The ABC Friends WA Committee 2021/22
Bobbie Mackley retired in 2010 after 30 years as an ABC staffer where she was a veteran of many campaigns to ‘Save the ABC’ and represented WA staff nationally; she is a Life member of CPSU/PSU. Bobbie forged a strong connection with ABC Friends during these years and later joined herself. She was elected to the Committee of WA Friends at the end of 2011 and elected President for a first term in November 2012. As President, Bobbie represents WA on the committee of ABC Friends National and is the inaugural National Secretary, a role she still holds. She believes the ABC plays a crucial role in Australian life, is essential for democracy, and that its independence and viability must be preserved. She is particularly concerned about the down-grading and depletion of the WA branch of the national broadcaster.
Robert McCormack spent his early years in country WA and, as a young adult, worked sundry jobs including the railways where he spent the next 15 satisfying and enjoyable years in regional WA, gaining valuable experience. New career paths in travel and insurance, in a corner deli and a franchise business, brought many challenges and a huge learning curve. Later on, Robert lived for 8 years in the Philippines where he developed and ran a charity providing food, schooling and medical care for the very poor. His passions remain charitable outreach, human rights, world travel and the ABC.
A member of ABC Friends for several years, Robert developed a single-minded passion to voice strong opposition to interference in the independence of the ABC, and to lobby for reliable and ongoing funding. He says that, in the country, ABC Radio was his lifeline for news, sport and current affairs; he believes that ABC-TV is still the go-to standard for quality and powerful entertainment and reliable news and current affairs programs which hold all politicians to account.
Cathy Bardon grew up in rural Queensland in a family that only listened to ABC radio, and largely watched only ABC TV. She worked as a technical librarian in the mining industry, then in publishing for Jacaranda Press as a book editor, and then worked in Sydney as a petroleum geologist. She and her husband lived in Denver, Colorado, for two and a half years, where she listened to National Public Radio (NPR) and experienced their fund-raising periods! After moving to Perth she retrained in computer science and worked in IT at Curtin University for 16 years where she was an active member of the National Tertiary Education Union (NTEU). She believes an independent, adequately funded public broadcaster is essential for healthy democracy. Cathy also represents WA on the committee of ABC Friends National. Cathy joined the committee in 2014 and has been Secretary since 2015.
Liz Millward arrived in Australia in 1986 via England and South Africa and has listened to, and watched, ABC since then. Firstly in Kalgoorlie where she worked in museums, libraries and women’s health then, after moving to Perth in 2000, while working in finance for a public company. She has served as treasurer for many community and not for profit organisations including ten years as Treasurer of Friends of Kings Park. Since retiring in 2015 Liz has volunteered within her local community including at her Local History Centre and Repair Café Perth. Her passion for the ABC is evident as she listens to ABC Perth on her app when she visits he eldest son and his family in England. Liz does admit to watching commercial TV but only during the Footy season. She is extremely concerned by the funding cuts to the ABC and the impact this is having on Australian content in particular Liz joined the Committee, and took on the role of Treasurer, at the 2019 AGM.
Henry Bateman joined the committee at the 2021 AGM and sees it as a way of repaying the generosity “Aunty has freely bestowed upon (him) over the years” since the then 14-year-old’s oil painting of a sunrise was screened by the ABC on national television. Henry’s art and writings have been exhibited and published in Australia and overseas. It was through the Australia Network that he kept in touch with home during a decade living overseas. Be it Philip Adams or Macca on the wireless, or Four Corners and Media Watch on the box, the ABC has been a constant throughout his life.
Terri Brown retired in 2012 after more than 26 years at the Australian Taxation Office where she was a staff representative for CPSU/PSU. She now volunteers in the community sector helping refugee schoolchildren. Terri is concerned about the cuts to the ABC and the effect they are having on programming and independence. She has been a member for many years, a committee member for four years, Secretary for one term and Treasurer for two terms. She is Assistant Treasurer for this term.
Michael Dowling taught in country schools and in metropolitan Perth for nearly four decades. He was seconded to the ABC for a short stint in the mid-1980s; worked in audio-visual production and wrote an innovative English course for children in remote locations and home-schooled. He taught in and managed a number of PEAC centres for gifted and talented students in state schools and he and his students won numerous awards for their work. He has been a devoted watcher of and listener to ABC programs since his childhood. He believes a well-funded, strong, independent ABC is essential in our ever-changing world. Michael joined the committee at the 2016 AGM.
Eric Findlay was born in Sydney but moved back to Perth at age six. He completed a B.Comm (Hons) at UWA, moved to Adelaide for twenty years (including 3 years overseas). He worked in business and then as the National Administration Manager for a wine group. Back in Perth, he joined TAFE and was Principal Lecturer in the Management faculty for over twenty years. He wrote and presented the nationally accredited Diploma of Carbon Management course. Eric retired in 2017. He believes that an independent national broadcaster is essential for a thriving democracy, and is very concerned about the government cut backs and efforts to muzzle its voice. This is Eric’s third year on the committee.
Jenny Meyrick is a retired veterinary nurse and was born in Perth. She grew up with ABC radio and television, and as a child has a fond memory of going to a live show of the ABC’s Children’s Hour in the old ABC Studios. Her childhood was spent with ABC Cricket broadcasts in the background as her father was an avid cricket follower. Her own children watched Playschool when they were pre-schoolers and as a family, enjoyed many great ABC programs. Jenny is a “rusted on” ABC fan and is keen to see the ABC continue to produce great current affairs programs that keep us well informed on all kinds of issues, as well as providing some great entertainment with its drama productions. Jenny first joined the committee at the 2018 AGM.