The ABC is about to turn 90, yet seldom has the public broadcaster seen such controversy: public spats, budget cuts, accusations of bias, political pressure and leadership tensions. Sally Warhaft talks to On Us author and former ABC managing director Mark Scott (in a rare appearance discussing the broadcaster), On Auntyauthor and former Media Watch host Jonathan Holmes, host of ABC podcast Download This Show and co-anchor on SBS VICELAND’s The Feed Marc Fennell and journalist Margaret Simons about Michelle Guthrie’s dismissal and why the broadcaster must adapt to survive a new era of media.  

Events in Bay 17 at Carriageworks are closed-captioned. 

Mark Scott (Australian)

Mark Scott

Mark Scott is Secretary of NSW Department of Education, which educates over 800,000 students in 2,200 schools. He was the Managing Director of the ABC between 2006-16 and is Chairman of the Board for the Sydney Writers' Festival.

Jonathan Holmes (Australian)

Jonathan Holmes

Jonathan Holmes was a television journalist for 45 years. After twelve years at the BBC he joined the ABC as Executive Producer of Four Corners in 1982. Between then and his retirement in 2013 he was variously the ABC’s Head of Documentaries, Executive Producer of Foreign Correspondent and The 7.30 Report, Washington reporter, Four Corners reporter, and for five years the presenter of Media Watch. He still reports occasionally for ABC TV. His essay On Aunty was published this year.

Margaret Simons (Australian)

Margaret Simons

Margaret Simons is an award-winning freelance journalist and the author of thirteen books and numerous articles and essays. She is also associate professor of journalism at Monash University. With photojournalist Dave Tacon, she won the 2015 Walkley for Social Equity Journalism for her essay Fallen Angels, published in The Monthly. This article also won the 2015 Quill Award for best feature. She is currently working on a history of the ABC from 2009 onwards, to be published by Black Inc, as well as a biography of Senator Penny Wong, to be published by Black Inc later this year.

Marc Fennell (Australian)

Marc Fennell

Marc Fennell is an award-winning journalist, broadcaster, author, critic and the host of SBS VICELAND’s nightly news show The Feed. In a career spanning the BBC, Network Ten, Foxtel and the ABC, Marc has interviewed everyone from Julian Assange to Tom Cruise. Marc also hosts ABC Radio’s technology programme Download This Show and is the creative director of the not-for-profit Media Diversity Australia.

Sally Warhaft (Australian)

Sally Warhaft

Sally Warhaft is a Melbourne broadcaster and anthropologist and former editor of The Monthly magazine. She is the author of Well May We Say: The Speeches That Made Australia and the host of the Wheeler Centre’s live journalism series, The Fifth Estate.