diary August 11, 2018
We’re surrounded by death and the passing of great totems of our time. The death of Fairfax’s independence coincided with the death of one of the era’s standout journalists, Evan Whitton. Then we had news of the death of Clive Evatt, the great Sydney defamation barrister, turf man, art collector and frequent visitor to Wagner at Bayreuth. Whitton and Evatt were polar opposites – one liked to expose wrongdoing while the other liked to sue the backside off newspapers on behalf of punters who were exposed.
diary August 4, 2018
The new new thing is “scale”. We’ve been missing the importance of “scale” for so long, particularly when it relates to such things as the takeover of Fairfax Media by Nine Entertainment, two more culturally antithetical outfits being hard to imagine. Percy Marks jewellery progeny and Nine boss Hugh Marks said “bigger scale” is good because it produces more revenue. Greg Plywood at Fairfax thinks that the fused company’s scale is the way to confront giants such as Google and Facebook. No wonder he’s sold his Maserati if he thinks like that.
diary July 21, 2018
Bookshelves Brandis signed off on his stellar ministerial career with the observation that he was particularly proud of his espionage, secrecy and foreign interference legislation. Never mind that his original clunky version was significantly reworked and substantially different laws recently passed through the parliament. So what’s next for a country already weighed down with more overwrought security legislation than comparable Western democracies?
diary July 28, 2018
We now see the shining brilliance of the Liberal–One Nation media reform agenda: the absorption of Fairfax newspapers into Nine Entertainment’s culture of chequebook journalism, hidden cameras, patsy interviews and Eddie McGuire game shows. All under the chairmanship of Peter Costello, one of the smuggest Nasty Party politicians in living memory. The quid pro quo for Pauline Hanson’s One Nation’s support of the “reform” legislation was to do over the ABC. Bingo, two “reforms” in one hit.
diary July 14, 2018
While Theresa May’s government was tottering on the brink of fracture, the toffs were at the Henley Royal Regatta quaffing champagne and Pimm’s from the boots of Range Rovers and Bentleys, rather in the manner of the shickered crowds that gather in Melbourne Cup marquees. Gadfly’s invitation must have been lost in the post, but fortunately our field agent was on hand.
diary May 26, 2018
While in Otto’s extreme and manic world, it’s worth noting his complaints against Justine Keay, the former Labor MP ruled ineligible to hold the federal seat of Braddon because she had not renounced her Britishness. Abetz has been busy compiling the salary and entitlements Keay received between the time she feared she was constitutionally ineligible to stand for parliament and the moment the High Court in the Gallagher case found she was indeed ineligible.
diary May 19, 2018
This week Gadfly thinks it’s high time to unload some festering snipes and snarls. Take the Australian Press Council as a starting point. The press “regulator” is in the process of rissoling the Indigenous woman Carla McGrath as a public member of the council, on the feeble excuse that her position as deputy chair of GetUp! creates a conflict of interest. What on earth are they on about? The Press Council itself is a conflict of interest, riddled with tired hacks representing their paymasters in the media.
diary May 12, 2018
The people running the Twitter account at Australia House in London produced a marvellous photograph of the new high commissioner addressing his minions in a marbled reception hall. The staff looked as though they were having a perfectly miserable time as His Excellency Bookshelves Brandis droned on. They’d only just got rid of Fishnets Downer; now they were rolling their eyes, wondering what this new turkey from the Nasty Party would be like.
diary May 5, 2018
Fishnets Downer issued a last moving message from his well-padded HQ at Australia House. The outgoing high commissioner to the United Kingdom was looking incredibly pleased with himself as he faced the camera. “Being a diplomat means not just going to parties,” he said. “It means having purpose. So, um, your purpose is to promote the interests of your country.”
diary April 28, 2018
The nation has been gripped again by the history wars, with Emeritus Professor Jenny Hocking of The Dismissal Dossier fame in one corner and in the other two scribblers from The Catholic Boys Daily, Father Paul Kelly and Troy-Boy Bramston. Prof. Anne Twomey is in there as well, telling Financial Review readers that she sniffs no sign of a conspiracy that the Brits and HM The Queen were in on Jolly John Kerr’s move to stab the Whitlam government in the back. Hocking has been turned down by the Federal Court in her application to get access to National Archives correspondence between Kerr, Brenda and Brenda’s palace courtiers, including that of her official private secretary, Sir Martin Charteris.
diary April 21, 2018
Hankies were dabbing at moistened eyes as soprano Nicole Car and the Australian Chamber Orchestra were at their most passionate on Saturday night. Mozart, Beethoven and Verdi were on the bill as the Melbourne soprano held everyone in her spell. Hairs on the back of eminent backs were standing on end all over Sydney’s City Recital Hall, and no doubt the ACO’s inaugural outing of the 1726 “Belgiorno” Stradivarius was partly responsible. There were so many celebs in the crowd that Gadfly lost count.