says 'biased' ABA boss must go, by Alex Mitchell -
2nd May 2004
The Sydney Morning Herald)
Embattled media watchdog Professor David Flint has
only two options: to resign forthwith or be sacked
by Prime Minister John Howard, Premier Bob Carr said
Carr said that it was "unthinkable" that
Professor Flint should be allowed to stay as chairman
of the Australian Broadcasting Authority until his
term expired on October 4.
Flint appears to have lost the confidence of his own
board and he has certainly lost the confidence of
people in the media industry and the general public,"
should go. He should go now.
would be easier by far if the Prime Minister bows
to the inevitable and removes him."
Howard was drawn into the week-long Sydney media row
when it was claimed he had reappointed Professor Flint
to the ABA chairmanship at the urging of 2GB part-owner
and morning host Alan Jones.
Howard denied that Jones had influenced his decision
to support Professor Flint, one of the country's leading
monarchists who led the Prime Minister's battalions
in the vote against the republic in 1998.
also said the claims were untrue.
his dismay over Professor Flint's refusal to step
down, Mr Carr said the six-member ABA board could
force its chairman out by resigning en masse.
board members could state boldly that they will resign
if he [Flint] doesn't, and then make themselves available
for reappointment by the Federal Government when Professor
Flint goes," he said.
members include former SBS managing director Malcolm
Long, high-profile media lawyer Ian Robertson, Jane
Marquard, a former executive with Mr Kerry Packer's
PBL, and Lyn Maddock, formerly with the Productivity
Commission and Westpac.
Carr said Australia desperately needed a diverse media
because "democracy thrives where there is a multiplicity
of media voices, overlapping, contradicting and criticising.
is just so vital to our democracy and way of life
that regulating the electronic media can't be left
in the hands of someone who is so biased and compromised."
Carr said that removing Professor Flint from the inquiry
into the ABC's coverage of the US-led invasion of
Iraq had shown his unsuitability for the ABA chairmanship.
he can't undertake the inquiry into the ABC's war
coverage, what other duties can he conceivably perform?
It must mean that he is unsuitable to conduct an inquiry
into the commercial media as well. Surely this is
an unassailable reason for the professor to leave
Carr said that until the Flint-Jones letters were
revealed on the ABC's Media Watch last Monday, he
had "no inkling" that the two men were so
said that Professor Flint's "studied and pontifical
voice" made him sound like "someone who
was auditioning for a vice-regal part with the Pymble
Premier Bob Carr
Minister of Australia
stunt or fair comment, by Greg Tingle
gets too active - 1st May 2004