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Apr 1, 2014

Political appointments: Mirabella to chair SBS board, Akerman joins

Tony Abbott has made two political appointments to the SBS, with ex-minister Sophie Mirabella to chair the board that will now include News Corporation columnist Piers Akerman.

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Ousted Liberal MP Sophie Mirabella will replace Joseph Skrzynski as chair of multicultural broadcaster SBS, the government announced today.

Skrzynski’s term ended last week, following a failed effort by Communications Minister Malcolm Turnbull to renew his term. Turnbull was overruled by Prime Minister Tony Abbott’s office. Abbott said in a statement this morning:

“Ms Mirabella will bring excellent management skills as well as a strong multicultural background to the broadcaster. Her career in politics demonstrated an excellent capacity to connect effectively with communities, and this skill will be invaluable in her new role as chair of the SBS board.”

Also joining the board will be News Corporation columnist Piers Akerman. Akerman follows in the footsteps of another News Corp writer, the late Christopher Pearson, an Abbott mentor who was appointed to the SBS board by the Howard government in 2003. The PM said:

“Piers brings decades of media experience at the most senior levels to the position and will substantially enhance the SBS board’s media expertise. He has also written extensively on multicultural issues.”

In a statement this morning, Mirabella expressed delight at the appointment, saying she was “looking forward to the challenge of leading Australia’s pre-eminent ethnic broadcaster”:

“Unlike other public broadcasters, I know SBS always puts Australia first, just as the migrant communities it serves have put Australia first in deciding where to live. At the same time, my experience in the Industry portfolio has given me insights into how to wean companies dependent on government assistance off their reliance on taxpayers.”

Akerman stated that he was looking forward to the “colour and movement” of the role and believed he had appropriate qualifications:

“I think even my critics would accept that I’m a well-known champion of South American products, for instance.”

Akerman went on to accuse several senior Labor Party figures of corruption and call for their jailing.

The appointments take effect from today, April 1.

Bernard Keane — Politics Editor

Bernard Keane

Politics Editor

Bernard Keane is Crikey’s political editor. Before that he was Crikey’s Canberra press gallery correspondent, covering politics, national security and economics.

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23 comments

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23 thoughts on “Political appointments: Mirabella to chair SBS board, Akerman joins

  1. Margaret Ludowyk

    Whew – I was starting to write my enraged letter …

  2. Margaret Ludowyk

    Please tell me this is an April Fool’s Day joke.

  3. leon knight

    Crikey Crikey, this sucked me in a treat too…what a horrifying thought it was – good one.!!
    Like others here, I am worried that this joke could give the Mad Monk ideas, I bet Peta would love nothing more than to match Mirabella and Akerman in positions of propaganda power.

  4. Rod Hagen

    Don’t give ’em ideas, even on April 1! Way too plausible, this one.

  5. MAC TEZ

    I know that feeling all too well Khupert. Although I’ve felt that way for about 18 months,particularly the past 6.

  6. Khupert the Runt

    Oh dear.

    The thing that’s troubling me today is that all the political stories could be April Fools. Federal politics is increasingly surreal and ridiculous. For me its been feeling like April 1st for many weeks now.

  7. Nigel Stanley

    I have been had. I have no defence except utter disbelief in this government which leaves me dangerously open to being scammed.

  8. John Taylor

    That so many people, including on FB, were taken in by this is gives us pause and reason to wonder why Nigerian scams are so successful on our Antipodean shores…..

  9. Notburga Pilgrim

    Good one Bernard! I was sucked in completely. To me this is believable given Abbott’s poor judgement. Be careful though, Bernard because he might just start thinking you have a good idea here.

  10. Steve777

    OK Bernard – I was sucked in, as a quick check of the SBS site reveals. But you have to admit with with Tony Abbott the story is entirely playsible, especially given the way John Howard stacked the ABC Board and the recent appointment of IPA functionary Tim Wilson as Human Rights Commissioner. I thought the reinstatement of Knights and Dames might have been an early April Fools joke. Quite frankly a couple of weeks ago you could have written that Piers Akerman had been appointed GG and many would have believed you.

  11. clubhouse@chalambar

    Appointing myrmidons to wreck from within: the go to tactic of this “government”.

  12. cairns50

    this has got to be an april fools day joke right?

    if not it is a disgrace

  13. Nigel Stanley

    How depressing. Two more wreckers foisted into sensitive positions.

  14. mark leo

    honestly that’s cruel…my wife works for SBS and it’s run on the smell of an oily rag as it is…

  15. Dan Gulberry

    [Her career in politics demonstrated an excellent capacity to connect effectively with communities]

    ROFLMAO

  16. Steve777

    An incoming Labor Government should sack both Mirabella and Akerman as one of its first actions. Piers Akerman has been positively hostile to public broadcasting and to multiculturalism over the decades. Why would any government appoint him to the SBS unless it was part of a plan to weaken and destroy it from within.

  17. Aka

    South american products? This appointment is going to get up a lot of people’s noses.

  18. MuslimGal

    hahaha. good joke for the day!

  19. arnold ziffel

    chillingly plausible!

  20. philipb20

    Had me for a moment with Sophie but Piers a step too far.

  21. David Ritchie

    haha…good one!

  22. billie

    Ha ha April Fool! [I hope]

  23. The_roth

    Lol Piers what Sth Aerican products would that be?

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