Citizen Journalism

Posts Tagged ‘Citizen Journalism’

The genesis of the @ch150ch Abbott gaffe list

In @ch150ch, Fifth Estate on May 15, 2013 at 5:38 PM

Margo: I’ve begun asking tweeps who’ve had a go at activism in the political sphere to write about their experience  for @NoFibs. Here is the first post of what I hope will be a series, by the tweep who compiled a list of Abbott gaffes which has already attracted more than 15,000 views. The  tweep has given me a good reason to be anonymous.


By choosing @ch150ch

May 15, 2013

The genesis of the Tony Abbott gaffe list

During an interview with Leigh Sales on 25 March 2013, Prime Minister Gillard listed some of the ALP government’s achievements. To which Sales responded “Well, Prime Minister, you’ve given me a laundry list there, so let me give you one back.” Sales then gave seven examples of what she described as failures by the Gillard government. Needless to say, the PM disagreed with the premise of the list. [1]

But it got me thinking. If the PM has made x mistakes between becoming PM and now, how many has Tony Abbott made? What would a laundry list for him look like?

Some laundry list items sprang to mind immediately, such as when Abbott ran out of parliament to avoid Craig Thomson’s vote; his disastrous interview with Leigh Sales about BHP; the bat phone jokes; and his strange behaviour during the ‘shit happens’ Mark Riley interview.  [2]

Over a couple of days I recalled other incidents but in the end I resorted to googling his name month by month from June 2010. That’s how the Tony Abbot list of forty eight gaffes between August 2010 and May 2013 was compiled; an average of 1.4 per month. I update it as appropriate.  [3]

As to what constitutes a gaffe, my test was whether his words and/or behaviour attracted criticism and/or ridicule from across the political divide, over and above standard policy debate.

I envisaged the laundry list as a resource for journalists who might have forgotten just how often and in what way Abbott has screwed up; and more generally as a resource for people to quote from or show to friends, relatives and colleagues so they can see for themselves that Abbott is not fit to be PM. Last month Peter Costello claimed that Abbott has changed over the last three years. Based on the list, I doubt it.

I love Twitter

I’d joined Twitter about two weeks before compiling the list. No particular reason, just decided that it was about time. But the value of Twitter quickly became obvious. By the time I was ready to publish the list at the end of March 2013, I had maybe twenty followers but a couple of those had far more.  As is the way with social media, once someone with a big following retweets, or links to, an article, video or whatever, it’s off and running.

The list had about 5,000 reads within days, plateaued at that number for a few days, then off it went again, reaching about 8,500 reads by mid-April. In fits and starts, it’s now had close to 17,000 reads on Scribd.com, and been published on other sites. While the positive feedback and read-count might be gratifying, I would really get a kick out of hearing that someone changed their vote because of the gaffe list. So if that happens, please let me know via twitter at choosing@ch150ch


[1] Transcript of interview 25 March 2013 accessed at http://www.abc.net.au/7.30/content/2013/s3723490.htm

[2] See gaffe list

[3] Gaffe list can be accessed at http://www.scribd.com/doc/133134121/Tony-Abbott-Gaffes

Last chance to rein in Murdoch

In Democracy, Fifth Estate, Journalism, Media Reform, MSM on March 16, 2013 at 11:05 PM
Created by George Bludger @GeorgeBludger via http://www.flickr.com/photos/georgebludger

Created by @GeorgeBludger via http://www.flickr.com/photos/georgebludger

By Margo Kingston
March 16, 2013

Here’s a history lesson on the long road to media dominance by Rupert Murdoch, aided by both big parties, via two chapters in my book. The Liberals said yes to Murdoch under Howard, and will keep saying yes. They are partners, or rather, Abbott is Murdoch’s puppet.

I also tell the story of how I lobbied minor parties to stop Murdoch’s law in the Senate in 2003, and describe Fairfax journalists’ long struggle to preserve our values of fearless independent journalism.

Murdoch papers’ incendiary reaction to Conroy’s reforms – led by Murdoch’s top executive in Australia Kim Williams – means Murdoch’s empire has something to lose. Two things, actually – less chance of even further dominating Australia’s MSM, and more chance of its journalism being just a little bit accountable to the ethics of journalism.

