Who are they, and what does it really mean?


As you may be aware, the friends of the ABC include a Canberra based group of ‘Parliamentary’ Friends of the ABC – that is, federal MPs and Senators who wish to acknowledge their friendship of the ABC. At latest advice there are some 45 registered members of that group, which is co-convened by Andrew Wilkie and Rebecca Sharkie.

So, what is this group and what does it do? Well whilst not obviously active (no marches or demonstrations), the group is clearly valuable as a platform to exchange information and lobby in support of the public broadcaster. It was wonderful to see several of the high profile "Teal Candidates" instantly join up.

It probably won’t be a surprise to see that the group is over 80% made up of:

  • ALP Party members 62%
  • Independents 20%

However, you might be surprised that there are more Liberal Party members (four) than Greens Party members (three)! But let’s take a closer look at those four Liberals who have joined the Parliamentary Friends of the ABC, and check their voting record on ABC issues.

  1. Sarah Henderson
    Has voted consistently for decreasing ABC and SBS funding – at least four times!
  2. Dean Smith
    Has voted almost always for decreasing ABC and SBS funding, as well as twice voting in favour of privatising the ABC!
  3. James Stevens
    No voting record.
  4. David Van
    Has voted consistently for decreasing ABC and SBS funding – at least four times!

Mmm, not very convincing is it.

Another surprising aspect of looking at the voting records, is that there are only ten members of the 2022 Parliamentary Friends who have any voting record on ABC issues. The other 35 members are either new or don’t appear to have taken any interest at all, at least as far as the voting records show.

The other interesting aspect is which parliamentarians haven’t joined the Parliamentary Friends in 2022. There is a long and impressive list of senior MPs and Senators who have in the past voted to protect ABC funding, and deny those trying to privatise it, that aren’t yet members of the Parliamentary Friends of the ABC.

We will need to continue to monitor the membership and activities of Parliamentary Friends, and the voting patterns of its members (and of those that are not members).

Membership List for Parliamentary Friends of the ABC

  • Andrew Wilkie MP – co-convenor
  • Rebekha Sharkie MP – co-convenor
  • Julian Hill MP
  • Carina Garland MP
  • Brian Mitchell MP
  • Senator Helen Polley
  • Sophie Scamps MP
  • Sally Sitou MP
  • Monique Ryan MP
  • Kate Chaney MP
  • Senator Jordan Steele-John
  • Louise Miller Frost MP
  • Steve Georganas MP
  • Zoe Daniel MP
  • Senator Raff Ciccone
  • Alicia Payne MP
  • James Stevens MP
  • Senator Dean Smith
  • Luke Gosling MP
  • Senator Sarah Henderson
  • Mike Freelander MP
  • Senator Marielle Smith
  • Josh Burns MP
  • Kristie McBain MP
  • Zaneta Mascarenhas MP
  • Tania Lawrence MP
  • Senator David Van
  • Allegra Spender MP
  • Senator Karen Grogan
  • Josh Wilson MP
  • Senator Deborah O’Neill
  • Michelle Ananda-Rajah MP
  • Senator Sarah Hanson-Young
  • Michelle Rowland MP
  • Helen Haines MP
  • Senator Nita Green
  • Graham Perrett MP
  • Andrew Leigh MP
  • Fiona Phillips MP
  • Senator Dorinda Cox
  • Kylea Tink MP
  • Zali Steggall MP
  • Senator Jess Walsh
  • Peter Khalil MP
  • Senator Catryna Bilyk

MPs who have generally and consistently voted in support of the ABC, yet who have not joined Parliamentary Friends in 2022

  • Tim Ayres (Assistant Minister for Trade)
  • Carol Brown (Assistant Minister for Infrastructure and Transport)
  • Anthony Chisholm (Assistant Minister for Regional Development)
  • Patrick Dodson (Chair of Joint Standing Committee on Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Affairs)
  • Don Farrell (Special Minister of State, Minister for Trade and Tourism, Deputy Leader of the Government in the Senate)
  • Katy Gallagher (Minister for Women, Minister for Finance, Minister for the Public Service, Manager of Government Business in the Senate, Vice-President of the Executive Council)
  • Nita Green (Chair of Legal and Constitutional Affairs Legislation Committee, Deputy Chair of Legal and Constitutional Affairs References Committee)
  • Sue Lines (Chair of Standing Committee on Appropriations, Staffing and Security, Deputy Chair of Joint Committee on the Broadcasting of Parliamentary Proceedings)
  • Jenny McAllister (Assistant Minister for Climate Change and Energy)
  • Malarndirri McCarthy (Assistant Minister for Indigenous Australians, Assistant Minister for Indigenous Health)
  • Louise Pratt (Deputy Government Whip in the Senate, Chair of Finance and Public Administration Legislation Committee, Deputy Chair of Finance and Public Administration References Committee)
  • Tony Sheldon (Chair of Education and Employment Legislation Committee, Deputy Chair of Education and Employment References Committee)
  • David Smith (Government Whip)
  • Glenn Sterle (Chair of Rural and Regional Affairs and Transport Legislation Committee, Deputy Chair of Rural and Regional Affairs and Transport References Committee)
  • Matt Thistlethwaite (Assistant Minister for Defence, Assistant Minister for Veterans’ Affairs, Assistant Minister for the Republic, Deputy Chair of Joint Select Committee on Road Safety)
  • Anne Urquhart (Government Whip in the Senate, Chair of Standing Committee for Selection of Bills)
  • Murray Watt (Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry, Minister for Emergency Management)
  • Penny Wong (Minister for Foreign Affairs, Leader of the Government in Senate)
  • Jacqui Lambie - Jacqui Lambie Network
  • Mehreen Faruqi – Australian Greens (Deputy Leader of the Australian Greens)
  • Nick McKim – Australian Greens (Australian Greens Whip)
  • Janet Rice – Australian Greens (Chair of Community Affairs References Committee, Deputy Chair of Community Affairs Legislation Committee)
  • Larissa Waters – Australian Greens (Leader of the Australian Greens in the Senate)
  • Peter Whish-Wilson – Australian Greens



Phil Evans


Gay man on the road in a ute with a dog named Zane, Also Consultant with Rhizomatic & @Actionskills (he/they)