The Abbott government has appointed conservative commentator Janet Albrechtsen and former deputy Liberal Party leader Neil Brown to the panel overseeing appointments to the boards of the ABC and SBS.
The four-person nomination panel, which is appointed by the Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet, presents a shortlist of recommendations to the government when vacant ABC and SBS board positions arise.
Dr Albrechtsen and Mr Brown will serve alongside businessman David Gonski and former diplomat Ric Smith, whose terms expire next year.
Labor introduced a merit-based appointment process in 2011, which was aimed at depoliticising the ABC and SBS boards.
SBS has two vacant board positions – including the position of chairman – and the ABC has one vacant position.
Dr Albrechtsen, a columnist for The Australian and former lawyer, has previously derided the ABC as a “Soviet-style workers collective”.
She was appointed to the ABC board by the Howard government and she served on it from 2005 to 2010.
In November, Dr Albrechtsen called for ABC managing director Mark Scott to resign for airing stories based on documents provided by whistleblower Edward Snowden about Australian intelligence operations in Indonesia.
Mr Brown, a former Victorian Liberal MP, served as deputy Liberal leader under John Howard in opposition and as the communications minister and minister for business and consumer affairs in the Fraser government.