9.8 C
Byron Shire
May 17, 2021

The life of an intrepid reporter

Latest News

Bluesfest announces October dates for 2021 festival

After two disappointing cancelations of their event, Bluesfest has announced that they will hold the 2021 festival over the...

Other News

A grubby business

Cr Cate Coorey, Byron Shire Council Among the reasons Simon Richardson gave for his retirement from the mayoralty was the...

NewsCorp announces August revival of regional news print in QLD

Less than a week after the two major NewsCorp-owned outlets on the Northern Rivers lost their websites and redirected readers via The Daily Telegraph (TDT), sister publications in Queensland announced almost the opposite.

Diverse and resilient

Andrya Hart, The Channon After statements and actions by some Rous councillors, I am left wondering how many refusals to...

Cringe worthy PM

Keith Duncan, Pimlico After cringing at the spectacle of Scott Morrison blatantly lying to President Biden during that virtual climate...

False impressions

Fast Buck$, Coorabell I was under the impression that, upon the mayor resigning, the deputy mayor would automatically get the...

Interview with Mell and Zara from the Byron Comedy Fest

After a year under a COVID-19 hiatus, The Byron Comedy Fest is back! Next Thursday sees this fledgling event open the doors to its second weekend presenting all that is fabulous and funny. Set on the Byron beachfront at the Byron Surf Club and styled as a classy bespoke beachside speakeasy, this event is the creative lovechild of besties Zara Noruzi and Mell Coppin.

[author]Story and photo by Luis Feliu[/author]

Veteran journalist Alex Mitchell singled out two of the institutions he once admired for a severe caning when he launched his memoir Come The Revolution at a packed function in Murwillumbah last week.

The respected journalist, who retired to the Tweed Valley with his wife Judith White several years ago, told a captive audience of around 100 people at Murwillumbah Services Memorial Club that the Australian Labor Party (ALP) and the Murdoch press had both sunk irrevocably into disrepute and become part of the ‘system’ he now loathed and fought against.

Mr Mitchell, an occasional writer for The Echo, said the ALP had changed for the worse over the years and was no longer the reformist party that he, his parents and grandparents had grown up with as ‘true believers’.

He recalled the time when the Labor Party under Arthur Caldwell contained 26 different professions ‘but now they only have six’.

As an example of how the party had lost its way, he described the debate over same-sex marriage which took up a big slice of media attention and debate at last weekend’s ALP national conference as a ‘waste of time’, as the policy should have been adopted ‘50 years ago’.

He said the ALP was now run by the right-wing faction which was more interested in its own power and was easily influenced by big business to the extent where ‘foreign mining interests can get their way and in fact got rid of Rudd’ when the former prime minister proposed a super profits tax on them.

But it was the influence of media mogul Rupert Murdoch, who gave him his first big break in the heady world of metropolitan journalism nearly half a century ago, which he reserved for a special bucketing.

Mr Mitchell said that when he started working with Murdoch’s News Ltd in the early 1960s, first with the Mt Isa Mail then with Sydney’s Daily Mirror, he wore it like ‘a badge of honour’ but the media proprietor, as he expanded his empire over the years, had ‘perverted’ journalism in Australia and around the world to achieve his own political and business ends, especially during the Thatcher and Reagan years.

He said the Murdoch empire’s naked intrusion and corruption of politics and national affairs was ‘vile’ and the political system as he knew it had been ‘perverted’ in Australia, the UK and the US where his newspapers have the most influence.

‘But worse of all was the corruption of political parties in order to advance his own interests,’ he said, ‘to the point where the ALP is now part of that system’ with its subservience to and patronage of the Murdoch press.

Mr Mitchell said Rupert Murdoch, whom he once respected, had, over the years as his power grew, transformed into a shadow of his former self, which was strikingly highlighted at the recent UK parliamentary hearings into the phone-hacking scandal which engulfed his newspapers.

‘I couldn’t help thinking how far he’d fallen and how much he’d changed since I knew him. When he appeared at those hearings he looked terrible; it was sad, and reminded me of the character Gollum from The Hobbitt,’ he said to much mirth from the audience.

Good friend Julia Hancock, who introduced him at the book launch, said Mr Mitchell was an active and enthusiastic participant of Uki Garden Club activities and that one of his gardening exploits ‘almost too bizarre to be true is the time when he found himself planting trees in the desert outside Tripoli with Vanessa Redgrave as part of General Gaddafi’s “greening the desert project”’.

Ms Hancock said, ‘these days the only dirt he digs is at his beautiful Eviron property where he gardens happily with his partner’ and ‘they have both become well-loved members of their local community’ but ‘this peaceful rural idyll has come late in an intense life and after a turbulent career in journalism and politics that began at age 14’.

Come the Revolution: A memoir is published by NewSouth Books and available at all leading bookstores.

Image: Journalist Alex Mitchell signed many copies of his book at its launch this week, including one for visitor Cathy Martin, from Wollongong.

Support The Echo

Keeping the community together and the community voice loud and clear is what The Echo is about. More than ever we need your help to keep this voice alive and thriving in the community.

Like all businesses we are struggling to keep food on the table of all our local and hard working journalists, artists, sales, delivery and drudges who keep the news coming out to you both in the newspaper and online. If you can spare a few dollars a week – or maybe more – we would appreciate all the support you are able to give to keep the voice of independent, local journalism alive.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

Power outage in Byron Shire

Power supply company Essential Energy says that approximately 1,780 homes and businesses were without supply this morning.

Filming of Byron Baes begins with no indigenous consultation

Filming of the Netflix series Byron Baes has reportedly commenced without any effort made by the show's production company – Eureka Productions – to consult with local indigenous groups or the local Council.

Byron Comedy Festival launched with a laugh

At a hilarious sold-out launch of the Byron Comedy Festival, Dr Karl Kruszelnicki had the entire Byron Bay Surf Club giggling last night

School Strike for Climate next Friday

Next Friday from 10am Byron Shire students will be demanding political action on the climate emergency in what they and their supporters say is our present, future and reality.