Tracey Holmes has revealed why she is departing the ABC months after her high-profile husband Stan Grant left the national broadcaster.
The senior journalist, whose career in sports journalism spans five decades, abruptly called time on the ABC in late October, announcing on social media she had resigned from the national broadcaster and would leave on November 30.
The move comes just months after her husband, Stan Grant, departed the broadcaster, saying he was ‘walking away’ after copping racial abuse from readers and accusing the ABC of ‘institutional failure’ for not offering him support.
Holmes revealed she was leaving the ABC admitting her ‘time’s up’, accused the national broadcaster of losing its backbone and being ‘agenda driven’, and revealing she had already tried to leave it before earlier in the year.
She claimed she found it difficult to report on some of her stories as the industry had become overrun by ‘systems and processes and admin’ as well as ‘box-ticking’.
Tracey Holmes (left) announced last month she was departing the ABC after more than 30 years, just months after her husband, Stan Grant (right) left the broadcaster
Holmes said it was getting ‘harder and harder’ to tell the stories she wants at the ABC and that the broadcaster had lost its ‘strength’
‘There are stories I want to continue telling. And it’s getting harder and harder to tell them,’ she told the Sydney Morning Herald.
‘I’m interested in talking to people of the world and telling their stories so that we can all understand each other a little bit better.
‘And I’m most interested in the role that sport plays in that prism,’ she said.
When asked by why has the ABC fallen from fifth most trusted brand in Australia to 18th in the last four years, Holmes said there ‘used to be a strength at the ABC’.
‘There was a backbone of strength where journalists would be able to go and tell uncomfortable stories, but it’s been watered down and weakened to such a point where they won’t… they don’t want to go there,’ she said.
‘And I think that that’s an absolute shame’.
Holmes said many stories she had reported on had never seen the light of day after they were spiked by the national broadcaster.
‘And I have argued strongly that the way they decide some of these things appears to be agenda-driven. And I don’t want to play any part in any agenda,’ she said.
‘And I actually think the ABC has a responsibility not to be beholden to agendas, or to be beholden to the loudest people in the room, or the loudest critics that will criticise anyway, so you might as well stand up and tell the stories.’
The TV and radio anchor said she would continue her career as a journalist elsewhere.
Holmes said she was leaving the ABC ‘for a number of very complex reasons’.
Stan Grant accused the ABC of lacking ‘moral courage’ in defending him against racism
‘Not the least of which was the treatment of my husband, not once but twice over a three-month period,’ she said.
‘Basically, it made it untenable for me to stay’.
Holmes said she resigned from the ABC back in January but ‘was talked out of it’.
‘I stayed and did the FIFA Women’s World Cup. Then I took a break. And then there was the second attack on my husband while we were out of the country, [about Stan’s time at the ABC], which was based on absolute lies,’ she said.
Holmes said she called the ABC and asked: ‘Are you going to try and correct the record?’ but the broadcaster refused.
‘And so I realised: “how can I walk back into that place?”‘ she said.
‘That’s not a criticism of the entire ABC and all the people there. Because I still think there’s a lot of great work. But it’s not the ABC it was, and I hope it finds its way back’.
Holmes first announced she would be stepping down from the national broadcaster on social media platform X in October.
‘Paris 2024 beckons. It will be my 14th Olympic Games as a journalist/reporter/broadcaster,’ she wrote.
‘This coming Olympics though, it will not be for the ABC since I have resigned and will finish on November 30.’
Grant announced he was stepping down from his role as host of Q+A in May, before leaving the ABC entirely in August.
Holmes said she was leaving the national broadcaster ‘for a number of very complex reasons’
He left in bitter circumstances, accusing the national broadcaster of lacking ‘moral courage’ in defending him against racism.
‘In my case, ABC management knew the truth and stood by as Murdoch media smeared me this week and no one raised their voice,’ he told The Age in August.
‘They did the same thing after I was pilloried and my family was threatened following the King’s coronation coverage.
‘The ABC has admitted its failure, but it has done nothing. As I have experienced yet again, ABC management does not have the moral courage to defend its people when they are subject to vicious attack.’
Homes began working at the ABC in 1989 and had several stints over the following decades, notably as Australia’s first female host of sports program, Grandstand.