ABC has apologised to the Camp Gallipoli Foundation and its Chief Executive Officer, Christopher Fox following a broadcast of Tonightly with Tom Ballard in April.
Camp Gallipoli hosts a nationwide sleep out under the stars on the morning of ANZAC Day.
In the Tonightly episode Tom Ballard suggested the concept was a poorly conceived plan that ballooned into a costly failure.
ABC has issued the following statement:
The ABC wishes to clarify that, although the objects of the Camp Gallipoli Foundation included “to use the surplus from the Camp Gallipoli commemorative events to support RSL branches and Legacy Clubs”, most of its other objects did not concern fundraising.
Whilst the Camp Gallipoli Foundation did not make a distribution of funds to the RSL and/or Legacy Clubs in the years 2015 and 2016, Mr Fox has told the ABC that the Camp Gallipoli Foundation did deliver on its other objectives, namely:
a) to ensure the preservation of the memory and honour of those who suffered and died in all theatres of war commencing from the Gallipoli landing in the First World War, through the Camp Gallipoli commemorative events;
b) to bring together communities from varying backgrounds, cultures, and locations to celebrate the ANZAC spirit;
c) to encourage families and school communities to come together to honour and ensure the ANZAC spirit lives on; and
d) to educate and reinforce the ANZAC spirit to our youth.
The ABC accepts that it did not have a proper basis to suggest that Mr Fox acted improperly in his role as CEO of the Camp Gallipoli Foundation and regrets and unreservedly withdraws the statement made by Mr Ballard that the Camp Gallipoli concept was a poorly conceived plan that ballooned into a costly and devastating failure thanks to the greed and hubris of those in command.
The ABC unreservedly apologises to Mr Fox for the embarrassment and distress caused to him by reason of the broadcast.
Acting Managing Director David Anderson this week told a Senate Estimates Committee he made the call to axe Tonightly due to the costs involved.
He previously apologised to Australian Conservatives candidate Kevin Bailey after he was referred to “as a c***”. ABC was later cleared of complaints to the Australian Communications and Media Authority.