The Australian Broadcasting Corporation spent a total of $127,126 on the Chris Masters Jonestown book before the decision not to publish. Almost half of this was in legal fees.

The information has come out thanks to a question on notice by Shadow Communications Minister Stephen Conroy, which elicited a breakdown of the costs from the ABC. They were as follows:

Editing $13,055.00

Typesetting $2,000.00

Picture research $1,750.00

High resolution pictures $5,953.50

External legalling $54,368.00

Advance to Author $50,000.00

TOTAL $127,126.50

The ABC has recouped $49,626.50 of this from Allen and Unwin, who picked up the book after the ABC’s decision not to publish.

All in all, Aunty is out of pocket $77,500, and given the sales figures and the lack of legal action Allen and Unwin seem to have gotten a bargain.

Peter Fray

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