Equity and ECS members take the fight 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.