There are a few necessary requirements for journalists looking for an expert to comment on a specific story. They need to be, well, experts in their fields. They need to give good quotes. And they need to be available.
Given those requirements and how demanding the news cycle is, you end up with a few people you could be forgiven for thinking are the only Australian experts in their fields. Crikey has pulled together a list of the experts you’re most likely to come across:
Australia’s only counter-terrorism expert: Greg Barton
The Deakin University professor is chair in global Islamic politics, and given the regular appearance of Islamic State and terror attacks in the news, his expertise is often in demand. In the two weeks after the terrorist attack in Manchester earlier this year, Barton made 36 media appearances.
Australia’s only constitutional lawyer: Anne Twomey
Journalists don’t need constitutional lawyers very often, but when they do, Anne Twomey is a great bet. And given all the hoo-ha this year with politicians and their citizenship troubles, the University of Sydney professor and lawyer has been on high rotation.
Australia’s only demographer: Bernard Salt
Demographer Bernard Salt earned his high-profile as a demographer through his books and many available media appearances. His website describes him as “one of the most quoted and widely read social commentators in Australia”, which sounds about right. Salt has two weekly columns in The Australian and is usually readily available for media interviews.
Australia’s only astronomer: Alan Duffy
Swinburne University professor Alan Duffy is the handsome expert you’ll most often see on his regular ABC’s News Breakfast TV appearance, but his space expertise is shared around. Duffy also shows up on Ten’s The Project, The Drum, with print columns and even, recently, on the BBC.
Australia’s only gender politics/feminism/pop culture expert: Lauren Rosewarne
Lauren Rosewarne is a senior lecturer at the University of Melbourne, specialising in gender, feminism, pop culture, and more, and is a readily available expert on these very sexy topics. She’s so good, in fact, Crikey recently leaned on her expertise to discuss the gender politics of The Bachelor.
Australia’s only children’s water safety expert: Laurie Lawrence
Australian swimming coach Laurie Lawrence is the first go-to for comment on children’s water safety. You’ll see the former athlete pop up during summer and during any pool safety campaign.
Australia’s only government budget analysis expert: Chris Richardson
Deloitte Access Economics’ Chris Richardson must also be Australia’s hardest worker in the days after a federal budget. Every year, he steps up for media interviews on TV, radio and in print to offer his analysis of the budget for the punters.
Australia’s only celebrity agent: Max Markson
Max Markson is without doubt, Australia’s best-known celebrity agent. As well as promoting his clients, he’s often quoted as an industry expert on the inner workings of celebrity negotiations, such as how much networks would pay out for special interviews on shows like 60 Minutes.
Australia’s only media analyst: Steve Allen
Fusion Strategy’s Steve Allen is one of just a few media-friendly media analysts. He’s also a favourite of Crikey, and is always in high demand when a big media story breaks.
Australia’s only adolescent psychologist: Michael Carr Gregg
The author of several books about raising children and teenagers, Michael Carr-Gregg bills himself on his website as “one of Australia’s highest profile psychologists”, and he’s right. He used to write regular columns for Huffington Post Australia, and lists himself as the “program psychologist” for both 3AW and Sunrise.