These Journalists Queering Australian Newsrooms Are Out & Proud

These Journalists Queering Australian Newsrooms Are Out & Proud
Image: Hamish MacDonald

ABC’s six-part drama series The News Reader premiered on August 15.. The series stars Anna Torv and Sam Reid and details the relationship forged between the aspiring reporter and established news reader, in the smoked filled newsrooms of the late 1980’s. With episode two having just landed on ABC and Iview, we thought it a good time to take a look at some of Australia’s own queer news readers.

Hamish MacDonald


hamish macdonald
Jacob Fitzroy and Hamish Macdonald. Image: @hamishnews / Instagram.

Hamish MacDonald is name that needs no introduction, having most recently been on the other side of the news desk, making headlines for his abrupt exit from ABC’s Q&A program, to re-join the panel on The Sunday Project. MacDonald has previously worked at networks including Channel 4, ITV and at Al Jazeera English.

In 2020, MacDonald  chose to delete his public Twitter and Instagram citing that he’d “never had more abuse” from both sides of the political spectrum as he had did when working at the ABC.

MacDonald came out in 2019 at the GQ Gentlemen’s Ball in Melbourne, where he arrived hand in hand with his partner Jacob Fitzroy.

Patricia Karvelas

A graduate of RMIT University in Melbourne, Patricia Karvelas cut her teeth working on the ‘dark side’ of media, spending time working for Sky News and The Australian.

After jumping ship over to The ABC and SBS in the early 2000’s, Karvelas has presented Radio National’s program RN Drive since January 2015 and hosted Afternoon Briefing, a national affairs television program on the ABC News 24 channel, since 2018.

Nate Byrne

Nate Byrne is quite simply everyone’s favourite weatherman, finding a whole swag of thirst followers during his time with the ABC News Breakfast as the program’s resident meteorologist, oceanographer, science communicator.

Before his time with the ABC, Byrne had also served as a Naval Lieutenant in the Royal Australian Navy for 12 years.

Narelda Jacobs

First Nations television presenter, Narelda Jacobs, from Perth has shared co-hosting duties on SBS’s coverage of the Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras since 2019.

Jacobs became the first lesbian and First Nations News presenter in Western Australia when she took on hosting duties in 2008 for Channel 10’s News Bulletin after production relocated back to Perth. However, Jacobs first joined the network in 2000, firstly as a court reporter and occasional weather news person.

In a recent interview, Jacobs revealed she came out to her Christian parents in her 20s, saying,  “I grew up with evangelical teachings that gays are going to hell and HIV is brought by God as punishment and all that sort of stuff.”

In January 2020, Jacobs joined the Studio 10 as a panelist, after relocating with her long-term partner-filmmaker Stevie Cruz-Martin to Sydney for the role.

A graduate of WAAPA outside of Jacobs’ work in the media she is an ambassador for  a number of organisations including the David Wirrpanda Foundation and the Disability Services’ Commission’s “Count Me In” program. She is a patron of the Motor Neurone Disease Association WA and a specialised program for indigenous students at Balga Senior High School.

Monique Schafter

Monique Schafter
Monique Schafter (Supplied photo)

Monique Schafter has been forging a career for a long time in news journalism and currently serves as the head of ABCQueer, the ABC’s official home of stories and advice for queer young people.

A previous winner of Walkley Award, Schafter is currently a non-executive director of Twenty10, and has in a previous life written for Star Observer. From 2009-2011, Schafter was also a host on the ABC satiric current affairs program Hungry Beasts.

Fran Kelly

Without a doubt, Fran Kelly is one of Australia’s most esteemed journalists, growing up in Adelaide, Kelly moved to Sydney in 1988, where she began work with Triple J, moving across to ABC Radio National’s current affairs programs AM and PM as a reporter in 1990, soon becoming Canberra bureau chief, chief political correspondent with AM and PM, political editor for ABC’s Radio National Breakfast and ABC television’s The 7:30 Report and the ABC’s Europe correspondent.

