About Us

Our Objectives

To support the maintenance and advancement of the Australian Broadcasting Corporation:

  • to fulfil to a high standard its role as an independent and comprehensive national public broadcaster
  • to be adequately funded by government to fulfil its role
  • to remain independent of government influence, commercial sponsorship and advertising
  • to promote Australian culture in all its diversity

Frequently Asked Questions

1. What is ABC Friends?

ABC Friends represents the community’s interest in its independent national public broadcaster. It comprises independent organisations which exist in each state and territory and work together in national campaigns.

2. Why is the ABC important?

In modern times, media is the gateway to information. It determines what the public will and will not know about all range of matters. Television, in particular, has a significant influence on our culture.

A healthy independent and comprehensive national public broadcaster is critical to Australian democracy and culture. The ABC’s independence – from political and commercial influence – enables it to report without fear or favour. The ABC’s responsibilities are to promote Australian culture and, as a comprehensive broadcaster, to cater for a diversity of interests in the community. Importantly, it broadcasts programs to other countries that encourage awareness of Australia.

3. What does ABC Friends do?

ABC Friends engages in a range of activities at national, state and local levels. These include: informing the public, communicating with Members of Parliament and media, presenting submissions to government reviews and inquiries, addressing public meetings, conducting rallies and publishing newsletters.

4. Is ABC Friends independent?

ABC Friends is politically unaligned. It works for the best interests of independent and comprehensive national public broadcasting, challenging governments of any political persuasion that attempt to dismantle or interfere in the ABC’s independence.

ABC Friends has members of many different political persuasions and none. The Hon Sir Rupert Hamer AC, KCMG, ED, former Liberal premier of Victoria was a president of ABC Friends, and the Hon John Cain, former Labor Victorian premier is a long-term member.

ABC Friends is independent of the ABC. It is a critical supporter, which speaks out on occasions it perceives the ABC’s management or governing board not to be acting in the best interests of public broadcasting.

5. How is ABC Friends funded?

ABC Friends earns its income from membership subscriptions, public donations and fundraising activities. It receives no government funding.

6. When did ABC Friends begin?

‘Aunty’s Nieces and Nephews’ was established in 1976 by a group of concerned Melbourne citizens in response to government threats to sharply cut the ABC’s budget. It later changed its name to ‘Friends of the ABC’ (FABC), and following a national conference in January 2014 became ‘ABC Friends’.

“The Friends were in the line of those people who had affirmed over the years that the ABC was essential to the nation”, wrote Professor Ken Inglis, the distinguished historian and author of the two-volume History of the ABC.

7. What has ABC Friends achieved?

ABC Friends has provided a focal point for defending the ABC’s independence from political interference, resisting commercial activities that risk the integrity of ABC programming and working for the public broadcaster to be adequately funded and to remain accessible to all Australians without direct cost.

ABC Friend’s efforts contributed significantly to outcomes that included:

  • Planned funding cuts of past governments of both major political persuasions were moderated.
  • The Rudd/Gillard Labor governments increased ABC funding to partially address the low level to which ABC Australian drama has fallen and fund new services, like an ad-free children’s television channel. They provided additional funding for News services.
  • Radio Australia (the ABC’s international radio service) was saved after the Howard Coalition government initially sought to close it.
  • The Mansfield Review – which was established by the Howard Coalition government to curtail the role of the ABC – received a staggering 10,615 submissions, almost all in support of the ABC.
  • The Rudd government introduced a new transparent and merit-based process for appointing members of the ABC Board, and it restored the staff-elected position to the ABC Board.
  • The Gillard government legislated for Australia’s international TV service to be retained as an ongoing service of the ABC.

8. How does ABC Friends operate?

In each state ABC Friends have an honorary committee of management which is elected each year at their AGMs. The Committees set policies and are responsible for the operations of the organisations, and its members are actively engaged in the activities of ABC Friends.

Following a National Conference in Adeleide in June 2015, a National Executive was established which consults on policy and operational matters.

The involvement of members and assistance of volunteers is also important in the operations of the organisation. ABC Friends has local groups and establishes special interest groups as the interest or need arises.

9. How can I help ABC Friends?

Join & Recruit – ABC Friends membership is open to all who support its objectives. Whether you want to be active or simply wish to express your support for the ABC, ABC Friends needs YOU. Only with a large membership can ABC Friends ensure it is heard by all politicians and has the resources to inform, educate and campaign for the ABC’s healthy future.

ABC Friends needs help with a huge range of activities. eg., fundraising; specialist skills, such as design, IT, writing and research; distributing flyers at events. If you have an idea and you can help, let us know.

Last Updated (August 2015)