There is no chance the media reforms, weak as they are, will pass without strong action by citizens. Wilkie, Oakshott, Katter, Windsor and Thomson need to be convinced to negotiate with Labor to agree to a reform package they can sign up to and vote for quickly. They must understand that Labor has been crazy-brave to put up even this minimalist reform package, and that Labor must get this done quickly or bleed to death from Murdoch media’s relentless attacks.

Over to you. Apart from anything else, your NBN needs you.

UPDATE MARCH 17: Here are the key extracts from Conroy’s Insiders interview today:

Fixing Howard’s gift to Murdoch to become even more dominant

In 2007 the Howard government weakened our cross media laws that were introduced by Paul Keating. And we said from that day we would be campaigning to introduce a public interest test because we didn’t believe leaving the door open for further concentrations of media in this country were healthy.

I mean around the world: in the US, the top two newspaper groups cover about 14 per cent. Even in Canada, a country more akin to ourselves in terms of geography, 54 per cent coverage from the top two. In Australia it is 86 per cent coverage. We’ve already got one of the most concentrated media sectors in the world and we don’t believe it should be allowed to be shrunk any further.

Why self-regulation needs to be strengthened

I’ve been entertained by the claim that this is a solution looking for a problem. Well let me read you some quotes from evidence given publicly to the Finkelstein Inquiry. It may come as a surprise to you, Barrie, they didn’t get a lot of coverage in the mainstream media.

Let me read to you Professor Ken McKinnon who was a former chair of the Australian Press Council. He said: “I had an editor say to me if you promise not to uphold any complaints from my paper we will double our subscription, is that a deal?”

We have the current head, Julian Disney, he said: “The possibility of reduced funding remains a significant concern fuelled on occasion by the comments of publishers who dislike adverse adjudications or other council decisions. And the Council’s almost total reliance on funding from publishers, and especially from a few major publishers, is widely criticised as a crucial detraction from its real and apparent independence.”

And just finally, if I could, one more, another head chair of the Australian Press Council, Professor Dennis Pearce: “Indeed we had one period where The Australian newspaper did not like an adjudication we made and they withdrew from the council for a period of months”. And Mr Finkelstein asked: “Was that a direct consequence of the particular adjudication?” And he said: “It was indeed. They said our adjudication was wrong and they were not going to publish it, and they didn’t”.

So, people who want to argue … Read the rest of this entry »

Looking to past to prepare for future: Lessons of a Webdiary story

In AFHP, Fairfax, Margo Kingston, MSM on February 16, 2013 at 8:03 PM

by Margo Kingston
March 15 2006
Source: webdiary.com.au

Former Liberal Party federal president John Valder and Margo at a forum in the Blue Mountains, 2004.

Former Liberal Party federal president John Valder and Margo at a forum in the Blue Mountains, 2004.

18.02.2013: It seems I’m diving in again, so I’ve read about what happened last time. I decided to publish the past for anyone interested in the future of Australians for Honest Politics, as my beliefs about professionals partnering with citizens to do citizen journalism haven’t changed. This is an edited version of a speech I gave a few months after retiring due to burnout and ill health. Nancy Cato told me today there are no failures, only past experiences. Onward.

WHEN someone from the South Australian Governor’s leadership forum suggested I speak to it on ‘the media, democracy, citizenship and globalisation’ I asked if she knew I’d just failed – spectacularly – in making a go of my independent Webdiary, which I launched last August when Fairfax gave me the choice of ditching my vision or going solo.

Fairfax’s slow but relentless rejection of my work since 2001, when they made me leave Canberra and warehoused me in the backwater of the Sydney Morning Herald online, culminated, I thought then, in mid 2004.

The SMH editor Robert Whitehead vetoed the literary editor’s recommendation to publish an extract of Not Happy John! and pulled a piece on the book from the Spectrum section. Fairfax Sunday papers then picked up the rights, but the Sunday Age editor reneged on the contract with my publisher and refused to pay, while the Sun Herald would not have published the extract without the last minute intervention of the features editor. The Sun Herald also cancelled my weekly column as I was about to travel around Australia launching the book. I was told when I called to advise that my piece was on its way.

Naturally I saw the writing on the wall for Webdiary. The latest redundancy round had just closed fully subscribed, but they agreed to my offer to take redundancy in return for a contract to write for, edit and publish Webdiary for three years. I knew that three years would be it, and invested half my redundancy package in employing my brother Hamish to organise and launch Your Democracy, a website to experiment with citizen journalism with a view to moving Webdiary there when my contract expired.

