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Sep 8, 2017

A wealthy supporter of Dick Smith tried to buy off Crikey for $2500

Harry Wallace thinks Crikey has been terribly unfair to Dick Smith. And he has offered $2500 to us so that we will cover the issue of rising population.

A deep-pocketed philanthropist has attempted to buy coverage of a specific issue in Crikey for the princely sum of $2500.

Philanthropist Harry Wallace, who founded AusBuy, has taken umbrage with Crikey’s coverage of Dick Smith in recent days. 

If you haven’t been following the issue: here’s a brief explainer. Dick Smith is campaigning for population control. Last month, he launched a $1 million ad campaign calling for migration to be scaled back. He also is running another ad campaign against the ABC, which  he says is not taking his first campaign seriously.

Well, neither do we. Emily Watkins nominated Smith for Arsehat of the Year and writer David Salter explained Smith’s hypocritical history. 

Writing to Crikey, Harry Wallace OAM, said it was disappointing we hadn’t looked at both sides of the population debate.

Wallace is particularly concerned about dwindling food production.

“From the time I first got involved in business in Indonesia the population has doubled to 250 million. In Papua New Guinea where I have had a long business involvement (family company employs 600 PNG nationals) the population is growing at estimated 2.5%pa – now over 8 million with dwindling local food production. Australia’s has more than trebled in my lifetime. At this rate in the lifetime of my grandchildren Australia would have 80 million!”

He also offered a specific sum to explore these issues.

“Let me state at the start that I have not discussed those articles with Dick…So I now offer you $2,500 for investigative piece(s) looking at population issues facing Australia and our near neighbours.”

No thank you, Harry. Crikey will not now, not ever, take cash for comment. But you are very welcome to purchase an ad at any time.

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69 comments

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69 thoughts on “A wealthy supporter of Dick Smith tried to buy off Crikey for $2500

  1. Raaraa

    I think I’ll probably counter-offer that with $2,501.

  2. Brett Forge

    Totally agree with Smith’s concerns re population. His attack on the ABC seemed a bit bizarre but he’s right politicians are scared they’ll be accused of being racist. Would much rather see Crikey deal with the issue rather than take a cheap shot. Suggesting he is ‘arsehat’ of the year suggests Crikey has lost all perspective. The smugness and triumphalism of this article is only too reminiscent of the crap I used to read in the Australian

    1. nathan rogers

      I bet you still read the Australian.

      1. Brett Forge

        Hello Nathan, you lose that bet. Cancelling my subscription to the Australian was very difficult. Their web site makes it so easy to subscribe but nowhere to end a subscription. Eventually found a number to ring and had to be transferred several times to different operators and then a debriefing where I was asked why I was ending my subscription and then being asked if I could be contacted by an editor (yes please!!). I told them it was a misogynist, propaganda rag which makes a sport of trying to vindictively destroy individuals. The last straw was an article about Gillian Triggs. I don’t believe it’s possible to underestimate the damage that Murdoch has done to this country.

        1. BGas

          Great response Brett, after a cheap shot by Nathan. I read this article and came away with he same – not sure Harry Rogers is suggesting Crikey take a certain line for $2500. It seems he’s proposing Crikey examine the issue and report on it without fear or favour. I don’t have a position either way, but would certainly be interested in an in-depth investigation to actually help people understand the areas of concern (or to confirm they don’t exist). Either way it may help us plan and take action to ensure we can support a growing population.

        2. nathan rogers

          Either way the Australian has been bile for 25 plus years. Maybe you’ve changed as a person but reading that crap and even paying for it for a period of time suggests a disturbed mind. I bet you still quite like the refugee bashing in the Australian considering that is all Dick is doing. Blaming refugees for governmemtal failings on infrastructure, tax, housing. Our country could support easily 250 million people the only problem is we haven’t got smart enough people in Canberra or in the general public to build a nation like that. Most of our wealth is concentrated in the 1%. A completely unsustainable system. To suggest it’s because of new residents from other countries is veiled bigotry and you should be ashamed of who you are.

          1. nathan rogers

            Sorry meamt immigrants.

          2. BGas

            Wow. Way to play the man. Someone expresses a concern about population growth and they are – disturbed, a bigot, a refugee basher, and should be ashamed of who you are.
            But at least you have laid out your arguments in a clear and coherent way that adds to the conversation and influences people to your point of view. Oh wait…

          3. Brett Forge

            Oh dear, you’re very persistent. It’s important Nathan, to study the enemy. That’s why I read the Australian after Murdoch effectively ended the Gillard Government and then infected Australia with Tony Abbott, clearly the most damaging and disastrous PM in my 60 years. They employ some very good journalists and they influence a critical part of Australian opinion. You appear to have a dichotomous view of the world. Most Crikey readers see that life is a little more complex. Unless you understand how Murdoch influences people you can’t hope to change anything.

