ABC chairperson vows to stay, despite calls to resign

Former ABC managing director Michelle Guthrie

The government has denied pressuring the broadcaster over its staff.

In a statement released by Mr Milne, he failed to comment on whether or not the Fairfax reporting was accurate and instead gave a cookie cutter response about the integrity of the board managing the ABC. "It's clearly not a good thing for everybody to be trying to do their job with this kind of firestorm going on".

Mr Milne says the relationship between the ABC and the government is hard because the ABC is government funded but expected to stay impartial.

Mr. Milne, who was appointed by the conservative government a year ago and is a friend of former Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull, said he had quit for the good the corporation.

Turnbull, who has been living in NY since being forced to resign as prime minister, said he had complained about the two journalists, but never asked for their dismissal, according to The Associated Press. "Get rid of her", Milne allegedly wrote in the email published by The Sydney Morning Herald on Thursday.

"Clearly there is a lot of pressure on the organization, and as always my interests have been to look after the interests of the corporation", Milne said in an interview given to the ABC's own "7.30" current affairs show.

Milne has thus far refused to be drawn on-the-record about Guthrie's failings, other than pointing to her leadership style.

The broadcaster's staff on Wednesday unanimously voted for Mr Milne to step down while the departmental investigation takes place, but the board has confidence in him to continue in his job.

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The chairman is also said to have ordered Ms Guthrie sack Mr Probyn by telling her "you just have to shoot him", because Mr Turnbull hated the journalist.

The scandal has damaged the credibility of both the governing coalition and the ABC, which is government-funded but is required by law to operate independently of party politics.

Malcolm Turnbull sent a list of concerns to ABC news director Gaven Morris about Alberici's coverage of the government in May.

Mr Milne's board position is not due for re-election at Tabcorp's annual general meeting next month.

According to Fairfax, Mr Turnbull rang the ABC chairman while still in office to complain about a report from chief economics correspondent Emma Alberici on company tax, which he claimed was full of inaccuracies.

Malcolm Turnbull says he never asked for ABC reporter Emma Alberici to be fired.

Mr Turnbull says he did not ask for specific reporters to be axed.

The rhetoric at a smaller gathering in Brisbane was stronger, where a resolution was passed demanding Mr Milne resign.

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