Howard dismisses ABC privatisation calls

Tom Rabe

The 'grandfather' of the Australian Liberal Party, John Howard, has dismissed calls to privatise the ABC just weeks after the party's membership voted for the public broadcaster to be sold off.

The former prime minister said on Tuesday night the ABC should remain publicly funded.

"I actually do support having a publicly funded broadcaster," Mr Howard told the Centre for Independent Studies in Sydney.

"I think the ABC needs greater balance but I don't think the solution is to abolish or privatise the ABC."

Liberal party members voted for a motion calling on the government to privatise the ABC, except in regional areas, at the party's federal council in June.

The vote forced Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull to promise the public broadcaster would never be sold off days later.