ABC chair says he never called for sacking

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The drama kicked off on Monday morning when ABC chairman Justin Milne emailed staff, informing them the managing director had been sacked.

An urgent board meeting to determine ABC chairman Justin Milne's fate will be held today but this time he will not be present at the meeting, the ABC understands.

"I said "Well, I think actually I should resign, because clearly there is a lot of pressure on the organisation".

Milne, it had emerged, told Guthrie back in May that senior government figures "hate her [Alberici]" and her continued presence was damaging to the ABC's relationship with the government.

Mr Milne, however, declined to be specific, telling ABC presenter Joe O'Brien: "I'm not going to go into that".

"Nobody ever told me to hire anybody, fire anybody or do anything else".

"It's a matter for every high office holder to continually assess whether they retain the capacity to effectively discharge the duties of their office", he said.

"I know that's the sort of narrative that's been running in the papers but that absolutely never happened".

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Turnbull, who has lived in NY since he was ousted as prime minister on August 24, said on Thursday that while he had complained about the two reporters' journalism, he had never asked for them to be fired.

"When there is an issue of editorial independence and accuracy it's appropriate for the chair to be involved - it's the chair's job", he told ABC TV on Thursday.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison said on his official social media the ABC's board and its chairman had made the "right call".

Mr Milne must explain himself publicly, she said.

Speaking with reporters earlier, Morrison described the allegations against Milne as "very concerning", according to the AP.

The communications minister said he expected the inquiry to take "days, not weeks". But Milne instead offered to resign.

In an interview with the ABC's 7.30 programme, Milne described the week's events as a "firestorm" and said he "wanted to provide a release valve".

The ABC board is meant to operate as an independent body and is responsible for the ABC's operations.

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Ms Guthrie refused and was herself fired yesterday...

"I feel that the interests of the ABC have always been uppermost in my mind".

Milne strongly denied on Thursday that he had attempted to interfere in the ABC's editorial independence. "Nobody from the government has ever rung me". Mr Milne indicated he "would be cooperating", Mr Fifield said.

Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull holds his final news conference before leaving Parliament in Canberra on August 24.

On Thursday, it was also revealed he asked Ms Guthrie to sack the public broadcaster's political editor Andrew Probyn, saying "you have to shoot him", due to government complaints about the reporter.

This week, Michelle Guthrie was sacked from her $891,000-a-year position as managing director, halfway through her five-year term. "My concern has been on the accuracy and impartiality of reporting", Mr. Turnbull told reporters.

"That is not right. The bottom line is I have never called for anybody to be fired", the former prime minister told reporters in NY.

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