In 2005 Kelly returned to Australia to host Radio National Breakfast. Kelly, was recognised as one of the country’s most influential gay and lesbian Australians when she received a Same Same 25 award. Kelly has been with her partner, Marion Frith, for almost 30 years, with whom she is stepparent to her partner’s three children

Anton Enus

The 59 year South African-born Australian news presenter is currently the co-host of SBS World News.  During the early 1980’s Enus was one of the founding members of South Africa’s gay and lesbian sports movement and was on the organising team that guided the country into the Gay Games for the first time in 1994. With a career in journalism which spans more than 25 years,

Enus spent the first 15-years of his career in radio and television with South Africa’s national broadcaster, SABC. He has been with his partner Roger Henning, since 1989.

Marion Frith

Marion Frith is a former journalist and political speechwriter. She has worked for major Australian newspapers and the ABC as a social and political commentator. Being based for many years in the Canberra Press Gallery, Frith had worked for major Australian newspapers and the ABC, in Canberra, Sydney, and London.

Firth met her partner, fellow journalist and media figure Fran Kelly, while the pair working together on assignment, and have been together now for 30 years.

James Findlay

Many would know Findlay through his work with Triple J, most notable through his work on the sex and relationships show The Hook Up, but has also produced programs including Good Nights, and Double J podcast Bang On, hosted by Myf Warhurst and Zan Rowe.

The 2016 recipient of the GLOBE Award for Media Excellence, Findlay worked as Program Director of station JOY 94.9 and News Editor of the now defunct MCV magazine.

Mark Reddie

Mark Reddie

Reddie works these days as  a crime reporter for ABC News in Sydney, prior to his most recent posting he worked as a reported for ABC News Breakfast, for a time as a journalist in Hobart, alongside stints at Al Jazeera English in Doha and BBC News in London.

Earlier this year, Reddie was the victim of a homophobic attack in the hours following Mardi Gras.




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6 responses to “These Journalists Queering Australian Newsrooms Are Out & Proud”

  1. This is “Becoming Julia”.

    I have also been a panelist on Q&A as a result of “Becoming Julia” – it was hosted by Tom Ballard.

    Full Q&A program

    Two minute excerpt from Q&A

    My crashing of Cory Bernardi’s Press conference and challenging him on his comments about marriage equality leading to beastiality. I couldn’t say what I really though because just behind me out of camera shor were four of his very big body guards telling me to move on – yes, I was frightened of them.


  2. I am transgender. My transition was documentaed over tow years in the film “Becoming Julia” and screened nationally and internationally when transgender was still very much taboo and not spoken of outside of the “Pink Triangles” of our capital cities. “Becoming Julia” brought transsexualism into the loungerooms or main stream Australia in prime time, bringing about greater understanding and acceptance of trans people in society.

    I was wrongfully sacked in 2002 from my NSW Government bus driver job in Sydney soon after my transition. A litany of demonstrable lies has been told to governments from this time to justify this. The willingness of governments to blindly accept these lies without giving me the right of reply has resulted in my being diagnosed with “Serious Clinical Depression” and today I am a broken down impoverished, depressed wreck not a shadow of the person you see in “Becoming Julia” NSW Government and NSW Transport Autorities use the depression they, and only they have caused me as a reason to not talk to me or redress this as Gladys Berejiklian and Barry O’Farrell promised when they were in opposition.

    Will one of these high profile gay/lesbian journalists take up my case for compensation. Initially all I wanted was reinstatement but that would not be possible now after the lies told about me. Please.

  3. As per usual – extremely Sydney Centric,

    See below

    Peter Hitchener: Channel 9 News Melbourne 6pm News
    Eammon Ashton-Atkinson: Channel 10 US Correspondent
    Dan Bourchier: ABC News Canberra/ ABC News Channel
    Karl Lijdners: Channel 7 Canberra Weather Presenter

  4. What a wonderful article. Especially during these lockdown times.
    Although, I’m very certain this list is a whole lot longer!