No-one has really done a proper job exploring the relationship between journalists and the Labor Party until now. Hang on for the ride as this will be a very interesting debate when the full extent of the links are property explored in this new Crikey list.
Rest assured that we will be doing other lists that get stuck into the Libs, One Nation, the Democrats and Greens, but this is a worthwhile list to build. Crikey estimates that about 80 per cent of working journalists vote Labor. Afterall, despite the efforts of Packer and Murdoch, we are still largely a unionised profession. Crikey is a member of the MEAA and one thing we’re keen to find out is whether the MEAA has kicked any campaign funds the way of Labor in recent years.
Journalists also tend to have a far greater exposure to social misfortune and this does tend to harden their resolve for redistributing wealth to help the disadvantaged. There are some notable exceptions and none more notable than Tony Abbott, who worked for The Bulletin nad The Australian. Journalists also have a lot of power, see their names up in light and enjoy the perks of their jobs so this too helps gravitate them towards the political process.
Journalists are also a very gregarious bunch because their profession requires them to engage with people and extract information. From my experience, Labor Party types are far more sociable than their Liberal counterparts and a drinking session in the pub is often more interesting and entertaining with Laborites. Maybe this too is a contributor to the growing nexus between journalists and the Labor Party.
There is no way the Liberal Party could ever find more than 100 journalists across the country to sell their souls and becoming political spinners. You just have to look at the quality of Liberal spinners over the years to see that the journalism profession do not like the Liberal Party as a whole. Tony O’Leary was a third-rate hack on the Herald Sun in the Canberra bureau back when Crikey was spinning for Jeff Kennett and Alan Stockdale. Now he’s the PM’s press doyen and is a fabulous example of the press gallery not throwing up any willing Liberal flacks. Howard tried to shake Glenn Milne lose from the Seven Network a couple of times but failed and has had to put up with O’Leary.
By the way, subscribers can read Hugo Kelly’s wonderful profile on O’Leary in our seachable 700,000 word archive.
Anyway, enough of our spin, let’s take a look at the list and please send in any corrections, additions, amplifications and commentary to firstname.lastname@example.org.
FEDERAL LABOR SPINNERS (5)
Geoff Walsh: ex Border Mail, Melbourne Sun and Fin Review and now ALP national secretary.
Greg Turnbull: ex SMH cadet and ABC TV Gallery reporter and now Beazley’s chief spinner.
Amanda Buckley: ex SMH cadet, Daily Telegraph and Sunday Age before joining DFAT and Beazley.
Tracey Aubin: Beazley’s spinner who worked for the SMH and The Australian’s Canberra bureau.
Kylie Johnson: just joined the ALP national secretariat from 2GB.
CARR GOVT SPINNERS (14)
Eric Aubert: from the Newcastle Herald to Lefty AG Bob Debus
Jodie Brough: from SMH
Julie Delvecchio ex SMH
Eamonn Fitzpatrick, ex-SMH police reporter and now with Paul Whelan
Anthony Flannery: Channel Nine soon to be Aquilina’s main dude. Sandra Harvey: SMH
Amanda Lampe: The West Australian
Jim Maher: Channel 7
Donna Mulhearn: Maitland Mercury now with Aquilina
Andrew Plumley: 2GB
Lisa McLean Carl Scully’s spinner who came from 7.30 Report.
Toni Rankin: Channel 7 now with Refshauge
Will Secord: Jewish News and a Canadian tabloid to Carr’s personal staff
Kate Woods: Bob Debus’s PR but formerly with a community newspaper in Sydney’s inner west
BEATTIE GOVERNMENT SPINNERS (23)
John Algate (ex Channel 10)
Bernadette Alizart (ex 4BC)
Shari Armistead (ex 10)
Steve Bishop (ex the Sun - some years back)
Lorann Downer (ex ABC)
Ruth Evans (ex Cairns Post)
Caroline Fisher (ex ABC)
Steve Keating ex Toowoomba Chronicle
Fiona Kennedy (ex The Australian)
Paul Lynch (ex Australian - some years back)
Lindsay Marshall (ex ABC)
Ellen McIntyre (ex ABC)
Ross McSwain (ex Channel 9)
Greg Milne (ex ABC)
Russ Morgan (ex CH 10)
Michael O’Meara (ex Fin Review)
John Ross (ex Channel 10)
Steve Rous (ex Courier-Mail)
Leisa “Fluffy” Schultz (ex Ch 7)
David Smith (ex Gold Coast Bulletin but he also worked for Coalition)
Alexandra Thompson (ex ABC)
Alexandra Wake (ex ABC)
BRACKS GOVT SPINNERS (9)
Anthony Carbines: ex Geelong Advertiser to Bronwyn Pike
Paul Conroy: ex Age to IR with Monica Gould and Local Govt with Bob Cameron.
