Built on integrity and powered by creativity, MEAA is the largest and most established union and industry advocate for Australia’s creative professionals.
Focused on the future, MEAA is a thought leader and driver of change. A strong and passionate advocate for its members, MEAA also connects and creates new opportunities on their behalf.
MEAA is evolving to meet the changing needs of the creative professionals of Australia, and it won’t stop until it provides the best and most relevant services possible.
MEAA was registered on May 18 1992 as the Media, Entertainment & Arts Alliance, formed from the merger of three organisations: the Australian Journalists Association, Actors Equity of Australia, and the Australian Theatrical & Amusement Employees Association. The history of these unions goes back to the early days of the twentieth century, and the current structure of MEAA reflects those origins. In 2006, a fourth section was created with the incorporation of the Symphony Orchestra Musicians Association (SOMA).
Our members include people working in TV, radio, theatre & film, entertainment venues, recreation grounds, journalists, actors, dancers, sportspeople, cartoonists, photographers, orchestral and opera performers as well as people working in public relations, advertising, book publishing and website production… in fact everyone who works in the industries that inform or entertain.
MEAA is affiliated internationally to the International Federation of Journalists (IFJ); the International Federation of Actors (FIA); the International Federation of Musicians (FIM); the global union representing workers in the media, entertainment, arts and sports sectors (UNI-MEI); the International Freedom of Expression Exchange (IFEX) and the International News Safety Institute (INSI).
In Australia, MEAA is a member of the Australian Press Council, the Australian Copyright Council, and the Australia’s Right To Know media industry lobbying group.
MEAA (except the MEAA Media section) is affiliated with the Australian Council of Trade Unions (ACTU) and the New Zealand Council of Trade Unions (NZCTU).
MEAA (except the MEAA Media section in Queensland, South Australia, Western Australia and Victoria) is affiliated with all state and territory Labour Councils.
MEAA (except the MEAA Media section and the MEAA SOMA section) is affiliated with the Australian Labor Party (ALP) in New South Wales.
MEAA is also a member of Union Aid Abroad-APHEDA.
For decades MEAA has been the union for people working across the arts, entertainment, sports, outdoor, music and events industries – those behind the scenes and on centre stage. We look after the interests of a huge variety of members; screen technicians, professional basketball players, costume designers, make-up artists, sound engineers, ushers, venue event staff, broadcast technicians, animators, live performance crew – to name just a few. As the largest and most established union and industry advocate for creative professionals, we successfully campaign on major issues, fight for our members’ rights at work, workplace health and safety, and protecting wages and conditions.
“Since joining MEAA many, many years ago, I’ve been actively involved with the NSW Branch Council and the various screen technician committees and seen all the amazing work that goes on behind the scenes. I’m very proud to be a member when I’m so well represented and supported by the MEAA staff.” Jenny Ward is a freelance sound editor.
“I believe in the ideals of the union – my father did, my grandfather did, and so did my great grandfather. Individually we are weak, collectively we are strong.” Scott Smith is a head follow spot and theatre lighting technician.
“I’m proud to represent my colleagues and friends as a delegate, and I encourage all folks new and old to the industry to join the union. It’s how we make our voice heard.” Sophie Parker is a theatre service technician at Sydney Opera House and freelance lighting designer.
“It’s great to see the union keeping pace with the changes to our industry. Membership is on the rise because technicians can see the need and benefits of representation in a changing work environment. I encourage everyone to get involved and be part of positive future.” Arthur Spink is a special effects workshop supervisor.
Actors Equity is the home of Australia’s and New Zealand’s professional performers. For more than 75 years Equity has been protecting and improving performers’ working conditions, lobbying and campaigning to improve the industries in which they work, hosting industry events, awarding excellence, providing professional development and protecting job opportunities . As a MEAA Equity member you will be joining a long and proud history of professional performers coming together to better their careers and their industry. You will have access to a range of excellent masterclasses, workshops and other professional development opportunities run by the Equity Foundation. Being a performer is not a hobby. It’s a profession.
“Having joined Equity the moment I graduated, I have enjoyed a decade of secure wages and work conditions for my acting work in ALL mediums. They have even gone into legal battle for me twice and won!” Amanda Bishop is an actress, singer, and comedian.
“As a proud member since 2001 I am so grateful for the support MEAA has shown me. The benefits have ranged from cheap movie tickets to having free legal advice! It’s wonderful to feel a part of the greater performing arts community through this very cohesive alliance.” Amber Scott is a principal dancer with The Australian Ballet.
“In a notoriously insecure profession, Equity empowers us to negotiate for fairer terms and protect our existing conditions. Membership is an investment in our collective future and is a great safeguard and resource for any member.” Kat Stewart is an actor and producer.
“Equity exists to preserve and fight for our rights in what is a very unique and constantly changing industry. For that alone, it is worth being a member. For me, Actor’s Equity is about belonging to an organisation which takes an active interest in the direction of the arts in this country.” Eddie Perfect is a comedian, satirist, composer and actor.
“I’m an Equity member is because I believe in upholding and maintaining the conditions put in place by the members before me, as well as bettering the conditions for the future of the industry.” Darko Tuskan is a stunt co-ordinator, safety supervisor, stunt actor and the chair of Equity’s National Stunt Committee.
“Equity is an open door into the industry. They take our immediate needs and concerns and action them on our behalf, in a way we could never achieve as individuals.” Pearl Tan is the founder of Pearly Productions, an actor and former co-chair of the Equity Diversity Committee.
MEAA Media is the union and industry advocate for Australia’s media professionals. Founded on December 10 1910 in Melbourne and originally known as the Australian Journalists Association (AJA), MEAA Media has a long and proud history of:
As a MEAA Media member you are part of a vibrant, active and independent professional association bringing the people who work in the media industry together under a single banner.
“I’m a member because – now, more than ever – journalists need to back each other and use this unity to keep our craft strong and independent. When I have needed help, the union’s been there for me.” Nick McKenzie is a multi-Walkley Award winner and investigative reporter for The Age and The Sydney Morning Herald and occasional reporter for 60 Minutes.
“To me, union means supporting one another in good times and bad. It means speaking out clearly on our ethics as an industry.” Anton Enus, a broadcast journalist with more than 25 years’ experience, has been presenting SBS World News bulletins since 1999.
“I’m positive about journalism’s future. For me, that means helping structure that future. Which means being part of the union.” Richard Glover is a Fairfax columnist, ABC presenter and secretary of the NSW Journalists’ Benevolent Fund.
“Being an MEAA member strengthens my brand as a freelancer: by agreeing to abide by the MEAA’s code of ethics I can demonstrate to publishers and readers that I’m committed to quality and honesty.” Paula Matthewson is a freelance journalist.
The MEAA musicians section represents Australia’s professional musicians. This includes SOMA (Symphony Orchestra Musician Association), Musicians Australia (for freelance musicians) and TOMA (Theatre Orchestra Musicians Association). The MEAA musicians section aims to protect and develop the pay, conditions and professional interest of its members. MEAA campaigns on workplace health and safety, superannuation, building a sustainable industry, building industry-wide standards for minimum rates as well as promoting the cultural and economic significance of music and musicians in our culture.
“Being a member of MEAA means I’m connected to like-minded people who care about contributing to a fair and effective work environment.” Tania Hardy Smith is a member of Orchestra Victoria.
“Being a MEAA member gives us all a voice in improving our workplace, and access to excellent professional and legal advice when needed.” Cameron Brook is a member of the West Australian Symphony Orchestra and Federal President of the MEAA Musicians Section.