Ita Buttrose on Australian Story
Ita Buttrose on Australian Story (image - ABC)

Ita Buttrose reflects on life in the media on Australian Story

Leaning In: Ita Buttrose

Introduced by Asher Keddie.

As the ABC’s 90th year draws to a close, Chair Ita Buttrose reflects on a life in the media spotlight and how six decades as a pioneering female journalist and magazine editor helped prepare her for one of the ABC’s toughest jobs.

When Scott Morrison invited Ita Buttrose to chair the ABC in 2019 it came as a complete surprise. But she quickly concluded it was a welcome opportunity.

“I see what my whole career has been about. It’s been leading me to this job because I thought everything I’ve ever done in my career has equipped me to be the chair of the ABC,” she says.

Inspired by her journalist father Charles, Ita left school at 15 to seek a career in print journalism, beginning as a copy girl on the Australian Women’s Weekly.  

She moved quickly into leadership roles and had her first major success at 30 as founding editor of Cleo magazine, pushing the editorial boundaries of the time.

Juggling motherhood and difficult bosses, Ita smashed her share of glass ceilings and was Australian of the Year in 2013.

Taking over as chair of the ABC, she found an organisation in some upheaval. There would be difficult days ahead as the Australian Federal Police raided the organisation and the ABC’s journalism clashed with the government of the day.

“I think there was a perception that despite all her experience, Ita was simply there really as the crowning act of a very successful media career. She proved all those who judged her in advance quite wrong about how active she was going to be,” says Bernard Keane, Crikey’s political correspondent

AUSTRALIAN STORYMonday 28 November at 8pm on ABC TV and ABC iview

Media Release – ABC

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