Donald McDonald (ABC chairperson)

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Donald Benjamin McDonald AC (born 1 September 1938) is an Australian arts administrator who between 1996 and 2006 was chairman of the Australian Broadcasting Corporation, Australia's national public broadcaster. In 2007, he was appointed director of the Australian Classification Board.

He has been involved in the administration of various arts enterprises for many years including the Sydney Theatre Company and Musica Viva Australia. He was chief executive of the Australian Opera Company for ten years until his retirement in December 1996. As well as his high-profile ABC position, McDonald was chairman of the Asia-Pacific branch of Andrew Lloyd Webber's Really Useful Group (The Really Useful Company Asia Pacific Pty Ltd) and a member of the Board of the University of New South Wales Foundation. McDonald was also a former chairman of the Constitutional Centenary Foundation.

McDonald was made an Officer of the Order of Australia in 1991,[1] and raised to Companion of the Order in 2006.[2]

He has often been criticised for being too elitist and for being a political appointee to the ABC position because of his arts background and family connections.[3] He and his wife Janet McDonald AO have long been associated with the Liberal Party of Australia. The McDonalds are personal friends of former Prime Minister John Howard and his wife. His brother Bruce McDonald was briefly Leader of the Opposition in the New South Wales Legislative Assembly before losing the seat he was contesting in 1981.


  1. ^ It's an Honour: AO; retrieved 17 August 2013
  2. ^ It's an Honour: AC; Retrieved 17 August 2013
  3. ^ Smith, Michael (6 April 2003). "It's his ABC". The Age. Retrieved 10 October 2006. 
Media offices
Preceded by
Mark Armstrong
Chair, Australian Broadcasting Corporation
Succeeded by
Maurice Newman