Sally Gibson: ex somewhere to Environment Minister Sherryl Garbutt.
Ben Hart: ex Herald Sun to suburbans.
Tom Laurie: a regional outlet to John Brumby’s regional development gig. Sharon McCrohan: ex Aussie Post editor
Matthew Phelan: ex Herald Sun
Sandra McKay: ex AAP and Age
Tim Mitchell (ex Channel 10 Melbourne)
Rebecca Nicholson: somewhere to Sharon’s deputy on Bracks.
Jacinta Reddan: The Sun to PR and now John Pantsoffalot and Justin Madden.
Nick Reece: somewhere to Treasurer John Brumby.
David Saunderson: ex Geelong Advertiser and also on Geelong Council
Jane Wilson: ex Channel Ten to Steve Bracks.
Tim Winkler: The Age to Community Services minister Christine Campbell and Bronwyn Pike.
GALLOP GOVT SPINNERS AND OTHER STAFFERS (13)
John Arthur: ex Daily News, then Carmen Lawrence spinner, exiled by Libs and now Gallop’s chief of media monitoring. Kieran Murphy - worked for him in oppn.
Grahame Armstrong - from Sunday Times (COS)
Darren Foster - from Carmen Lawrence, native title tribunal
Mike Marren - from Geraldton Guardian
Julie Cole - worked for previous govt.
Steve Manchee - worked for previous govt and before that The West Australian
Owen Cole - worked for Court government
Fran Hodge - as above, and from The West before that
Amanda O’brien - worked for Labor last time
John Carey - channel 7
Kerri Welham - Sunday Times
Melissa Robinson - Tony Blair’s staff
Kerri Welham - from Sunday Times to Alannah McTiernan.
Randall Ashbourne - ex Channel 7 is helping out Opposition leader Mike Rann.
Tracey Annear: former ABC Hobart reporter, now Ministerial handler.
Ian Colvin: former newspaper reporter (The Mercury among others), now Deputy Premier’s media secretary and in charge of the Govt Media Office.
Linda Hornsey: Secretary of the Department of Premier & Cabinet, former newspaper journalist.
Ken Jeffreys: former ABC radio political reporter, now Head of Government Communications.
Mike Lester: former State Political Reporter for the Hobart Mercury, is now on Premier Jim Bacon’s staff
Julie Pellas: former ABC radio political reporter and Burnie Advocate, (she replaced Ken Jeffreys!), now Premier’s media secretary.
Mark Thomas: ex Launceston Examine and former WIN television sports reporters and author of David Boon biography, now Ministeral handler.
Liberal Party spinners list
A few people have suggested we do a list of Liberal journalistic spinners so here is a start and we’re keen for a few contributions. You’ll usually find there are less journos working for Liberal governments because as a profession we’re pretty left wing.
Cathy Job: left the ABC last year to join David Kemp’s staff.
Tony O’Leary: average performer at Ten and the Herald Sun who became Howard’s long-serving pressie.
Nicki Savva: long-serving Herald Sun political chief who fell out with Peter Blunden and then went to The Age before before Costello’s press sec.
National Party: Robert Taylor (former COS at The West)
Sasha Brooker: Deputy Premier Rob Kerin - ex-Messenger Newspapers.
Mike Foster: Premier John Olsen - ex-Adelaide Advertiser and Townsville Bulletin.
Peter Gandolfi : Premier - ex-NT News.
Kate Griffith: Government enterprises Michael Armitage, Energy Wayne Matthew - ex-Adelaide Advertiser and Channel Nine.
John Hancock: Disability Services Minister Robert lawson, Aboriginal Affairs Dorothy Kotz - ex-5AA.
Mel Hein: education minister Malcolm Buckby - ex-Adelaide Advertiser.
Anna Jackson: environment Iain Evans, police Robert Brokenshire - ex-ABC radio.
Chris Kenny: Director strategic communications - ex-Channel Nine and Adelaide Review.
Huw Morgan: health Dean Brown, Water Resources Mark Brindal - ex-Adelaide Advertiser and Truth.
Jon Parrington: Attorney General Trevor Griffin - ex-Channel 10.
Terry Price: regional media - ex-ABC.
Vicki Thomson: COS Premier - ex-ABC.
Mark Williams: Treasurer Rob Lucas - ex Adelaide Advertiser.
Patti Lucas: Former ABC broadcaster (of some 30 years) and now chief spinmeister for the Tasmanian Parliamentary Liberal Party and one of only two media spinners.