Ita Buttrose: “Don’t be so sensitive, everybody.”

Ita Buttrose has a message for ABC employees who took issue with her recent comments about “sensitive” staff.

Speaking to One Plus One, the ABC Chair told Jane Hutcheon, “I think we do have a lot of people at the ABC who are extremely talented. And they’re quite dogmatic and some of them are set in their ways. There’s nothing wrong with that.

“Why wouldn’t we be sensitive? We’re creative people. Creative people are sensitive people. When I was writing stories if somebody said to me ‘God, your writing’s gone off,’ that could crush me to a smithereen.”

But when Hutcheon suggested some ABC staff felt the remarks were judgmental, Buttrose wouldn’t hear of it.

“Oh rubbish. I’ve worked in the industry my whole life. Don’t be so sensitive, everybody.”

Buttrose was also asked if PM Scott Morrison attached any conditions to her appointment as ABC Chair including hiring specific conservative voices?

“He didn’t say I think we should have more Andrew Bolts or Miranda Devines?” asked Hutcheon.

“No. Certainly not. I would’t expect him to have that kind of conversation with me. He’d know that I wouldn’t even entertain that kind of conversation,” Buttrose replied.

“I hadn’t really thought about who we might transfer across here. I certainly hadn’t thought that Andrew would be a great fit for the ABC. If he applies for a job then we’ll consider him like we do everybody else. But it’s not for me to decide, it would be up to the managing director to decide if Andrew would make a great fit for our team.

“I’m sure he’s quite happy where he is. So there are no job offers for Andrew. Sorry, Andrew.”

She added, “I think we all know what we mean about diverse views. That’s as many views as is possible on the ABC. People who are Australian, British, Chinese, Middle Eastern. Diversity covers a lot.

“When you look at the playground you can really see how culturally diverse we are in our country. That’s the kind of Australia we have to reflect on the ABC.”

Buttrose, who expressed an interest in 2 terms as Chair, also flagged cost-cutting measures without impacting on employee numbers.

“We own a lot of property. We have a very big property here at Ultimo. We could probably consider renting out some of it. There are all sorts of possibilities.”

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