But by early last year, the new publishing system which came with the contracted Webdiary, which enabled readers to comment directly through a comments box rather than by email, had overwhelmed me. Editing and publishing the ever increasing number of comments saw me chained to my computer seven days a week, unable to research or write my own stuff. So I asked for a couple of technical tweaks to cut down processing time.

From a detached viewpoint, this should have been no problem. I was on less than half my permanent employee pay doing the same job without the permanent employer add ons, a job I’d done without supervision or a writ for nearly five years. It was very popular and a unique feature of  the SMH online. It remained the sole mainstream media interactive political site, one which consciously and transparently sought to fulfil the journalist’s code of ethics while allowing anyone with something to say the opportunity to do so and to criticise me and question its framework and judgment.

Under Fred Hilmer, Fairfax was a short-term bottom-line-focused operation which saw journalism as an expensive and troublesome way of filling the space between the ads. Short term costs were the dominant factor in every decision apart from the size of mega executive bonuses. At first my request was dealt with by SMH online managers with no budget, so I disclosed my technical problems to readers, and lo and behold they came up with an idea I thought was breathtaking in its generosity and its advantages to Fairfax.

Readers offered to edit comments on a voluntary basis and to construct a new site with upgraded technical features, also for free.

Wow! Read the rest of this entry »

Brough’s read his Ashby questions: Who will make him answer?

In AFHP, Margo Kingston on January 25, 2013 at 1:45 AM

Kathy Sundstrom Sunshine Coast Daily article asked Mal Brough some of these AFHP questions.

The Slipper diary entries

1. What information regarding the diaries did you receive from Ashby?

2. What dates did it cover?

3. Why did you want the information?

4. What use did you make of the information?

5. Do you consider it ethical to gain unauthorised access to someone’s else’s diary?

6. What action would you have taken as a sitting MP if your diary was stolen and given to a political rival?

7. Have you had any contact with the AFP since the judgement?

Personal help for Ashby and Doane

8. Did you discuss getting employment for Ashby and Doane?

9. What steps did you take to assist them?

10. Did you know Ashby or Doane before they began working for Mr Slipper?

Dealings with Ashby

11. What did Ashby tell you re any possible legal action against Slipper?

12. Why didn’t you advise Ashby to follow standard and correct HR procedure if he felt he was being harassed?

13. What contact have you had with Ashby, his lawyer, agent or anyone else connected with the Court case since the judgement?

14. Do you believe Ashby is an honest person, and if so on what basis? Read the rest of this entry »

Citizen Journalists and Sunshine Coast Daily combine to corner Mal Brough

In Ashby Conspiracy, Margo Kingston, Noely Neate on January 24, 2013 at 4:38 PM

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Here is the full record of Margo Kingston’s Open Letter to the Sunshine Coast Daily editor Darren Burnett, his response and the subsequent Kathy Sundstrom article asking Mal Brough the AFHP questions.

In the interview Mal Brough claims that he is unable to comment in detail on the Ashby matter because as he says: “The matter is before appeal, I have nothing further to add,”
However the Federal Court’s Justice Rares decision stands as good law unless & until the original decision is overturned, set aside or altered on appeal. There has been no leave to appeal granted at this point.

Mal Brough, when asked why he has not responded to requests for interviews, suggests no one has asked. “I am available on my mobile“.
This is incorrect. Our citizen journalist Noely Neate got confirmation from at least three journalists below who tried.

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Read the rest of this entry »

Ashby Inquiry Proposal for Discussion

In Ashby Conspiracy, Margo Kingston on January 22, 2013 at 11:09 AM

By Margo Kingston
22 January 2013

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Two days ago Paula Matthewson, who tweets and blogs as @Dragonista, posted an open letter to the #AshbyInquiryNow campaign people challenging them on their strategy and aims. A stimulating discussion ensued in comments to her piece which showed that engaged citizens on the right, centre and left agreed that it was essential that the truth behind this matter be exposed and its perpetrators brought to account. But how?