          4. Northy

            Brett – The Australian is only influential when it comes to hard right Liberal pollies. They don’t influence anybody else.

  3. roger

    Crikey, this is getting ridiculous. As mentioned above this sounds like some editorial “exclusive” in The Australian. Watkins article shot the messenger, Salter’s rant was just an
    Unsubstantiated slur. How about you take your blinkers off and actually examines the issue of population growth and immigration issues without the confected rage ? This bloke offers some cash out in the open to get you to do some real reporting instead of dopey commentary and it’s rejected? Such appeals don’t seem to worry the Guardian who appeal for reader supported journalism every day of the week. How about you actually look at the issue instead of this Arsehat dismissal?

      1. AR

        See, Nat, that’s the problem, y’gotta be able to read to reach the next stage, comprehension.
        Stick to being a twit.

    1. BGas

      Roger, not sure Slater’s article was an unsubstantiated slur. Seemed very fact based. Dick Smith is a hypocritical media tart. Doesn’t mean we shouldn’t sensibly manage population growth.

      1. roger

        The slur was the unsubstantiated accusation that Smith has not in fact been one of the most generous philanthropists in Australian history. It was just a terrible, spiteful comment based on no evidence whatsoever. totally beneath contempt and he should be ashamed of such an evil accusation. Shameful.

  4. roger

    Bhakti, for a slightly more intelligent response may I suggest you read today’s editorial in the SMH:

    http://www.smh.com.au/comment/smh-editorial/how-the-extremes-conspire-against-the-centre-20170908-gydvkw.html

  5. Goona Paranatha

    Come on Crikey, where is the substance in this story? Personal attacks won’t get you journalist of the year awards, they just make you look silly. First it would benefit to know that government together with federal departments DO discuss population, it’s called population policy. Every country has one, if affects you and me, but decisions are made behind closed doors together with big business (hint, Crikey).

    Seems like it’s ok to have an inclusive debate on one aspect of our society, say gay marriage, but not another like population. With food shortages worldwide and climate predictions, population must be discussed. Are we that protected as a nation that our collective intelligence can not handle a discussion on population policy? Is the topic now off limits and relegated to UN treaties and far away policy makers?

    In fact the general population is not privy to any discussion on population policy that goes on in Canberra. Where is the democratic process? Crikey would like us to bury our collective heads in the sand until one day we wake up and realise we made a big mistake by not planning. Take a look at some of the Euro nations right now.

    It is that difficult for the media to do their job and raise issues of significance or are they just succumbing to the 140 character attention spans on gen y’ers and sticking to tabloid journalism?

  6. Needlemeyer

    Good onya, Crikey!

  7. Elbow Patches

    Wow some folks clearly haven’t heard that money can’t buy you everything. Thanks Crikey! Oh and Dick and friends – go back to bush craft etc, I liked you better when you were involved in positive pastimes. There is no future in dabbling with One Nation et al.

  8. Jacob HSR

    Why is Portugal allowed to have a shrinking population? Why is Japan allowed to? Why is just about every other nation allowed to have a slower immigration rate than AUS?

    Time for a referendum on this.

    1. Robert Smith

      It is far from certain that it is OK for Japan to have a declining population. The way I understand it Japan is virtually a no immigration country with a low birth rate and one result is the population is rapidly getting older. What the future holds for a society with these characteristics should be part of the discussion but you rarely hear about it.
      I haven’t been to Portugal in a while, but it did not seem like a particularly prosperous place we should try to copy. My impression at the time was it was being propped up with EU grants.

  9. Juan

    Well done Crickey. Australia has primarily become a quarry supporting the rest of the world. The latest natural gas/LNG debacle is just further proof of our myopic mentality. We should utilise our own resources by quadrupling our population quickly and developing a decent internal economy by value adding locally. We hardly have the population of two decent size global metropolitans and yet Luddites like Smith et al cry overpopulation. Or maybe it’s just a good smokescreen to maintain the status quo.

  10. Camm

    Cash for comment is always dirty, even if the topic is one of interest.

    Thank you for taking such a strong stand, and bringing to light that it happened.

    1. Woopwoop

      Light is good, grandstanding not so much, not understanding “cash for comment” pretty bad.
      Remember when Alan Jones got labelled with it by being secretly paid to make positive comments about banks? See the difference?

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