How the campaign unfolded

ABC Friends Victoria decided early last year that we needed to raise awareness about the Coalition’s record on ABC funding and interference long before the election campaign began.

Campaigns were run across social media in the second half of last year and we complemented our social media posts early this year with digital and mobile billboards and flyers outlining the threats to the ABC if the Coalition was returned.

Our billboards – and then during the campaign, our corflutes, posters and flyers – sought to remind people that an independent broadcaster is central to democracy and that the ABC is Australia’s most trusted and valued institution. But, despite this, the Coalition was refusing to restore the cuts to funding during its time in office which had seen the ABC Budget drop by more than $700 million.

These campaigns concentrated on raising awareness about how important an independent, fully-funded national broadcaster is – particularly when a government is actively resisting independent scrutiny.

With links to TV, radio and online ABC coverage, we showed the leading role that the ABC had played in shining a light on gender equality, integrity and climate inaction – the three key issues that largely determined the election outcome.

From the outset, we determined that we had the potential to have an impact in six key marginal seats – Deakin, Dunkley, Corangamite, Casey, Chisholm and Higgins. During the campaign, we provided some assistance to people campaigning in McEwen and our groups in Bendigo and Ballarat showed that you don’t need to be in marginal seats to have a big impact.

Here is a recap of our campaigning in these electorates.

  • Deakin: While still too close to call, it is clear that former assistant federal treasurer, Michael Sukkar, has been strongly challenged by Labor’s Matt Gregg. In a face-to-face interview with ABC Friends’ Wendy Logan and Barbara Baker, Matt Gregg talked about the importance of the ABC and ensuring fit-for-purpose funding. Read more about our Deakin campaign HERE
  • Chisholm: ABC Friends Eastern Group ran a very strong campaign in this key marginal seat, which Labor’s Carina Garland has taken from Gladys Liu. In response to the area’s large Chinese population, the Eastern Group handed out 500 translated flyers at train stations and shopping centres. With the strong support of the Northern Group, large banners were held over the area’s major roads.
  • Corangamite: Incumbent Libby Coker – a very strong supporter of the ABC – has increased her margin after a swing of some 7.7% to her. Formerly one of Victoria’s most marginal seats, Coker has successfully moved the seat to close to a 60% margin, on a two-party preferred basis. ABC Friends’ Geelong group campaigned strongly in both Corangamite and Corio, which was also returned with a swing to incumbent Labor MP Richard Marles.
  • Dunkley: Incumbent Peta Dunkley, who had the strong support of the Southern Bayside Group, has been returned with an increased margin. This Group handed out flyers before local theatre productions and held a major rally early in the campaign, which attracted national media attention.
  • Higgins: In one of the biggest shocks of the campaign, sitting Liberal MP Katie Allen has been defeated by Labor’s Michelle Ananda-Rajah. The Inner Melbourne Group campaigned in this formerly bluest of blue-ribbon Liberal areas and attracted strong support at pop-up stalls at local shopping centres.
  • Bendigo and Ballarat: Being in safe Labor seats didn’t dent the commitment of the Bendigo and Ballarat Groups with both groups working hard to raise awareness of the threats to the ABC of a Coalition return. In addition to letter writing and handing out flyers, Bendigo Group members “phone bombed” Senate candidates seeking guaranteed five-year funding for the ABC and hosted former ABC host Jon Faine. The Ballarat Group kicked off its campaigning with a very successful webinar with former ABC host Jonathan Holmes, leader of the ABC Alumni. In Bendigo, Labor’s Lisa Chesters was returned with an increased margin, while Shadow Infrastructure, Transport and Regional Development Minister, Catherine King, has maintained her strong support in Ballarat.
  • Casey and McEwen: Without active groups in these our suburban/rural electorates, ABC Friends was restricted in capacity to influence these campaigns. Cinema ads and mobile billboards were used to raise awareness in Casey, which will remain a Liberal seat despite a swing to Labor, while Labor’s Rob Mitchell was returned in McEwen.