Malcolm Turnbull says he never told anyone at the ABC to sack journalists over stories he didn’t like.
Former ABC chairman Justin Milne quit the national broadcaster in September after it was revealed he pressured managing director Michelle Guthrie to sack two senior journalists because the government didn’t like them.
“No, absolutely not. There is nothing I’ve said to Justin Milne or to anybody else at the ABC that I haven’t said publicly,” Mr Turnbull told the ABC’s Q&A on Thursday night.
“My concern was about particular examples of really inaccurate reporting.
“My affection for and respect for the ABC is so great that I want it to be its best self and to get its journalism right.”
A communications department inquiry found there was no pressure from the coalition on the ABC to sack journalists.
The former prime minister said he was only concerned about editorial standards at the ABC in complaints he made.
“It needs to separate the role of managing director and editor-in-chief,” he said.
“It should have a dedicated editor-in-chief – a senior position who reports to the board and who is responsible for ensuring that the highest standards of journalism are maintained.”