After the discussion, I tweeted my idea for a judicial inquiry, endorsed by Paula, to three federal politicians I follow and who follow me – Craig Emerson (ALP), Rob Oakeshott (Independent) and Richard DiNatale (Greens). I had no expectation any would reply. Perhaps due to the refusal of the mainstream media to explore the smoking gun handed to them by Justice Rares in the Ashby judgement,  all expressed interest. As you’ll see, Rob has concerns at how terms of reference could be drafted, and promised to listen to people’s ideas.

The Geek and I feel Twitter has a special opportunity to constructively contribute to getting the truth behind the Ashby court case, a goal worthy of bipartisan support. No matter what your politics, under current law and practice we all are in danger of wealthy, unscrupulous people who want to destroy our lives abusing the legal system to do so. In politics, the use of this weapon could even destroy a Liberal or Labor government. Read the rest of this entry »

In Politics, Slush Happens

In Mike Seccombe, The Hanson Affair on December 4, 2012 at 11:37 PM

By Mike Seccombe
Source: The Global Mail
November 29, 2012

26 August 2003

26 August 2003

Extract 1:

Abbott insisted the whole thing was done at his own initiative, and that neither John Howard nor anyone else in the government had been involved.

Said Abbott in our interview: “There was myself and two other trustees. We raised … it may not have been $100,000 but it was certainly close to $100,000 and the job of Australians For Honest Politics was to fund court cases against One Nation.”

He said most of the money had been spent trying, unsuccessfully, to get another One Nation defector, Hanson’s former private secretary Barbara Hazelton, to take legal action to stop the payment of $470,000 in public election funding, following the failure of similar action by Mr Sharples.

There was more to the story. You get the drift, though. And the irony, too, given that Abbott — who set up his slush fund 14 years ago — is now leading the call for the removal of Prime Minister Julia Gillard for her role in setting up a slush fund 20 years ago.

Extract 2:

Abbott’s actions 14 years ago were a manifestation of such internecine nastiness. Let us not forget that Pauline Hanson was a creation of the Liberal Party, which selected her as its candidate for the seat of Oxley in Queensland. Abbott himself was even more deeply involved; he employed the man who would later become Hanson’s Svengali, the egregious David Oldfield. (Just another of those interesting personal associations which mark Abbott’s career, like BA Santamaria, George Pell, Cory Bernardi, et al.)

Then of course the Liberal Party and Abbott got rid of Hanson and Oldfield, but adopted much of the substance of One Nation’s distasteful policies on race issues. Then they set up a slush fund to try to ruin Hanson.

Full Story at the The Global Mail.

Abbott faces questions over Hanson slush fund

In Guest Author, The Hanson Affair on December 4, 2012 at 2:10 AM

Source: The 730 Report ABC TV
26 August 2003

Kerry O'Brien

KERRY O’BRIEN: Welcome to the program.
A political furore has erupted over revelations that one of the Howard Government’s most senior ministers, Tony Abbott, set up a slush fund to pay for legal challenges to Pauline Hanson and her party, One Nation.

Despite repeated denials back in 1998, Mr Abbott last night acknowledged to the ‘Sydney Morning Herald’ newspaper he’d raised almost $100,000 in an attempt to fund actions against One Nation.

While he and his colleagues were refusing to make any comment today, the admission is a setback for the Government.

It clearly suggests Mr Abbott did not tell the truth in the affair at the time, and has provoked government fears of a backlash from voters responding angrily to Pauline Hanson’s jailing.

Then, today, Mr Abbott’s stalking horse, One Nation dissident Terry Sharples, claimed that the PM was also aware of the machinations.

Heather Ewart reports.

HEATHER EWART: Pauline Hanson is wreaking political havoc once again.

The severity of her sentence handed down last week raised widespread public debate and was questioned by various politicians across all parties, from the PM down.

JOHN HOWARD, PM: Like many other people, I find the sentence certainly very long and very severe.

HEATHER EWART: But how the political wind can shift so quickly.

Now it’s turned to a desperate bid by the Liberal Party to fob off revelations today that one of John Howard’s most senior Ministers, Tony Abbott, had set up a $100,000 slush fund to ruin Pauline Hanson.

And the Labor Party is having a field day.

CRAIG EMERSON, OPPOSITION INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS SPOKESMAN: The PM has sought to gain the support of One Nation voters by expressing sympathy for Pauline Hanson and yet his senior minister was up to his neck in raising funds and disbursing funds to ensure that she was prosecuted. Read the rest of this entry »

A question of character?

