Malcolm Turnbull denies calling for ABC sackings

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Details continue to emerge about turmoil and tensions inside the ABC after tumultuous week for the national broadcaster in which it has lost its managing director Michelle Guthrie and chairman Justin Milne.

Former ABC chairman Justin Milne leaves the ABC studios in Sydney after resigning his chairmanship on Thursday.

Communications Minister Mitch Fifield had initially declined to act but later announced an inquiry into allegations of misconduct against Mr Milne.

Michelle Guthrie was let go on Monday after mounting tensions between her and the ABC board.

Former Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull also denied he'd asked Milne to pressure the board on editorial matters.

An open all-staff meeting was called at the ABC's Ultimo headquarters - which was described as "the most important" in nearly two decades - where a resolution calling for an independent inquiry into the matter was passed unanimously.

Mr Milne quit the board on Thursday because he says the controversy around him was putting pressure on the ABC.

"It's clearly not a good thing for everybody to be trying to do their job with this kind of fire storm going on, so I wanted to provide a release valve", Mr. Milne told the ABC in a television interview.

Mr Milne confirmed the ABC board had meant to ask him to step aside while an investigation was conducted into his conduct, but said he had instead made a decision to quit.

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Australian news outlets reported he had also directed Ms Guthrie to sack the ABC's political editor, saying: "You have to shoot him".

"More concerning for the nation is how the Liberal Party seeks to interfere with the ABC's independence, cut its funding and eventually look to sell it off", said Labor leader Bill Shorten.

The ABC, which is the equivalent of the BBC, is the nation's most trusted news source, according to public surveys, but regularly runs into trouble with the government of the day over its political coverage. He said he never used the term "babes", but did sometimes call people he liked "chicks" in order to relax them.

As of this week, however, Australia's national broadcaster has an acting managing director and no chairman, all in a media and political environment which is heating up towards the next federal election due by May next year.

The communications minister's comments came after a similar denial from former prime minister Malcolm Turnbull. "My concern has been on the accuracy and impartiality of reporting", Mr. Turnbull told reporters. 'The bottom line is I've never called for anybody to be fired, ' Turnbull has said of the ABC scandal.

Greens Senator Sarah Hanson-Young has called for the full ABC board to be overhauled to give the broadcaster a "fresh start". Milne and Turnbull are friends of long standing.

From claiming parents need to ask for babies" consent before changing their nappies to teaching kids about "white privilege', the ABC has lurched further and further to the left in recent years. A quick glance at the CVs of the ABC's board of directors indicates that they are drawn overwhelmingly from the highest echelons of corporate Australia.

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