ACON’s Pride in Diversity lists only a few “media” members.
- 10 ViacomCBS (Channel 10)
- Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC)
- Bloomberg L.P.
- Initiative Media
In this part 1 I will talk about ABC. In part 2 I will look closely at how SBS uses talent to make pro bono or in kind contributions to the Pride in Diversity mission in exchange for AWEI points.
The Australian Workplace Equality Index (AWEI) is a voluntary leaderboard scheme run by Pride in Diversity. It is open to all organisations in Australia. The template is 45 pages long. Organisations answer detailed questions and submit their answers for marking. They receive a ranking score out of 200. Every few years the index changes to make it harder to get a high score.
Pro bono work, contra deals and a stable of talent
There are several questions in the AWEI that demand financial contributions or pro bono support of LGBTQ charities. Yes, Pride and Diversity qualifies as a charity despite also taking in $6600 membership fees and additional revenue for training sessions that are mandatory under the AWEI.
ABC’s Pro Bono Work
This post only deals with a small number of examples, and only where talent and cultural capital have been deployed to win AWEI points.
Both SBS and ABC have a stable of media talent they can lend out to events and score points. Such as that time ABC’s Jeremy Fernandez hosted a session at Pride in Practice conference in 2020 (page 20). This netted them 2 points.
I wonder how much money his time cost the taxpayer?
The same conference hosted another session prepared by the ABC. How many person-hours were spent trawling the archives at taxpayer expense? Note the reference to First Day an ABC production glamourising transgender children.
Additionally, they paid for 4 conference tickets to send their staff members (2 points). This is recommended in Questions 30 and 32 specifically.
Q30 demands development opportunities for LGBTQ employees and Q32 demands that LGBTQ staff attend external conferences.
ABC sent transwoman Julie Peters to speak at a Pride in Diversity Sapphire (womens) event (1 point). ABC has recently run a story (collection of stories across channels) on Julie Peters. Let’s see if these come up in the next round of AWEI submissions.
Manda Hatter, the Head of Operations, spoke at Big Stays In conference (1 point). She attended a Diversity Council of Australia event Out at Work: Inclusion at Work for LGBTIQ+ Talent (1 of 4 events offered for a 2 point question). She also volunteered on the panel of Out50 – a Deloitte publication dedicated to LGBTI+ leadership (1 point). ABC’s Mon Schafter (they/them) gets a profile in the issue.
Manda Hatter’s public profile as a high-powered “dyke on bike” operations manager lends credibility to the ABC’s claims of LGBTQ solidarity. It certainly helps her profile to be able to spruik her personality at events – and Pride in Diversity gets incredible social cache from platforming Manda’s public performances.
Is this newsworthy, or is this advertising? It’s a fine line.
ABC staff marching in the Mardi Gras for the first time was worth 1 point. Now in 2022, the ABC hosted and relentlessly promoted the Mardi Gras which will hopefully be worth more for them.
Not all roses
Unfortunately for them, host Mon Schafter “dead-named” or “misgendered” Elliot Page and caused members of activist 272k-member strong Facebook bully group LGBTI Rights Australia to have a little fit.
ABC should be aware that negative media attention can attract a 25 point penalty in the AWEI!
Where talent fails to get the points
ABC failed to get the 2 points for having Ita Buttrose and David Anderson (their MD) marching in the Mardi Gras. In the submission document, ABC gushes
“ABC Chair Ita Buttrose and Managing Director David Anderson both played an exceptionally strong leadership role for 2020 which is demonstrated here as they both are seen about to head to the 2020 Mardi Gras parade float.“
The AWEI response is terse: “Marching in MG isn’t evidence of CEO speaking at events”
Time and effort
Think of the effort, time, lost productivity that goes into organising attendance at these 1 pointer events. The ABC’s score in 2021 was 177. That gives you an idea of the scale of effort they go to on an annual basis.
There’s a quote from Andrew Breitbart that seems apt – “Politics is downstream of culture”.
What we are seeing here is an attempt to influence the company culture at an employer. It just happens to the national broadcaster, the ABC, bought and paid for by the taxpayer. Trusted by every Aussie as a companion to morning coffee and background radio through our workdays.
Politics is downstream of cultureAndrew Breitbart
The culture matters. The leaders at ABC are modelling behaviour they expect to see replicated by ABC employees: journalists, designers, publishers, broadcasters and more. Those leaders are performing inclusion – but are they doing inclusion?
This leaks into our everyday politics. Recently I counted the number of articles ABC published with the subject matter “transgender” – 35 within a 7 day period. All rabidly pro-trans. None taking into account alternative viewpoints. When the ABC leaders model transgender inclusion at all costs, this attitude filters down to staff. It then spreads out into the culture at large, not with a ripple, but with the force of a bomb.
How can women advocate for their rights when the friendly “lefty” state-sponsored media has already decided that the word “woman” is a bigoted dog whistle? They think we can’t. They are wrong.
Sources of information:
ABC and SBS submissions to the 2021 AWEI scheme were obtained under FOI and are freely available for you to download.
- Pride in Diversity (Internet Archive, October 2021) – https://web.archive.org/web/20211020063627/https://www.prideinclusionprograms.com.au/members-list-2/ Note that “federal government” category went missing from the more recent versions of this page.
- Pride in Practice Conference 2020 – http://www.prideinpractice.com.au/content/uploads/2015/07/2020_Pride_In_Practice_Program.pdf
- SBS – https://www.sbs.com.au/aboutus/freedom-of-information-foi-disclosure-log – refereece 189284
- ABC – https://about.abc.net.au/how-the-abc-is-run/what-guides-us/freedom-of-information/foi-disclosure-log/foi-disclosure-log-archive/ – reference 202021-056
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