The independent review of anti-bullying program the Safe Schools Coalition is due to be handed to government today. But how did an almost two-year-old program, which was launched under the Abbott government, suddenly become a front-page "controversy" worthy of a review? The answer is Australia's national broadsheet.
Almost 16,000 words were written in The Australian about the Safe Schools Coalition in the month since the newspaper "broke" the story about the anti-bullying program being taught in Australian high schools, with more weight being given to voices speaking against the program than those in support.
Since February 10, the paper has published 27 articles about the program: 18 news articles, three opinion pieces, two editorials and three editions of Cut & Paste. So how does the national broadsheet go about trying to turn public opinion against a program that had existed without controversy for years?
The first piece appeared on February 10, a news article by education editor Natasha Bita on the front page with "exclusive" splashed in red ink.
The next day, the paper included another smaller piece by Bita, as well as an editorial, which stated "we should question why Australian children are taught an activist curriculum when their literacy and numeracy rates are alarmingly low".