Actors Equity director, Simon Whipp, has announced his resignation, after 12 years in the position.

In a statement, the director said the decision to step down was not one he had taken lightly. "It has been an honour and a privelege every day to stand up for Australia's performers and campaign for their rights, but there comes a time when everyone must look for new challenges," he said.

A former copyright lawyer, Whipp joined the Media Arts & Entertainment Alliance as an industrial officer in 1994, before working his way through the ranks.

Last year, Whipp faced controversy after calls to unionise the production of The Hobbit saw filmmaker Peter Jackson threaten to shoot the film outside of New Zealand.

The director is also a strong supporter of the Save Spaces for Aussie Faces movement. Launched earlier this year, the campaign seeks to prevent the passing of a new draft of the Foreign Performer Certification Scheme, which would allow Australian producers to import more foreign performers for film and television productions.

Whipp's resignation will be effective from December 31.

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  1. “Save Spaces for Aussie Faces” is/was so detached from reality and the international marketplace it was a ill conceived joke.

    Which famous Aussie actor ever “made it” without first being seen in a film alongside an international star ??

    The relaxation of the rules would realistically boost the chances of rising Aussie Talent to get noticed for work they do “here” – instead of them all having to defect to LA in order to achieve the same goal.

    You can’t tell me rising Aussie Talent wouldn’t kill to work with some of their on-screen role models, and given an opportunity to “get a break”.

    The relaxing of foreign cast import rules would permit films to get greenlit faster as there would be a greater pool of bankable talent to choose from.

    After all, the only bankable Aussie talent are controlled by US agents, and we can’t get a look in edgewise with any of them.

    Moreover, sales agents and distributors only want projects that have international talent attached. One can’t get either sales agents nor distributors attached without creative and on-screen talent.

    Who is the MEAA kidding ?

    All those category loading penalties over-inflating our already over-priced budgets, in a marketplace where the AU dollar is riding so high ?

    It’s not rocket science for heaven’s sake – it’s simple economics – supply and demand.

    If things cost too much compare to their value – buyers will go elsewhere.

    End of story.

    Time for the MEAA to get with the program and get in touch with the current state of the international marketplace instead of living in their perpetual vaccuum.

    They are not “saving aussie jobs” – they are sabotaging them.

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