Indie news site New Matilda mostly relies on donations and crowdfunding to stay afloat, but its latest pitch is quite something: editor and owner Chris Graham has put his house on the market and promises to put “whatever the bank doesn’t take (minus 50% which goes to the other half-owner) … into funding independent media and keeping New Matilda kicking”.
The Canberra stand-alone house isn’t cheap — $719,000 — but it has four bedrooms, two bathrooms and four car spaces.
In 2004, Graham’s Canberra home was raided by the Australian Federal Police after the National Indigenous Times (he was the editor at the time) published stories about internal divisions within the government over how to deal with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Commission based on confidential cabinet submissions. We wondered: this the same house?
It isn’t, Graham says — that house was in Garran and this one’s in Mawson. But in a strange twist, the house he’s put on the market has also been raided by the AFP — two years later, in 2006. Graham wasn’t living there at the time, but it was as a result of his reporting. Confidential government documents were used by the National Indigenous Times as the basis of stories about government official Gregory Andrews, who appeared on a heavily criticised Lateline report that helped form the justification for the NT Intervention. The Mawson house as well as two properties in Mutitjulu, near Uluru, were raided by police as a result.
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Graham moved in after the previous owner moved out. He told Crikey he’d never lived in a home in Canberra not raided by police. As to using the sale to fund New Matilda, he said:
“People have suggested I’ve got rocks in my head for using the proceeds from a house sale to invest in New Matilda. They obviously aren’t really across the horrible realities of independent media. In for a penny, in for a pound.”
Crikey founder Stephen Mayne has also had the proceeds of selling his house go towards funding Crikey, though not in exactly the same way. When Steve Price sued in 2005, the proceeds were partly frozen after an injunction on the sale of the house. A settlement was eventually reached for $50,000.