Monthly Archives: June 2013


Nick Cater is entitled to his opinion of the recent Whitlam doco “The Power and the Passion” (“Warning: this program contains sexed-up history and very few facts”, The Australian, 4/6). He is entitled to accuse its makers of being too young to remember the events it covers, even though he himself arrived in this country fifteen years later. He is entitled to question its historical neutrality, even though his own book (“The Lucky Culture”) attempts to shoehorn the distinctly collectivist history of Australian egalitarianism into his preferred but quite alien neoliberal view.

But Cater crosses the line by belittling participant Andrew Denton on the basis of his educational background. This is especially demeaning coming from someone who, although tertiary educated himself, has written an entire book complaining of educational snobbery.

Cartoon investigation

The APC’s investigation into The Australian’s 2012 Budget front page splash has triggered a belated explanation from the paper.

The splash featured the headline “SMASH THE RICH”, humourless portrayals of the government as Stalinist Communists, and three opinion pieces, all utterly negative, in place of analysis. This to cover a Budget perceived by the rest of the universe as safe and even rather dull. No dispassionate observer could see this as balanced.

The widespread dismay it caused, expressed only in the non-News media, was never acknowledged at the time.

An editorial (1/6) stated of the splash, “the “cartoon’s theme is a considered editorial decision” made by “senior leaders…such as Chris Mitchell, Paul Kelly, Clive Mathieson and Dennis Shanahan”.

The Australian’s “it was only a joke” defence is rather lame, but the fact it was at last forced to offer one at all demonstrates the APC’s valuable role in ensuring that the media do not allow internal agendas to outweigh their responsibilities to the public.