The decision of the ABC board to drop the Chris Masters investigation on broadcaster Alan Jones was a clear, political act. The ramifications are profound, not least the likelihood that the national broadcaster will be much more cautious in pursuing controversial and contentious work. Board interference is now a real possibility.
The Masters decision struck a personal note, as well. The Canberra Times reported on Saturday:
The proprietor of Australian Literary Management, Lyn Tranter, was appalled by the decision to stop ABC publication of Jonestown.
She said that last year she was in delicate negotiations about My Israel Question by Antony Loewenstein, to be published next month. The book, by a young Jewish writer, examines Zionism.
“It was very hard for me to decide between the ABC and MUP [Melbourne University Publishing].
“Thank God I went with MUP, what if the ABC board had come through and stymied it,” she said.
Ms Tranter was the agent for Dark Victory by David Marr and Marian Wilkinson, which was published by Allen & Unwin.
“They are fearless publishers,” she said.
“The ABC are going to be regarded by agents and authors as a publishing house renowned for Bananas in Pyjamas.”