AUSTRALIAN INDEPENDENT NEWS SITES
Australia’s mainstream media is heavily controlled or manipulated by the government. As a direct result the country’s most interesting journalism is now to be found at the margins of the media landscape. Here’s where to find it.
Michael West Media is Australia’s leading investigative news site, an independent media publisher covering the rising power of corporations over democracy. It is non-partisan, does not take advertising and is funded by readers. Its investigations focus on big business, particularly multinational tax-avoiders, financial markets and the banking and energy sectors.
Founder Michael West spent eight years as a commentator with The Australian and another eight years with the Sydney Morning Herald as a journalist and editor. Much admired within the profession, West is a Walkley-award winner and Adjunct Professor at the University of Sydney’s School of Social and Political Sciences.
Pearls & Irritations is one of Australia’s leading public policy journals and operates from a broadly left-liberal perspective. It began as a blog in 2013. It’s rationale: “We hold good policy development to be the foundation of good politics. We respect ideas, including contrarian ones, and value the free exchange of ideas as the means to help Australia flourish. Pearls & Irritation aims to provide a platform for this exchange of ideas from a broadly left-liberal perspective.
Founding editor John Menadue was formerly Secretary of Prime Minister and Cabinet, Ambassador to Japan, Secretary of Immigration and CEO of Qantas. He has managed to attract a significant number of distinguished commentators to his forum.
Crikey is an Australian electronic magazine comprising a website and email newsletter available to subscribers. It is subscription only, which tends to diminish its impact. Crikey was founded by activist shareholder Stephen Mayne, who in 2003 was forced to sell his house to settle defamation cases.
The publication remains bolshie, although it often veers to a solidly orthodox left stance. In 2005 Mayne sold Crikey to Private Media Partners, a company, owned by former Editor-in-chief of the Sydney Morning Herald, Eric Beecher, for A$1 million. Beecher added considerable professional polish to the publication and it continues to attract a high level of expertise, including current Editor in Chief Peter Fray, a former senior editor at the SMH.
Australia’s leading public health journal was founded by Melissa Sweet, one of the country’s most senior and committed health journalists. The publication has been particularly active in the current era. It has attracted a talented team from around the country.
Established in June 2010, IA supports quality investigative journalism, as well as citizen journalism and a diversity of voices: “We believe Australians are short-changed by the mass media — and so this publication is dedicated to seeking out the truth and informing the public.”
Here is a perfect example of the tone of the publication: “Journalism is broken and possibly dying: The ruling class is getting away with implementing its brutal agenda because the market-based business model of journalism is fundamentally broken. The News Establishment clings to its Fourth Estate myths and self-indulgent boosterism. They pat each other on the back as they meekly walk out onto the dole queues. Journalists don’t and can’t acknowledge their own roles in the collapse of trust.”
TOTT News lies well outside the traditional, and even the alternative traditional media in Australia. Its productions have an almost prophetic tone. Obsessed with the loss of personal freedoms in A Brave New World, they have proved remarkable prescient in the current era. Their articles are well written, well researched and eschew both the traditional left and right obsessions of most other journalism in the country.
The Australian Institute of International Affairs (AIIA) is an independent, non-profit organisation promoting interest in and understanding of international affairs in Australia.
It provides a forum for discussion and debate, but does not seek to formulate its own institutional views. The institute arranges programs of lectures, seminars, workshops, conferences and other discussions, and sponsors research and publications. The AIIA was formed in 1924 and established as a federal body in 1933 and is the only nationwide organisation of its kind in Australia. It is financed by members’ contributions, a small government subvention and tax deductible donations from individuals and businesses.
The Saturday Paper is an Australian weekly newspaper, first published on 1 March 2014. It is notable for being launched in hard copy, as an online newspaper and in mobile news format. The paper is circulated throughout Australian capital cities and major regional centres. Since its launch The Saturday Paper has maintained a focus on long-form journalism and in-depth coverage of current affairs, arts and Australian politics.
The paper was established essentially as a result of the perceived lack of intellectuality and poor quality of the journalism in its mainstream rivals. It benefits from being very well resourced as a result of being established and supported by property developer Morry Schwartz, who has had a long term interest in Australian publishing and is also the publisher of the influential periodicals The Monthly and The Quarterly. He is also the owner of the niche upmarket publisher Black Inc.
Lively, irrelevant, youthful, sometimes dismissed as “right wing” because it steps outside the groupthink progressive stances which characterise much of the poseur intellectual life of Australia. It derives considerable energy from its politically incorrect stances and makes extensive use of new media. It is another outlet which has risen in response to the void created the disdain of mainstream media for opinions and experiences of the general public.
Often enough dismissed as right wing, but ironically de-funded by a conservative government afraid of ideas from anywhere and everywhere, Quadrant engages in history and culture wars with a range of bitter successes and arguable analyses. And they also run a range of well thought out material that almost nobody else will touch simply because it is unfashionable. Edited by the redoubtable cultural warrior Keith Windschuttle Quadrant offers a vigorous, fiercely intellectual opposition to the state run, culturally left Australian Broadcasting Corporation and to the vacuous coverage of the Murdoch run press, which has 70% of the nation’s daily newspapers.
A Sense of Place Magazine is the brainchild of veteran Australian journalist John Stapleton. It began life in 2017 as a book blog. The publication is politically neutral, draws from a wide range of sources, crosses boundaries, is often in the face of the authorities and assumes an intelligent audience.