ABC ex-chair: 'no inappropriate behaviour'

Sacked ABC chief Michelle Guthrie claims the organisation's then-chairman inappropriately touched her a year ago.

Justin Milne emphatically denies the allegation and says the former managing director declined to make a formal complaint about the alleged incident at a board dinner in November 2017 in Sydney.

Ms Guthrie, who was fired in September halfway through her five-year-term, declined to give details of the alleged behaviour on ABC's Four Corners on Monday.

"I felt icky," she added. "It was unprofessional and inappropriate."

Mr Milne said an intermediary raised the claim with him before the board began a "preliminary investigation" and sent a board member to speak with her.

"I never, ever behaved in any inappropriate way with Michelle. I had no reason to whatsoever and I didn't," he told Four Corners.

The board denies Ms Guthrie's version of events - that she was encouraged to sort it out with Mr Milne or quit.

The program also revealed Ms Guthrie was rated extremely low on a range of professional criteria including integrity by senior colleagues in April.

But the former media lawyer and Google and Foxtel executive said she wasn't distressed as it was a personal development tool.

She is suing the ABC over her dismissal.

Ms Guthrie's contract stated the board could dismiss her "without cause."

Mr Milne quit days after Ms Guthrie's sacking after it was claimed he had asked her to sack two journalists because the federal government didn't like their reporting.

He told Four Corners the idea to sack chief economics correspondent Emma Alberici originated at management level, not at board level.

A communications department inquiry has since found there was no pressure from the coalition to the ABC to sack journalists.

Finance Minister Mathias Cormann reiterated there is no need for the ABC to "please the government".

"These are obviously conversations that allegedly took place between the former chair and the former managing director," he told ABC TV on Tuesday.

"These were not conversations that we were part of in any way."

The broadcaster's board members will be called to front a Senate inquiry which is looking into allegations of political interference at the ABC, Greens senator Sarah Hanson-Young said.

The senator renewed her calls for remaining board members to be sacked and replaced with candidates who have been independently vetted.

Opposition Leader Bill Shorten says politics and the broadcaster don't mix, pledging a more transparent process for board appointments if Labor wins government.

Australian Associated Press