Comms Declare, an industry body representing hundreds of workers in advertising, media, PR and marketing, has welcomed the news that the Canberra Press Gallery will stop all corporate sponsorships of the annual Midwinter Ball.

The Australian reports that Press Gallery chiefs Jane Norman and James Massola have written to MPs saying, “The gallery committee’s view is that we want MPs from all sides of politics to be welcome at the ball. We have decided to end corporate sponsorship of the ball… Corporate tables, as is the case with many events, will be sold but there will not be any sponsors of the Midwinter Ball nor advertising from any company.”

The press gallery function was sponsored by Woodside and Shell as well as two lobbying firms with fossil fuel clients, Hawker Britton and Nexus APAC. The logos remain on its website.

In 2022, Comms Declare called for the ball to be boycotted. Several MPs did, including Greens Senators Larissa Waters and Jordon Steele-John. An alternative ball was held on the Parliament House lawn and ball guests wore dresses condemning fossil fuels.

Belinda Noble, Founder of Comms Declare said;

“This is one step on a long journey to disentangle the media from fossil fuel influence. However it is telling that the ball organisers chose to drop all sponsors, rather than risk embarrassing Shell and Woodside.

Fossil fuel corporations are still influencing our media, threatening journalistic integrity and climate reporting. Our most prestigious journalism awards, the Walkleys, are sponsored by Ampol and the Today Show takes sponsorships from Glencore and Shell.”


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