Thursday, October 19th, 2017 #MakeItAustralian #MEAAECS #MEAAEquity Campaigns News
MEAA Online

The MEAA group who went to Canberra.

Members from MEAA’s Equity and Entertainment, Crew & Sports sections have led a high-profile group of TV and industry workers to Canberra to directly lobby politicians to support the industry’s future.

Actors Bryan Brown, Sigrid Thornton, Sean Keenan, and Matt Day, actor-director-writer Leah Purcell, special effects guru Dan Oliver, Oscar-winning sound technician Ben Osmo and production designer Fiona Donovan were part of the delegation that visited Parliament House on Wednesday, October 18.

Others in the group included directors Gillian Armstrong and Peter Duncan, writer Katherine Thomson, Oscar-winning cinematographer John Seale, producers Penny Chapman and Michael Tear, and film composers.

The Canberra visit was the next step in the Make It Australian campaign, which has been put together to push for reforms to ensure Australia has a sustainable screen industry well into the future.

The campaign has brought together the Australian Directors’ Guild, Australian Writers’ Guild, Media, Entertainment & Arts Alliance and Screen Producers Australia as well as members of the Australian Screen Industry Group to push for reforms and government support to ensure the sector’s sustainability into the future. It was launched nationally last month and nearly a thousand Australians attended launch events in Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, Perth, Adelaide and Hobart.

The four organisations have combined forces to fight for:

•  reform of local content rules to include the burgeoning digital platforms, including streaming video on demand;
•  the restoration of funding to public broadcasters and Screen Australia, who commission a significant proportion of local comedy and drama; and
•  the modernisation of our production incentives to make them globally competitive at all levels.

The four groups are also determined to fight any attempts by free–to-air commercial networks to reduce drama production and walk away from original children’s programming altogether.

The new campaign comes as the House of Representatives and the Department of Communications, Screen Australia and the Australian Communications and Media Authority are conducting reviews which could have far-reaching implications for the industry.

“The aim of today’s delegation is for politicians to hear directly from people working in film and television about the importance of supporting an industry that is of immeasurable cultural significance,” said Paul Murphy, chief executive officer of the Media, Entertainment & Arts Alliance, the union which represents performers and screen crew.

“Without real leadership from government to recognise how viewing patterns are changing and to properly support local production, our screens, both big and small, are in danger of being flooded with voices in American and British accents.”

The group met with the Minister for Communications and the Arts, Mitch Fifield, Opposition leader Bill Shorten and members of his front bench, the Greens and several cross-bench Senators, and also hosted a function in Parliament House to which all MPs were invited.

Each MP who was visited was presented with a large copy of a poster containing hundreds of selfies contributed by campaign supporters since the launch in September.

You can take action to support the campaign here.

What do you want to say?

Here are some suggestions about the kinds of things you might want to include in your submission:
  • What is the media like where you live? How much diversity/concentration of media is there in your area? How important to you is media diversity and having a wide range of voices and opinions? Will the takeover reduce competition/diversity in the Australian media sector?
  • What Fairfax and Nine publications and programs do you consume? What attracted you to them in the first place, and what do they mean to you/your family/household? What will be the impact of the takeover on the choice and range of media you consume?
  • How distinct is Fairfax journalism – what makes it different?  Describe a story or stories published by Fairfax over the years which have made a difference to you/had an impact on you/changed the way you think? What would your life/community be like without the journalism that Fairfax produces?
  • Who are the Fairfax journalists you always read/trust?
  • How important is fearless, independent journalism? What will be the impact of the takeover on investigative journalism and does it increase the risk of that independence being compromised by the commercial interests of the proprietor or its advertisers?
  • What else do you think the ACCC should consider when ruling on this takeover, and what would you like the ACCC to do?