ABC Friends News

MEETING WITH MICHELLE GUTHRIE – ABC FRIENDS

MEDIA RELEASE

JULY 29th, 2016

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A Senior Delegation of ABC Friends National representatives has met with the new ABC Managing Director, Michelle Guthrie, to outline the non-profit organisation’s strategy to support the ABC as it manages a declining budget and grapples with an ever-changing  media climate.
ABC Friends Tasmanian President Margaret Reynolds, Victoria President Graeme Connelly, and National Campaign Director Ranald Macdonald, met with Ms Guthrie in Melbourne.

The delegation emphasised that the ABC has very strong community support – as illustrated by the huge public response to the Friends’ recent election campaign – and all efforts will be made by the national organisation to ensure that is reflected in government policy.

The ABC has a special responsibility as an independent voice nationally and indeed its role in the Asia Pacific Region must be strengthened.

Mr Macdonald, a former Managing Director of The Age and ABC Broadcaster, said the delegation told Ms Guthrie that The Friends would continue to lobby for the restoration of ABC funding, including the re-introduction oft the Australia Network.
“The considerable impact the Friends’ national campaign had during the election in bringing the ABC cuts to the attention of all sent a clear message to our politicians is the widespread support the ABC enjoys nationally,” He said.
Victoria State President Greame Connolly emphasised the need to improve the ABC’s foreign coverage, and the need to re-build overseas broadcasting so as to present our nation to its northern neighbours.

Margaret Reynolds, a former Senator and Government Minister, said she very much welcomed Ms Guthrie’s commitment to new ideas for expanding local Australian content and promoting greater diversity within the organisation.

“It was emphasised that regional services are an essential feature of the ABC’s charter so Sydney-based decision making must be streamlined to be more inclusive of community priorities,” she said.

ABC Friends looks forward to collaborating with Ms Guthrie and her staff to ensure the ABC is able develop high standards of innovation in responding to the challenges ahead, but we recognise most of those challenges will only be met by a restoration of funding levels.

 

For further comment please contact: Ranald Macdonald 0424 545 516 or Margaret Reynolds 0418 181 843