ABC Friends is running two campaigns simultaneously at the moment. One is in Canberra, trying to influence the May budget to help the ABC. The other is in Aston, trying to ensure that whomever goes to Canberra is pro-ABC.
The Canberra campaign is old-fashioned lobbying by ABC Alumni and Friends, trying to spread the message that revival of the ABC needs more than indexation and 5 year funding. The shortfall from the past decade of cuts means that the ABC is teetering, with fewer quality programs. The government accepts that the ABC is an essential part of the arts and culture infrastructure, but now needs to accept what that means for its budget.
The Presidents of ABC Alumni and ABC Friends have been visiting leading independents, the Minister & Shadow Minister for Communications, the offices of the Minister for the Arts and Emergencies, and the Parliamentary Friends of the ABC. They have also written to the Treasurer and asked for numerous other appointments. We will see on budget night whether there has been any impact.
Meeting with lower house independents. L-R: Rebekha Sharkie (Mayo, SA), Alumni’s Jonathan Holmes, Allegra Spender (Wentworth, NSW), Alumni’s Quentin Dempster, Zoe Daniel (Goldstein, Vic), ABC Friends’ Michael Henry and Cassandra Parkinson, and Dr Monique Ryan (Kooyong, Vic).
The Aston campaign is a re-run of the election last May, and ABC Friends Eastern Group is in the thick of it. The pro-ABC messages on banners on highways and flyers at train stations are reinforced by social media posts targeted into the electorate. Candidates’ positions on the ABC are being compared to help voters choose. We are urging everyone to vote for candidates who are most likely to support the ABC.
If you are able and willing to help in either of these campaigns, please get in touch.
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