Walkley Foundation Limited Governance Policy

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The Walkley Foundation Ltd.
245 Chalmers Street
Redfern NSW 2016
+612 9333 0921
ABN: 99 164 809 349


1. Structure

The Walkley Foundation’s core mission is to celebrate and encourage excellence in Australian journalism, telling the stories of our nation and strengthening our democracy.

The Walkley Foundation is a company limited by guarantee and registered with the Australian Charities and Not-for-Profit Commission.

One of its key purposes is working with the Media Entertainment & Arts Alliance (MEAA) to build a community of journalists, story-tellers, practitioners of narrative non-fiction and other creative industry workers committed to promoting excellence in these crafts across all platforms, and ensuring a media space that is free, ethical and of high quality.

The Foundation was originally constituted in 2000 under MEAA by-laws as a fully autonomous organisation to organise the Walkley awards; advance the interests of professional and ethical journalism; implement education and training programs for journalists; and advance the interests of the AJA section of MEAA.

In July 2013, the Foundation made the transition to a company limited by guarantee whose purpose and objects are as set out in its constitution.

The Role of the Walkley Directors (trustees)

The members of the company are the three nationally elected officials of the media section of MEAA, the Chair of the Walkley Advisory Board. They are also the directors and together may appoint up to two additional directors. The directors of the Walkley Company shall be known as the Walkley Foundation Trustees. The Directors are appointed on a two-year term with an option for renewal.

The present Board of Directors (read more about them here):

  • Quentin Dempster, contributing editor, The New Daily (appointed Director and Chair)
  • Michael Janda, senior digital business reporter, ABC  (member, MEAA Media Vice President)
  • Karen Percy, senior reporter, ABC News Melbourne (member, MEAA Media Vice President)
  • Marina Go, Non-Executive Director
  • Angelos Frangopoulos, CEO and Managing Editor, Australian News Channel Pty Ltd (chair, Walkley Advisory Board)
  • Marcus Strom, Media adviser and Science Communicator, University of Sydney

Secretary: Louisa Graham, chief executive, The Walkley Foundation

2(a) The Board of Directors are responsible for:

  • Ensuring the Walkley Foundation meets its legal and fiduciary responsibilities;
  • Reporting on key decisions of the Board to MEAA and, in particular, its media section;
  • Establishing the vision, mission and strategic direction and priorities of the Walkley Foundation’s work;
  • Approving strategic plans and annual budgets;
  • Appointing any additional company directors, members of any sub-committees such as the Walkley Advisory Board;
  • Recruiting, selecting and reviewing the Executive Director.

2(b) Governance

  • Directors must comply with all legal obligations and governance as set out in the Corporations Act 2001:
  1. Act in good faith, in the best interest of the company;
  2. Not make improper use of information or position;
  3. Act with care and diligence;
  4. Disclose any material personal interest in matters relating the affairs of the company;
  5. Not allow the company to trade while it is or would become insolvent.
  • Each director must notify the Secretary in writing of any change in the name, address and telephone number within one month after the change.

2(c) Strategy and Management

  • Directors need to be familiar with the Walkley Foundation Limited constitution and strategic goals.
  • Have an understanding of the media industry and be familiar with the constitution and strategic goals of MEAA and, in particular, of its media section.
  • Contribute to the development of the strategic direction of the Walkley Foundation.

2(d) Public Image

  • Promote and support the mission of the Foundation.
  • Act as an ambassador in the community and in the workplace encouraging colleagues to enter awards and attend key events such as the Press Freedom Media Dinner and the MEAA Centenary Lecture.
  • Be available for media interviews regarding the Foundation as required.

2(e) Development

  • Contribute to identifying sponsors or funders for the Foundation and attend meetings with potential supporters where required.

2(f) Meetings

The following meetings will be required on an annual basis and additional meetings may be held as needed:

  • April/May: to consider the forward budget and reporting
  • October: to judge outstanding contributions
  • November: Annual General Meeting to consider the auditor’s report, forward budget and reporting, appointment of directors and or office holders, committee boards etc. (An AGM must be held within 5 months of the end of the financial year).

2(g) The Role of the Chair

The chair will be elected for a two-year term with the option for renewal. The Chair’s appointment and voting powers are outlined in sections 7.4 to 9.4.2. inclusive.

3. Chief Executive

The Chief Executive is appointed by the Walkley Directors. The Chief Executive will manage the Walkley Foundation within the priorities, policies and strategic direction as determined by the Directors.

The Chief Executive is responsible for:

  • Operational matters of The Walkley Foundation, including staff employment;
  • Assisting the Board of Directors to fulfil its responsibilities by providing timely advice, information and guidance as required;
  • Providing the Board with information that allows it to assess the organisation’s performance and achievements;
  • Participating in an annual performance review process undertaken by the Chair and one other member of the Board of Directors.

4. Committees of the Board of Directors

The Board of Directors shall appoint an advisory committee, the Walkley Judging Board, which is made up of 10 to 12 senior media industry members who judge the Walkley Awards, advise the Directors on matters relating to the awards and act as ambassadors for the foundation. Walkley Advisory Board Members are appointed for a two-year term with an option to renew for an additional one or two years.

4(a) Responsibilities of the Walkley Advisory Board

  • Maintain the integrity of the Walkley Awards;
  • Assess and determine Walkley Award category descriptions, terms and conditions. A major review is undertaken each three to four years;
  • Participate in Board Judging to determine the winners of categories, the Gold Walkley and journalism leadership;
  • Be familiar with the Foundation’s strategic goals and direction;
  • Attend two compulsory board meetings in May and October each year.

4(b) Public Image:

  • Act as ambassadors for the Foundation, attending and/or presenting at key Walkley stakeholder events, such as:
    • Walkley Program Launch, March, Sydney
    • Press Freedom Media Dinner, May, Sydney
    • Editors & Producers Lunch, August, Sydney & Melbourne
    • Judges and Sponsors Lunch, October, Sydney & Melbourne
    • Finalists announcement, October, Sydney & Melbourne
    • Walkley Awards gala ceremony, November, location varies
  • The Foundation will assist board members in seeking support from their media organisations to attend Walkley events and meetings, however costs associated with attendance are not provided by the Foundation.
  • Act as an ambassador in the workplace encouraging colleagues to enter awards and attend key events such as the Press Freedom Media Dinner.
  • Be available for media interviews regarding the awards as required.
  • Promote and support the mission of the Foundation.

4(c) Development

  • Contribute to identifying sponsors or funders for the Foundation and attend meetings where required.
  • Participate in strategic thinking about the future of the Foundation

4(d) Meetings

The following meetings require compulsory attendance. Additional meetings may be held as needed:

  • May: Welcome new board members, confirmation of Award categories, terms & conditions. This meeting is held on the day of the Press Freedom Media Dinner and board members should attend the dinner following the meeting.
  • October: Board Judging to determine category winner, Gold Walkley and journalism leadership. Board members must attend in person.
  • The Foundation will assist in requesting support from media organisations to provide travel and accommodation for these two compulsory meetings.

Adopted by resolution of the Board of Directors on May 1, 2014.