Court rules against Tele on Rush case. Actor Geoffrey Rush has had a win in his defamation case against the Daily Telegraph over a front page story alleging inappropriate behaviour during his stint in the Sydney Theatre Company’s production of King Lear. In a judgement delivered this morning, Federal Court Justice Michael Wigney ruled that Nationwide News, the Tele’s parent company, could not argue the truth defence because there was insufficient detail in its defence, and he also ruled out a significant part of its qualified privilege argument. Nationwide News’ subpoena for the Sydney Theatre Company was set aside, with the judgement calling it a “fishing” expedition.

Sunrise’s child protection follow-up. Sunrise has finally followed up its error-ridden, all-white panel discussion of removing Aboriginal children from their families with a panel of experts on Aboriginal child protection and health (but still without an apology).

Samantha Armytage, who hosted last week’s panel, was still on the ground in Tathra covering the bushfires, so it was down to David Koch to lead the discussion. When introducing the panel, he said Sunrise were “responding to calls by the Aboriginal community to look at the issue with the experts”.

Olga Havnen, Danila Dilba Health Service CEO, James Ward, a researcher for South Australian Health and Medical Research Institute, and Patricia Turner, Aboriginal health peak body NACCHO chief executive all came on the program for what Kochie called a special edition of its regular “hot topics” segment for the discussion.

The panel had been scheduled for yesterday morning, but was postponed due to Sunrise’s coverage of the bushfires, and follows protests outside Seven’s Sydney city studio last week, which were hidden from viewers with old file footage.

Chip shot from the bunker. The Australian has doubled down on its claims to have broken the story of internal dissent against Greens’ candidate Alex Bhathal. Yesterday readers will recall we exclusively revealed that Australian reporter John Ferguson had claimed the story as an exclusive — despite an earlier piece under his own by-line crediting Crikey with the story, which we broke on January 31.

Well that embarrassing error couldn’t be allowed to stand, so enter Chip Le Grand, with a long story flowing from sources among the complainants about Bhathal. Le Grand had to chip away at the exclusivity claim a bit: “As The Australian revealed this month, the party’s state executive, instead of establishing a proper investigation into Bhathal, referred the complaint to a committee…”.

Oh that was the exclusive, was it?! Well, what you did was spruik an argument about procedure that Bhathal’s branch opponents have made — whether it’s a correct understanding of Greens procedure remains to be seen. There’s one upside of Le Grand’s story for the Greens: in his desire to own the yarn, he has left a lot of detail in, and one factoid in particular that will stand as evidence of the Darebin leaker-in-chief’s identity.

Can’t wait for day three: Australian reporter nominated for best fake exclusive in its fake News Corp Pacific press awards. Play on! — Guy Rundle

Glenn Dyer’s TV Ratings. Married At First Fight (2.07 million), Travel Guides (1.074 million), A Current Affair, (1.30 million). Nine’s night, and Ten continued to slump — 11.3% for total people in the metros (10% on Sunday night) and 6.5% for the main channels, marginally better than the 6.3% for the main channel on Sunday night. That’s still debilitating for Ten. Ten knew the damage would happen after Celebrity ended and before Bachelor in Paradise started next Sunday, but perhaps not this low.

The ABC with 17.4% overall and 13.6% was again a solid third place after 16.0% and 11.6% on Sunday night. The 7pm Project with 686,000 national viewers was Ten’s most watched program.

In regional markets, Married topped the night with 547,000, then Seven News with 537,000, MKR was third with 506,000, Seven News/TT was on 458,000 and Home and Away was fifth with 425,000. — Read the rest on the Crikey website.

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Peter Fray
Peter Fray
Editor-in-chief of Crikey
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