Warning against jobs for boys
Knowledge required: Communications Minister Malcolm Turnbull. Picture; AAP

Communications Minister Malcolm Turnbull has warned people should not be appointed to government boards simply because they hold partisan political views.

The comments come after two conservative columnists were recruited to a board advising on appointments at the ABC and SBS. The warning also comes after Abbott Government appointments of former Liberal MPs to taxpayer-funded jobs.

Mr Turnbull confirmed yesterday he had no say in the choice of former Liberal Party deputy leader and contributor to Spectator Australia Neil Brown and columnist for the Australian Janet Albrechtsen to the panel overseeing top jobs at the public broadcasters.

Mr Turnbull said the appointments process had been set up by the previous Labor government, so appointees to the panel would be nominated by the Secretary to the Prime Minister's Department - currently veteran bureaucrat Ian Watt.

Asked if he assumed Tony Abbott was consulted about the appointments, Mr Turnbull said: "I don't assume anything. I assume these appointments were chosen by Dr Watt. You can always speak to him. I am sure he would be happy to take your call."

He said it was "critical" those appointed to government boards had corporate and business experience.

"If you want the board to be effective then you have to have people who are capable of performing the role of director," Mr Turnbull said. "And simply appointing people who have one political view or another, one social view or another, is not enough."

Mr Turnbull also disputed recent comments from Mr Brown suggesting the ABC was becoming commercial.

"Contrary to what Neil Brown says, the ABC's commercial revenues are negligible," Mr Turnbull said.

Mr Brown said this week there was much waste of money at the ABC and if it were up to him he would sell off the public broadcaster and start again.

Albrechtsen has editorialised, frequently calling for the resignation of current ABC managing director Mark Scott.

Since coming to power, the Abbott Government has appointed former Liberal MP Sophie Mirabella to the board of the Australian Submarine Corporation - even though she had little defence industry experience.

Former Queensland Liberal MP turned right-wing shock-jock Gary Hardgrave was last month named administrator of Norfolk Island and Howard government ministers Alexander Downer and Nick Minchin have been handed plum diplomatic roles.

Mr Downer was dispatched as High Commissioner to Britain and Mr Minchin was made consul-general in New York.

The West Australian

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