Those looking for signs of the new Australia itching to emerge from the now fly-blown carcass of the Howard incumbency will have been heartened by news that The Australian’s opinion page editor, Tom Switzer, is leaving the national daily for the short term peril of work in the office of temporary federal Opposition leader Brendan Nelson.

Thus does the once impregnable empire of hard-nosed Howardism begin to crumble. Did Tom jump? Was he pushed? Did he intuit, like a journalistic Gilchrist, that the best Janet Albrechtsen columns were behind him? Did he simply cease to be an advantage to a newspaper that must now exist in a new and reforming world? Who knows. Though if the last is true what does the future hold for Switzer’s boss, that stalwart of the conversative journalistic cause, Chris Mitchell? Watch and wait.

Peter Fray

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