One complaint made by minister about ABC

The media watchdog found coarse language on Tom Ballard's former show was editorially justified.
The media watchdog found coarse language on Tom Ballard's former show was editorially justified.

Australia's media watchdog has only ever received one complaint from a communications minister about content on the ABC, answers to the Senate reveal.

A segment aired on the since-cancelled program Tonightly with Tom Ballard last March landed the broadcaster in hot water with Communications Minister Mitch Fifield for using coarse language directed at an Australian Conservatives party candidate.

Acting on the first complaint of its kind since its inception in 2005, the Australian Communications and Media Authority found the coarse language was offensive but editorially justified and acceptable within a MA15+ classification.

ACMA's finding was published online just four days before the ABC announced in August it would not continue the show.

The national broadcaster's political independence came under question last year during the fallout of the sacking of managing director Michelle Guthrie.

Former ABC chairman Justin Milne quit the national broadcaster soon after in September, after it was revealed he pressured Ms Guthrie to sack two senior journalists because the government didn't like them.

However, then-prime minister Malcolm Turnbull says he never told anyone at the ABC to sack journalists over stories he didn't like.

Australian Associated Press