems to be a bit of a political decision, I must say, of the ABC.
“But the ABC has always, of course, been a pretty political organization, so I’m not sure anyone is really surprised, but I hope Andrew is okay,” Mr Bragg said.
The response to the sacking was swift and brutal, with many calling for Ms Buttrose to be fired.
“Can they make Ita Buttrose redundant,” one commenter wrote on Twitter.
Veteran political journalist Paul Bongiorno has expressed his shock (pictured) over the dismissal of Andrew Probyn by ABC
Another said Probyn’s sacking was a “disgusting decision”. Shame on you Ita Buttrose.
Veteran political journalist Paul Bongiorno wrote that he is “still recovering from the shock announcement that the position of political editor in Canberra for ABC TV has been made redundant”.
“That’s like saying a kitchen doesn’t need a cook. @andrewprobyn hard working, knowledgeable and credible.’
Responding to Bongiorno, another commentator wrote “our national broadcaster doesn’t need a political editor”. It’s a WTF moment!’