“I regret to say the ABC management has from time to time, in seeking to make programming changes it wants to make for its own programming reasons, has sought to blame them on the government -and me in particular. That is simply not right,” he said on Q & A.
“There was a view in the ABC management here that Lateline should be taken off ABC1 because it felt its audience was appealing to an older demographic, it was too late at night, they were mostly in bed, and it was better to have a Lateline type show on ABC 24 at 10pm every night.
“It had nothing to do with the savings measures arising out of this exercise.”
His comments follow ongoing speculation about the size of funding cuts to the broadcaster.
Turnbull indicated later this week final numbers would be revealed. ABC could expect cuts of “about 5% of the top line over 5 years.”
Turnbull said Australians appreciated the broadcaster, but that public broadcasters were not immune from cuts. He claimed audiences became vocal when disappointed with editorial decisions because they held the ABC in such high esteem.
“It is a beloved part of the landscape.”