In Ashby Conspiracy, Margo Kingston, The Hanson Affair on December 3, 2012 at 10:05 AM

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by Margo Kingston
Source: Independent Australia.net
30th November, 2012

My mouth fell open when I heard Abbott’s final flourish in Thursday’s speech denouncing Gillard as unfit for office. I remembered, suddenly, vividly, Tony Abbott’s very own slush fund. Could he too have forgotten?

It’s ancient history now, Abbott’s slush fund ― but less ancient than the slush fund now in the news. And there’s many unanswered questions about it, and him.

In 1998, Abbott privately agreed to bankroll Terry Sharples, a disaffected One Nation member, to take legal action against Pauline Hanson.

Less than 2 weeks later, he categorically denied to the ABC that he had done so, and 18 months later he repeated the lie, this time to the Sydney Morning Herald’s Deborah Snow. But when she
confronted him with his signed personal guarantee, he said that:

‘…misleading the ABC is not quite the same as misleading the Parliament as a political crime’.

He then created a slush fund he called Australians for Honest Politics and raised $100,000 for it from 12 people he declined to name. The fund began bankrolling more court actions against Hanson and her party.

And there it rested, his lies largely unknown to the public, until court proceedings by Sharples he’d helped kick-start finally resulted in her being jailed.

The overwhelming majority of Australians, like her or hate her, hated that, blamed Abbott for setting the legal wheels in motion, and wanted to know the details.

In a famous interview, Kerry O’Brien demolished Abbott’s facade of misunderstood nice and proved to a much bigger audience that he was a serial liar.

But there’s more!

The Sydney Morning Herald’s Mike Seccombe then reported that, in 1998, the Australian Electoral Commission asked Abbott to disclose his donors, as required by law.

He refused, telling the Commission that before seeking donations:

‘I spoke with one of Australia’s leading electoral lawyers who assured me that the trust would not be covered by disclosure provisions.’

The AEC took him at his word and closed the file until forced to reopen it in 2003.

Abbott had lied again! Read the rest of this entry »

Tony Abbott’s unholy dealings with the AEC

In Christian Kerr, The Hanson Affair on December 3, 2012 at 10:02 AM

By Christian Kerr
Source: Crikey
30th December 204

Has Tony Abbott been protected by some slip-shod work at the Australian Electoral Commission? Read on.

Yours truly is a friend of Margo Kingston’s, but when I reviewed Not Happy John in July I had the following to say:

“Margo pinpoints everything that’s wrong with the Howard Government – but, being Margo, wants to talk about more. Much more. Too much more.

“Eighty odd pages of brilliant polemic on matters ranging the corruption of the system supposed to protect the integrity of Australia’s electoral system downwards is obscured by 350 pages of tangents. It’s so Margo. Passionate, captivating and utterly infuriating all at once.

“Buy it and persevere. Yes, you’ll want to bin it at times. Skip some parts altogether – the Hanan Ashrawi peace prize folly chapter, definitely – but plug on. Read the damn thing.”

I don’t think Margo liked my remarks, but six months and an election later, I feel that they’re even more applicable – particularly after reading The Australian today.

Towards the end of Not Happy John there’s a fascinating chapter called “Australians for Honest Politicians”. It’s lengthy and impossible to summarise adequately here, but is perhaps the most comprehensive journalistic investigation of the campaign Tony Abbott conducted against Pauline Hanson under the Australians for Honest Politics banner. It’s also scary as all hell. And – surprise, surprise – it got completely buried by the hype and hyperbole surrounding much of the other material in the book.

The chapter makes some serious allegations about the truthfulness of Abbott’s public statements about Australian for Honest Politics.

More concerning, it also examines the legality of Abbott’s activities in his campaign against Hanson – and, remember, whatever you think of Margo, she is a lawyer by training.

Margo looked in detail at the way in which the Australian Electoral Commission – the supposed guarantor of the integrity of the way in which the elections that are fundamental to our democracy are run and the integrity and propriety of their participants – dealt with Australians for Honest Politics.

Given its subject matter, it deserved to be higher up the book. Much of its contents, alas, were obscured in Margoisms, too. The key conclusion, however, was unmistakeable. Read the rest of this entry »