Central Coast Branch

Central Coast Branch


Get involved. Make a difference…and enjoy stimulating company.

ABC Friends Central Coast branch meets on the second Saturday of the month at the Elanora Hotel in East Gosford at 10.30 am. Meetings alternate between Committee and social meetings. AThe next two meetings will be on May 11 (commitee meeting) and June 8 (social meeting). nd remember, Committee meetings are open to all ABCF Central Coast members. 

Previous events

April 2024, Anne Maria Nicholson
Anne Maria focussed on the current state of arts coverage in the media, as well as her work as a novelist. Anne Maria continues to be a passionate advocate for the arts and is critical of the neglect of the arts in ABC news bulletins. She noted the limited coverage devoted to First Nations artist Archie Moore, despite his award-winning work at this year’s Venice Biennale. Given the integral role the arts play in shaping our sense of ourselves, our national culture and our international awareness, the lack of arts reporting is difficult to understand. To quote our guest - ‘Informing and educating audiences about the arts remains an obligation under its charter for the ABC.’

December 2023, Pat Farmer
Ultra marathon athlete, former Federal politician, author and motivational speaker spoke to members and friends about his amazing 14,400 km run around Australia to raise awareness and support for the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders Voice to Parliament. 

August, Helen Grasswill on ABC International, Green Point Community Centre
Helen Grasswill, from ABC Alumni, spoke to more than 50 ABC Friends at Green Point Community Centre about the history of ABC international reporting, particularly in the Pacific and SE Asia. She spoke of the short sightedness of federal government cuts and cancelled contracts, which have had a detrimental effect on our influence in the region. Helen emphasised how much more could be achieved with additional funding for ABC International programs. Developing its work and reach could extend relationships with the governments and populations of our neighbouring countries, and increase our understanding of their cultures and the issues that affect them. Helen’s paper ABC International Spreads its Wings explains the history of ABC International broadcasting, and its significance as an integral part of our diplomatic efforts, particularly in the Pacific and SE Asia. The Central Coast committee received very positive feedback on Helen's talk.

Saturday 8 July, Visit to East Gosford Rotary Garden

ABC Friends Central Coast are reaching out to local community groups to raise our profile and to find ways to collaborate with each other. In the first of these initiatives, we visited the East Gosford Rotary Garden. The garden was started several years ago, and the gardeners have transformed a local park into a thriving community hub, producing a bountiful harvest of fresh vegetables annually. During the morning tea break we explained the purpose of ABC Friends and what we do. We discussed our hopes for organising events involving Gardening Australia personalities and having ABC Local radio assist with publicity or coverage. Our hosts welcomed us warmly and everyone thoroughly enjoyed the garden, delicious food, and hospitality. We all felt it was a very worthwhile initiative and look forward to socialising again in the future. 

Saturday 15 April, The Voice to Parliament, David Harris, NSW Minister for Indigenous Affairs and Treaty
David spoke to a full house about the proposed constitutional change and establishment of a First Nations body to be decided by referendum later this year. A huge thank you is extended to David Harris who agreed to speak at very short notice after the Federal member for Robertson, Dr Gordon Reid had to withdraw due to his being asked to represent the PM and the Federal Minister for Indigenous Affairs Linda Burney at the United Nations. We also extend our sincere thanks to our wonderful events organiser, Sue Young and her partner Chris Moe (our branch Secretary) for planning and conducting such a successful community event on behalf of our organisation. More information about the Voice to Parliament can be found on the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Voice web site.

