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This website is in imminent danger of being shut down. It has been online since 1995, but the personal circumstances of the owner, Malcolm Farnsworth, are such that economies have to be made. Server costs and suchlike have become prohibitive. At the urging of people online, I have agreed to see if Patreon provides a solution. More information is available at the Patreon website. If you are able to contribute even $1.00/month to keep the site running, please click the Patreon button below.


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Rupert Murdoch And Tony Abbott Speak At 50th Anniversary Celebration Of The Australian

Rupert Murdoch, the head of News Corporation, and the Prime Minister, Tony Abbott, have addressed a dinner in Sydney to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the founding of The Australian newspaper.

Murdoch

Abbott said that “no paper more closely corresponds with the true spirit of Australia”. [Read more…]


Noel Pearson Praises The Australian’s Coverage Of Indigenous Issues In 50th Anniversary Speech

Noel Pearson, the Cape York Partnership chairman, has praised The Australian’s coverage of indigenous affairs over the past 50 years.

PearsonPearson spoke at a Gala Dinner to celebrate the anniversary of the paper’s founding on July 15, 1964.

Pearson said: “The Australian brought indigenous affairs into the mainstream of national reporting and policy debate. Ever since The Australian declared Eddie Mabo its Australian of the Year in 1992, following his historic and controversial victory in the High Court, the paper’s coverage of native title, reconciliation and the fundamental reassessments of indigenous policy of the past dozen years was newspaper campaigning at its relentless best.” [Read more…]


Anthony Albanese Denies Undermining Bill Shorten’s Leadership Of The ALP

Anthony Albanese has denied allegations that he has been undermining Bill Shorten’s leadership of the ALP.

Albanese made a personal explanation after Question Time in the House of Representatives, in response to an article by Troy Bramston in The Australian today. Later, he was interviewed by David Speers on Sky News. [Read more…]


Newspaper Editorials Overwhelmingly Favour Abbott

Australian newspapers have editorialised this morning, overwhelmingly recommending a vote for Tony Abbott and the Coalition in tomorrow’s federal election.

So far, only The Age has endorsed the Labor government.

The editorials from a range of newspapers are shown below. Others will be added as they become available.

Editorial in The Australian.

Leader who will govern in the national interest

Seldom has the bar been set so low for an alternative federal government. An opposition that can convince the Australian people that it can control the nation’s borders, its parliament and its purse strings would win the argument hands down. Yet a leader who aspires to govern in the national interest, restore confidence in government and offer hope for the future must do more than simply win this election by default. He must seek a mandate that lays the ground for a new era of reform to secure Australia’s future prosperity. [Read more…]


Subtlety Lost: Craig Emerson On The Australian Media

The Minister for Trade, Craig Emerson, has written an opinion piece criticising coverage by the Australian media of recent political controversies.

EmersonEmerson focuses on the Gillard-AWU issue and the issues surrounding the sexual harassment case brought by James Ashby against Peter Slipper.

He is especially critical of coverage by the News Limited papers, The Australian and The Daily Telegraph.

Emerson also directs his fire at Tony Abbott, Julie Bishop and Christopher Pyne.

Of the media overall, Emerson says: “I am not asserting there is a general bias in the media. Some editors and a few journalists are blatantly biased. That has always been the case. But the real problem is the abandonment of professional standards to give effect to that bias. All subtlety is lost.”

Text of an opinion piece by the Minister for Trade, Craig Emerson.

Subtlety lost

At Sydney University in the early 1970s a course simply called “Government” was offered to economics, arts and law students. It was a time of social upheaval and the election of the Whitlam Government had ended 23 years of conservative rule. The Murdoch press had backed a change of government.

My tutor in Government, Lex Watson, a gay rights activist, had set us a task: to identify bias in the media. But as left-wing as Lex was, the six-week project wasn’t about left versus right, it was about the techniques used by the print media to slant a story to suit an editorial position. [Read more…]


Gillard In Marathon Press Conference Over Slater And Gordon

Prime Minister Julia Gillard has held a marathon press conference answering allegations about her work as an industrial lawyer in the 1990s.

Julia Gillard

In a press conference lasting for 73 minutes, Gillard attacked “misogynists and nutjobs” on the internet over the “sexist” allegations in relation to her work at the law firm Slater and Gordon 17 years ago. [Read more…]


The Australian Apologises To Gillard

The Australian newspaper has posted a narrow and specific online apology to Prime Minister Julia Gillard this morning.

The Australian


Time To Think About The Future: The Australian Election Editorial

This is the election editorial from The Australian.

The Australian is a News Limited publication.

Editorial from The Australian.

Time To Think About The Future

A contest between worthy opponents ensures that whoever wins, Australia will be in good hands.

