2017 Meeting Dates

Committee meetings:

11th February; 8th April; 10th June; 12th August (AGM); 14th October.

Social meetings: 11th March; 13th May; 8th July; 9th September; 11th November; Christmas Party date to be advised.

Letter to the Board

James Spigelman,
Chair ABC Board,
and All Board members

On behalf of the Central Coast Branch of the ABC Friends I request you all to pause any decisions on cuts to RN until after the ABC has conducted proper community consultation.

Rather than cut any programs it would make more sense if, in addition, the ABC engaged in talk programs about the utterly dismal state of our governance systems. The ABC could do MUCH more in its role as educator as I have personally argued at some length early last year. I then sent a series of proposals to all board members but, strangely, I did not receive even an acknowledgement from anyone, let alone a response to the actual content of the submission.

I have decided to send this submission again seeing that the governance of this nation is now in the hands of a small minority with extraordinary reactionary and uninformed views.

I would be happy to explain these proposals further. I have also informed the new MD Mrs Michelle Guthrie of them in September this year. No response from her either.

The ABC must remain an independent quality public broadcaster. What we have seen in the last two years is MOST disappointing and should be reversed. The justification that digitisation requires the abolition of important programs or parts of important programs is false. A different, superior technology more suitable to a younger cohort of viewers has nothing to do with the kind of program that is tackled in this way. The ABC should stand up to the onslaught of privatisation mania. There are values that a public broadcaster can deliver that no other broadcaster can deliver. To take that away, by stealth, and false arguments, is plainly stupid and must be halted. The ABC is still in the position to do exactly that.

Klaas Woldring,
Ph. D. A/Prof (ret),
ABC Friends Central Coast
7 December 2016

Big Roll-up for Sabra Lane

More than 100 people attended when Sabra Lane was guest speaker on 15th April 2016 at the Central Coast Leagues Club. Sabra Lane has been the Political Correspondent, 7.30 Report of the ABC since October 2013 and before that of ABC Radio Current Affairs. She has become part of an historic all female team including 7.30 presenter Leigh Sales.

Before that Sabra was Executive Producer of Seven Network's Sunday Sunrise program. Her broadcasting experience extends over 20 years. Sabra, the girl from Mildura, presented an interesting account about her career. Her talk coincided with the start of the off the 'Hands Off' Campaign on the Central Coast by Chris Vernon of the MEAA that very evening.

Centre - Margaret & John Lund with Sabra Lane

ABC Friends’ Biennial Conference

John and Margaret Lund were our delegates at the biennial State Conference organised by the Hunter Valley branch in Newcastle.
John has been our Treasurer for several years and Margaret our Newsletter editor for the same period. Regrettably both will be resigning their important functions at the August Branch AGM but will remain active as committee members. People interested in taking over these roles please contact Convenor Klaas Woldring. Margaret's report of the State Conference contained details about the campaigns. We cannot publish all of them here but the mood is reflective of the crisis the ABC finds itself in.

Report from the Conference

"We have just returned from a gruelling weekend at the NSW State Conference of the ABC Friends in Newcastle and it wasn’t due to the storm weather. We attended as delegates from the Central Coast. Much of the time it felt as if we were part of a war cabinet, planning our strategic moves for as Ranald McDonald kept telling us; "The ABC faces death by a thousand cuts."

"The ABC budget has been cut and cut and this started, you may remember, with Hawke/Keating and it continues apace now with Turnbull. It is a miracle that the ABC does as well as it does. This is really because of the dedication and responsibility to quality of the ABC Staff. Everyone at the Conference agreed that the cutting of the Australian Television Network to Asia and the Pacific was a stupid, ideologically driven decision. We relinquished our access to all those countries, thus reducing our influence in the region. It’s what is known as soft diplomacy. We need to watch carefully what happens at our ABC.

At the Conference Ranald Macdonald. Convenor of the National ABC Friends Action Committee, brought us up to date with the fighting campaign. There are “advertisements”, yes promotions for the ABC, going out on social media already. You may have seen Tim Storey singing, “Where Would We Be Without our ABC.?” Everyone was adamant that we must never succumb to advertising: it changes the whole basis of the ABC independence.¬†The ABC Friends is actually a lobby group but without the enormous funds available to big business and unions. Never did I envisage that I would be part of a lobby group but that is what we are. We are willing to vote for candidates who will support the ABC, which means we need to get a statement of intentions from our candidates. It seems that the Xenophon Team is considering returning to pre-Abbott funding. Perhaps we could encourage him. After all the ABC is essential for democracy because it is owned by the people and is not for profit. More letters please, particularly to Mr. Xenophon.

Quentin Dempster stated that the Baird Government is getting away with murder in NSW and there is No “Stateline” trying to keep him and his government honest, exposing what they are really up to. Quentin pointed out that Mark Scott came to the ABC as Managing Director at an opportune time, with Wayne Swan the then treasurer increasing the money for the ABC. This enabled Mr Scott to re-prioritise. Although many of us do not participate in social media, this is where the growth has been. The most popular news on Facebook and Twitter is the ABC.¬†Perhaps the ABC should be getting some income from this. The ABC led the change into digital media. Podcasts of ABC programs are very popular, not just here but around the world and the numbers are increasing. iView, a technology not readily taken up by commercial stations, has been a huge success. (25 million usages a year)! “Cleverman” the new serial on a Thursday night television, has been sold onto Netflix. Will the ABC contemplate charging for iView? It is thought highly unlikely. Quentin Dempster reminded us that a Federal ICAC is essential. After all corruption does not stop at state borders: it is everywhere, as shown so clearly on the “Four Corners” programs.

Jeff Waters is the National Campaign Coordinator who works for non-profit organisations, using grass roots, social media; online petitions etc. all of which were successfully used in President Obama’s election campaigns. All of our advertising needs to go to the highest profile places possible and remember the blackout on election advertising does NOT apply to mobiles or e-mails. We were also able to ask Mr. Dreyfus, the Shadow Minister for the Arts and the Shadow Attorney General about these concerns when he visited the Central Coast on Friday 10th June."

Meet the Candidates Forums

As part of the campaign several branch members were active at four Meet the Candidates Forums held on the Central Coast in recent weeks, handing out materials and displaying posters sent to us by the campaign committee. Two marginal seats (Robertson and Dobell) were at stake on the Central Coast. The largest Forum one was probably in the Mingara Club organised by the Express Advocate, a News Limited local paper, on 8th June (approx 250 people). Questions were invited prior to the meeting. Our branch submitted these in writing and again at the meeting itself, especially probing policies in regards to ABC funding. These questions were NOT dealt with, not surprisingly.
We could with more help appending posters to notice board in public places. Regrettably, the age of our members is a limitation that we have to accept.

Avoca Beach Market Stall

However, the branch rented and organised a Market Stall at the Avoca Beach Market on Sunday 26th June, see below. This is one of busiest Market Stalls on the Central Coast. Approx 2000+ visitors turned up. We had a central position there and were able to distribute around 300 Stop the Chop cards with the ABC cuts on the back, and around 50 of the new blue blue membership forms. To simply have a presence there, complete with the new banner, was undoubtedly helpful for the campaign. We were much less successful with the "We pledge to" cards. They take a lot more time and explanation and may be less suitable for markets than other new promotional material.

Contact the Central Coast FABC

Klaas Woldring,
Convenor FABC CC
Phone: 02) 4341 5170