Senator Eric Abetz

Liberal Senator for Tasmania

SBS Chief Executive must explain political activism

The Chief Executive Officer of the taxpayer funded SBS must explain why he has both signed and defended a political activism letter to the Prime Minister and whether his actions have breached the SBS’s policies and editorial independence.

Mr Michael Ebeid, CEO of the SBS, is one of 30 self-described “business, industry and community leaders” to have written to the Prime Minister urging him to breach an election commitment to allow the Australian people themselves to determine whether to change the definition of marriage. Not only is he publically endorsing Labor/Green policy but also opposing Coalition policy. Mr Ebeid is also quoted on BuzzFeed as having responded to Minister Dutton’s sensible comments.

“Mr Ebeid is a highly paid public official charged with running one of our supposedly independent national broadcasters. For him to involve himself in a highly political debate on a topic such as marriage is both highly inappropriate and may contradict some of the broadcaster’s own policies,” Senator Abetz said today.

“This kind of political activism is clearly out of step with the SBS’s charter and breaches the SBS’s editorial independence on reporting on this highly political issue.”

“For the SBS to represent itself as a private company, let alone to find time to engage in political debates raises serious questions about the SBS’s culture and its CEO’s priorities,” Senator Abetz concluded.

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