Blessed with resources at a unique time in history, as two billion people are making the transition from poverty to affluence, Australia has the great luxury of being able to consider what pathway its destiny should take. We can be confident that whoever wins tomorrow’s election, the nation’s immediate economic wellbeing is assured. But, as the Pacific century gathers pace, a rare opportunity exists to harness an almost limitless potential presented by our geographic location and well-earned reputation as a reliable supplier and good global citizen. The choice now on offer is to continue to manage our prosperity well and with caution or to utilise it in a way that maximises our claim to the future and better provides for the generations to come. [Read more…]


Bjelke-Petersen: Corrupt, Venal, Vindictive, Hypocritical, Dangerous

The sycophantic coverage of the death of Joh Bjelke-Petersen over the weekend, particularly on television, was a timely reminder that the lessons of history can be quickly forgotten. It showed not only how badly served we are by commercial television, but how even sections of the ABC have been cowed.

Joh Bjelke-PetersenBarrie Cassidy should hang his head in shame for the shallow and non-probing interview with Senator Ron Boswell on Insiders, whilst Sky News revealed itself to be captive of the cloying celebrity political death approach. At least the likes of Terry Lane (In The National Interest) and ABC News Online offered some contrary views more soundly rooted in facts.

But it is today’s edition of The Australian that is quite remarkable. It goes some way to providing balance to the weekend’s simplistic and sympathetic coverage. The news of Bjelke-Petersen’s death is reported below the fold on page one, highlighting Premier Peter Beattie’s consent to a State funeral. The incumbent premier’s attitude to his predecessor will one day be worth historical investigation in its own right.

On page 2 there are 3 articles dealing with Bjelke-Petersen, all of which highlight criticisms. The former Premier’s vindictive attitude to artists such as Judith Wright and his fraudulent use of proxy votes to survive a leadership challenge in 1970 are recounted. Amidst the tributes, the former Labor Premier, Wayne Goss, is quoted as saying, “No, I don’t have a grudging respect for Sir Joh.”

“Thankfully we will not see your like on the political stage again,” begins the editorial on page 8. The paper’s scathing assessment of Bjelke-Petersen rightly accuses him of trampling on democracy, civil liberties and the fundamental elements of representative democracy. “His dominance of public life in Queensland for close to two decades demonstrates how quickly democracy can be perverted by a cunning politician with a will to power and an eye for the main chance.”

The editorial outlines the various ways in which Bjelke-Petersen enriched himself by abusing his public office. It recounts the demand for $1 million from Alan Bond in settlement of a defamation action, corrupt gains from oil exploration permits, and stories of bags of cash arriving at the Premier’s office. Moreover, the paper rightly attributes Bjelke-Petersen’s “snake-oil economics and populist patriotism” as paving the way for Pauline Hanson.

The Australian then devotes 4 full pages to commentary on Bjelke-Petersen. It amounts to the most comprehensive demolition of a political figure since the National Times exposed the corruption of former NSW Premier Bob Askin on the weekend after his death.

Adrian McGregor and Evan Whitton trace Bjelke-Petersen’s career but conclude with the damning assessment that he left politics a bitter man and left his National Party discredited, a position it remains in today.

Phil Dickie writes that Bjelke-Petersen “trampled on civil liberties” but resorted to the defamation laws with a “rare vindictiveness” and Tony Koch writes of the “selfish and short-sighted premier who ran Queensland with a tyrannical zeal.” Most appalling is the story of how Bjelke-Petersen stopped state funding of trachoma treatment for Aboriginal people in retaliation against their electoral enrolment.

Mike Steketee argues that Bjelke-Petersen had “a big influence on federal politics, all of it destructive.” He reminds us of the breach of convention which saw Albert Patrick Field appointed to the Senate in 1975, setting in train the dismissal of the Whitlam government. According to Steketee, Bjelke-Petersen “managed to wreck or derail the careers of no fewer than three federal leaders, all from different parties.” He refers to Whitlam (Labor), Howard (Liberal) and Sinclair (National).

Another article outlines the repressive social atmosphere that prevailed under Bjelke-Petersen, from laws restricting rock ‘n’ roll bands, censorship and bans on protest marches. Ross Fitzgerald explains how politicisation of the police force was an integral part of Bjelke-Petersen’s Queensland, how the Special Branch was deployed to monitor critics and ruin careers.

An article by Dani Cooper explains the outrageous malapportionment (frequently and incorrectly referred to as a gerrymander) kept the National Party in power, even though it rarely polled above 40% of the vote. At one point it was the majority party in the coalition with just 27% of the statewide primary vote.

John Stone, the former head of Treasury and National Party senator, writes of his time on the Bjelke-Petersen bandwagon with some bemusement. “I wouldn’t have missed it for the world,” he says somewhat unconvincingly. The Australian’s editorial acknowledges that Stone wasn’t the only one to climb aboard the “jimcrack bandwagon”. Sir Joh “conned all sorts of Australians – including, it must be said, this newspaper.” That’s the closest you’re likely to get to a mea culpa from a Murdoch editorialist!

Read The Australian today. It’s worth it.


Newspapers Report Pauline Hanson’s Jailing

The jailing of former One Nation leader, Pauline Hanson, has received wide coverage in this morning’s newspapers.

The national daily, The Australian, ran the story in a side column on page one but most other papers led with the story.

Hanson and David Ettridge were sentenced to three years jail in a Brisbane District Court yesterday after a jury found them guilty of electoral fraud.


The Age

SMH

AFR

Aust

Telegraph

Herald Sun

Courier

Advertiser

Mercury

NT