It was a weekend for 50 year veterans of the media to talk about giving it away. First we had Trevor Sykes interviewed by Alan Kohler on the final Inside Business for the year as his alter-ego, Pierpont, prepares to bow out of journalism next week to take up a career as a company director.
Even more interesting was the interview that Monica Attard, fresh from
collecting another Walkley last week, had with Alan Ramsey on ABC radio’s Sunday Profile.
The big news was that Ramsey is “contemplating retirement” after 50
years in journalism, which might coincide with Fairfax’s latest round
of redundancies. Sadly, Ramsey didn’t advise his SMH readers in what was a cracking Saturday column on the history of Robert Gerard’s political dealings with the Liberals in South Australia.
While hearing the lounge bar bore of the gallery let fly was
entertaining enough, unfortunately, both Attard and Ramsey left quite a
bit unsaid, like his couple of years on Bill Hayden’s staff.
This might have been relevant when Ramsey was shredding Paddy
McGuinness, who was also on Hayden’s staff as the prized senior adviser
at that time.
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Somehow, one of Ramsey’s greatest scoops also didn’t get a mention. Who
can forget the grumpy younger man revealing that Bob Hawke had offered
his old boss a chance to be Governor General? Attard again failed to
Ramsey’s spell in Vietnam, in which he produced great copy and was
In this limited interview, Ramsey
saw journalism only in terms of the press gallery. Which is okay if that defines
the boundaries of your personal space and intellectual life.
If Ramsey really does hang up the poison pen, there will be no tears in
John Howard’s Cabinet and the PM will be able to gloat that he
outlasted him. Both of them are 66. New John Fairfax chairman Ron
Walker might even be able to claim it as a victory on the Liberal Party