Fran Kelly

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Fran Kelly
Nationality Australian
Alma mater St Dominic's Priory College
Occupation Australian radio presenter
Known for Current affairs journalism and political correspondence

Fran Kelly is an Australian radio presenter, current affairs journalist and political correspondent who has hosted the Australian Broadcasting Corporation's Radio National program Breakfast since March 2005.

Early life[edit]

Fran Kelly is the fourth of six children, named for her father Frank Kelly, a chiropodist and physiotherapist. Kelly grew up in Adelaide, attending St Dominic's Priory College and completing an arts degree at the University of Adelaide, majoring in literature and classics.[1] While at university she became involved in the women's movement and feminist theatre as well as singing with bands.

After completing her degree Kelly worked at Flinders University as an activities director, booking bands and organising entertainment for students. In 1980 she moved to Melbourne to fill a similar role at La Trobe University. She sang in all-girl new wave band Toxic Shoc, which released their single "Intoxicated" in 1981.[2] She volunteered at Melbourne's 3RRR as a host of Backchat, a radio program discussing women's current affairs. In 1984 she co-ordinated the statewide Women's Arts Festival for Victoria's sesquicentenary.

Career in journalism[edit]

Kelly began work in journalism at the age of 29. In 1988, she moved to Sydney to work on Triple J's The Drum, a youth radio program offering opinion and analysis on politics and current affairs. In 1990 she became a reporter for ABC Radio National's current affairs programs AM and PM. She describes covering the Labor Party leadership battle between Bob Hawke and Paul Keating in 1991: "I remember standing in the pack in the corridor outside the PM's office, and being right up at the front of the crush, asking questions of Kim Beazley", she says. "I also remember not being intimidated, which is when I realised that this was probably the job for me."[3]

In time, Kelly would become 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 she returned to Australia to host Radio National Breakfast. The program airs nationally in Australia from 6:00 am to 9:00 am (live in the eastern states and on delay in other states), Monday to Friday, combining news, analysis, commentary, interviews and special features. In describing her work, Kelly says, "I don't have an agenda. What I do is question people as to what I think are the irrationalities in their position..."[3] She has a great love for the work that she does, "I love the program, I always have... It's just one of the best jobs in Australian media."[4]

Kelly was involved with the documentary series The Howard Years in 2008, for which she interviewed former US president George W. Bush. She appears regularly as a panelist and commentator on ABC TV's Insiders, engaging in debate and discussion with other experienced political journalists.

In 2008 Kelly received a Same Same 25 award, recognising her as one of the country's most influential gay and lesbian Australians.[5] She was named by The Sydney Morning Herald's "the(Sydney)magazine" as one of Sydney's 100 most influential people of 2011. She is described by the Australian electronic magazine Crikey as "one of the most influential media players in the country."[6]

Political views[edit]

In describing herself, Kelly states that, "What I am, really am, is an activist."[7] She reports that "I've identified as a proud feminist ever since I was at school and was a feminist activist for a long time."[4]

In 2007 Kelly launched the Australian Human Rights Commission's "Same-Sex: Same Entitlements" inquiry.[4] She has been involved with One Just World's speaker forums, moderating a "Women of the World" forum for WOMADelaide and speaking on the "Stand Up Against Poverty" forum in 2009.[8]

She partly attributed Tony Abbott's downfall as Liberal leader to his handling of same-sex marriage.[9] In 2015, Kelly described it as "fortunate" that Malcolm Turnbull has replaced Abbott as Prime Minister of Australia.[10]

Personal life[edit]

Kelly has been with her partner, journalist Marion Frith, since 1993, together raising Frith's three children from primary school age to adulthood.[3]


  1. ^ ABC Radio National, "Fran Kelly."
  2. ^ Wallaby Beat, "Toxic Shock – Intoxicated 7", EMI Custom 13236, 1981, 19 February 2011.
  3. ^ a b c Tim Elliot, "Making radio waves". SMH, 13 March 2012.
  4. ^ a b c Same Same 25, Fran Kelly: Presenter, Radio National." 2008.
  5. ^ Andrew Georgiou, ""Same Same 25 Honoured", Time Out Sydney. 18 December 2008.
  6. ^ Jason Whittaker, "The quality journalism project: early bird Fran Kelly", Crikey, 26 October 2011.
  7. ^ Sydney Morning Herald
  8. ^ One Just World, "Kelly Forum Speakers and Moderators: Get to Know Fran Kelly"[permanent dead link].
  9. ^
  10. ^