Janet Albrechtsen frontrunner for position to nominate ABC and SBS board members

Conservative commentator Janet Albrechtsen has emerged as a frontunner for an influential position overseeing appointments to the ABC and SBS boards.

The four-person nomination panel, which is appointed by the Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet, currently has two vacancies.

Under the merit-based board appointment process introduced by Labor in 2011, the nomination panel provides the government with a shortlist of around three candidates for vacant board positions. SBS currently has two vacant board positions - including the position of chairman - and the ABC has one vacant position.

Ms Albrechtsen, a columnist with The Australian, confirmed she had been in discussions about the role but said: ''Nothing has been finalised.''

Ms Albrechtsen, who regularly criticises the ABC for alleged bias in her columns, was a member of the ABC board from 2005 to 2010 after being appointed by the Howard government.

The terms of the other two nomination panel members, businessman David Gonski and former diplomat Ric Smith, expire next year.

ABC Friends spokeswoman Glenys Stradijot said: ''It is extremely disturbing that someone who is so clearly partisan and a strident opponent of the ABC should even be considered for the position. If she was to be appointed, it would totally undermine the integrity of the ABC board appointment process.''

A spokesman for Communications Minister Malcolm Turnbull referred questions to the Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet.

A spokesman from the department did not respond to questions.

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