Media personality and former magazine editor Ita Buttrose is poised to be named the chair of the ABC, according to reports.

The appointment of the 77-year-old would bring to close a troubled period for the corporation following the rancorous exit of the previous chairman Justin Milne and managing director Michelle Guthrie six months ago.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison described Ms Buttrose as an “extraordinary Australian”.

“There have been few people more than Ita that I think have lifted the standards of journalism in this country,” he told ABC News on Monday.

“That says a lot about her character and her abilities.”

Communications Minister Mitch Fifield is expected to bring the matter to cabinet this week.

His spokesman said no decision had yet been taken but the public could expect an announcement “in due course”.


If Ms Buttrose is selected, it would make the 2013 Australian of the Year only the second woman to head the ABC since Dame Leonie Kramer in the early 1980s.

Ms Buttrose was not on the shortlist compiled by an independent panel, but could be nominated by the government. This has raised the ire of Paul Barry, host of ABC’s Media Watch.

“Seriously? Is the government really going to ignore the selection panel’s advice AGAIN and appoint Ita Buttrose to ABC chair, when she’s not even on the short list?” he tweeted.

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