Federal MP for Robertson, Dr Gordon Reid spoke at the Christmas party, December 10

The Central Coast branch of ABC Friends held our annual Christmas party at the Elanora Hotel at East Gosford. Over thirty people attended a fabulous event with great food and conversations. The new Federal MP for Robertson, Dr Gordon Reid, spoke about the Federal Government’s current program, including of course the ABC. Questions included reception issues, the selection process for the ABC Board, parliamentary friends of the ABC, refugees, the Voice to Parliament and the proposed referendum for its establishment. Gordon gave a very impressive off the cuff speech and answered questions directly, taking the time to speak to members and supporters at length and clarify issues. Our sincere thanks to our wonderful events manager, Sue Young, Bill Young for assistance with publicity, Elanora Hotel staff, Gordon Reid MP, Jo Lloyd (Gordon’s office manager) and finally thanks to everyone who attended, ensuring a successful event. Our attendees included Janine Kitson, the convenor of the Northern Suburbs branch and a fellow ABCF NSW/ACT committee member. We appreciate Janine taking time out from a busy schedule to attend and look forward to more opportunities for our branches to collaborate in the future.

Dr Gordon Reid speaking at Central Coast Christmas Party

Dr Gordon Reid, MP speaking to Central Coast ABC Friends; Dr Reid with Ross McGowen, Central Coast branch convenor

Johnathan Holmes presentation, April 6

Former ABC journalist and producer, Jonathan Holmes spoke to ABC Friends Central Coast in April this year. Jonathan’s last role at the ABC was acting as the presenter of Media Watch. He currently chairs the ABC Alumni, an organisation comprising former ABC staff members. The Alumni have worked alongside ABC Friends to promote the case for maintaining adequate funding and ensuring that the ABC’s editorial independence is respected. Jonathan focussed on how the ABC’s independence has been threatened by its critics, both within and outside parliament and the consequential loss of funding. He emphasised that the most recent offer essentially maintains current funding levels but does not overcome the shortfalls imposed by previous budget cuts and terminated contracts. An audience of over sixty people responded with interest and participated enthusiastically in the question-and-answer session that followed. Our branch would like to extend its thanks not only to Jonathan, but also to the staff at the Everglades Club at Woy Woy who were very obliging and helpful and enabled us to maintain our booking over an extended period. Our thanks are also extended to our audience of ABC Friends and supporters, many of whom had held their bookings over the same period throughout the pandemic.

Election campaigning for an independent and properly funded ABC

Prior to the election being called, our branch of ABC Friends was off and running in advocating for an independent and properly funded ABC.

We visited Gosford markets on successive weekends on the 17th and 24th April. Our group was encouraged by the responses we received from the public at the market to our flyers. They featured the issues of ABC impartiality and its role as an emergency broadcaster. Further encouragement was extended to Helen Matthews who distributed more flyers along the Esplanade at Ettalong Beach and to our ‘wobble boarding’ group who displayed posters promoting the ABC’s role along the Central Coast highway at the Gosford waterfront. The balance of the six hundred flyers were distributed through letterboxes, pre-polling stations and at the two candidates’ forums we attended at Wagstaffe Hall on the 30th of April and at the Red Tree Theatre, Tuggerah on the 1st of May. The forum at Tuggerah featured former ABC editorial director, Alan Sunderland who also gave a very insightful address on the issue of impartiality.

The next phase of our campaign was centred around the pre-polling and on election day at polling stations. Following the recommendations of the ABC Friends National and State Committees, we formulated a ‘how to vote’ flyer for those surveyed candidates who supported the ABC’s independence and more secure funding. Our survey was completed and returned by the Greens candidate, Shelly McGrath.  We also received statements of support from Gordon Reid of the ALP and Jeff Lawson from the Indigenous Party of Australia. This support was acknowledged on the flyer. One thousand of these flyers were distributed at Gosford, Woy Woy and Erina prior to the election and at Kariong and Gosford on polling day.

The Federal election provided us with valuable opportunities to interact with the community and promote the ABC as an issue for voters to consider. My sincere thanks to all our members and supporters for contributing in whatever way they could to our cause throughout this period. I believe that the energy and commitment our branch displayed leading up to and including the election campaign has been recognised and acknowledged by our organisation. With the election decided, we took the opportunity to meet with ABCF members and ABC supporters on Saturday, July 9th to celebrate our efforts during the campaign along with the ninetieth anniversary of the ABC.