The Australian

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The Australian
The Australian cover 26 July 2017.jpg
The Australian front cover on 26 July 2017
FormatBroadsheet, Online, App
Owner(s)News Corp Australia
EditorJohn Lehmann
Editor-in-chiefChris Dore
Founded14 July 1964; 54 years ago (1964-07-14)
Headquarters2 Holt street, Surry Hills, New South Wales, Australia

The Australian is a broadsheet newspaper published in Australia from Monday to Saturday each week since 14 July 1964. Available nationally (in each state and territory), The Australian is the country's major nationally distributed newspaper,[1] alongside other nationally distributed newspapers like the business-focused Australian Financial Review and The Saturday Paper. The Australian is owned by News Corp Australia.

Parent companies[edit]

The Australian is published by News Corp Australia, an asset of News Corp, which also owns the sole daily newspapers in Brisbane, Adelaide, Hobart and Darwin, and the most circulated metropolitan daily newspapers in Sydney and Melbourne.[2] News Corp's Chairman and Founder is Rupert Murdoch.

The Australian integrates content from overseas newspapers owned by News Corp Australia's international parent News Corp, including The Wall Street Journal and The Times of London.[2]


The first edition of The Australian was published by Rupert Murdoch on 15 July 1964, becoming the third national newspaper in Australia following shipping newspaper Daily Commercial News (1891)[3] and Australian Financial Review (1951). Unlike other original Murdoch newspapers, it is not a tabloid publication.[4] At the time, a national paper was considered commercially unfeasible, as newspapers mostly relied on local advertising for their revenue. The Australian was printed in Canberra, then plates flown to other cities for copying.[5] From its inception the paper struggled for financial viability and ran at a loss for several decades.[4]

The Australian's first editor was Maxwell Newton, before leaving the newspaper within a year,[5] and was succeeded by Walter Kommer, and then by Adrian Deamer. Under his editorship The Australian encouraged female journalists, and was the first mainstream daily newspaper to hire an Aboriginal reporter, John Newfong.[6]

During the 1975 election, campaigning against the Whitlam government by its owner led to the newspaper's journalists striking over editorial direction.[5]

Editor-in-chief Chris Mitchell was appointed in 2002 and retired on 11 December 2015; he was replaced by Paul Whittaker formerly editor-in-chief of The Daily Telegraph.[7]

In May 2010, the newspaper launched the first Australian newspaper iPad app.[8]

In October 2011, The Australian announced that it was planning to become the first general newspaper in Australia to introduce a paywall, with the introduction of a $2.95 per week charge for readers to view premium content on its website, mobile phone and tablet applications.[9] The paywall was officially launched on 24 October, with a free 3 month trial.[10]

In September 2017, The Australian launched their Chinese website.[11]

In October 2018, it was announced that Chris Dore, former editor of The Daily Telegraph, would be taking over as editor-in-chief.[12]


Daily sections include National News (The Nation) followed by Worldwide News (Worldwide), Sport and Business News (Business). Contained within each issue is a prominent op/ed section, including regular columnists and non-regular contributors. Other regular sections include Technology (AustralianIT), Media (edited by Darren Davidson since 2015), Features, Legal Affairs, Aviation, Defence, Horse-Racing (Thoroughbreds), The Arts, Health, Wealth and Higher Education. A Travel & Indulgence section is included on Saturdays, along with The Inquirer, an in-depth analysis of major stories of the week, alongside much political commentary. Saturday lift-outs include Review, focusing on books, arts, film and television, and The Weekend Australian Magazine, the only national weekly glossy insert magazine. A glossy magazine, Wish, is published on the first Friday of the month.

"The Australian has long maintained a focus on issues relating to Aboriginal disadvantage."[2][context?] It also devotes attention to the information technology, Defence and mining industries,[2] as well as the science, economics, and politics of climate change. It has also published numerous "special reports" into Australian energy policy.

The Australian Literary Review was a monthly supplement from September 2006 to October 2011.[13]

Editorial and opinion pages[edit]

Former editor Paul Kelly stated in 1991 that "The Australian has established itself in the marketplace as a newspaper that strongly supports economic libertarianism".[14] Laurie Clancy asserted in 2004 that the newspaper "is generally conservative in tone and heavily oriented toward business; it has a range of columnists of varying political persuasions but mostly to the right."[15] Former editor-in-chief Chris Mitchell has said that the editorial and op-ed pages of the newspaper are centre-right,[16] "comfortable with a mainstream Labor prime minister Kevin Rudd, just as it was quite comfortable with John Howard."[2][when?] In 2007 Crikey stated that "it has been in sympathy with the agenda of federal governments of both colours", and hence had "provided both turf and fuel for the culture warriors of the Right" during the Howard years.[17]

The Australian presents varying views on climate change, including giving space to articles and authors who agree with the scientific consensus, such as Tim Flannery, those who agree with the cause but who disagree with the methods of coping with it, such as Bjørn Lomborg,[18] through to those who disagree that the causes or even presence of global warming are understood, such as Ian Plimer. A 2011 study of the previous seven years of articles claimed that four out of every five articles were opposed to taking action on climate change.[19][20]

In 2010, the ABC's Media Watch presenter Paul Barry accused The Australian of waging a campaign against the Australian Greens, and the Greens' federal leader Bob Brown wrote that The Australian has "stepped out of the fourth estate by seeing itself as a determinant of democracy in Australia." In response, The Australian opined that "Greens leader Bob Brown has accused The Australian of trying to wreck the alliance between the Greens and Labor. We wear Senator Brown's criticism with pride. We believe he and his Green colleagues are hypocrites; that they are bad for the nation; and that they should be destroyed at the ballot box."[21]

The Australian has been criticised by some other commentators for promoting a right wing agenda, and encouraging the growing political polarisation between left and right in Australia.[22][23][24]

Notable stories[edit]

AWB scandal[edit]

In 2005, Senior journalist at The Australian Caroline Overington broke a story about how the Australian Wheat Board funnelled hundreds of millions of dollars to Saddam Hussein's regime on the eve of the Iraq War. This story became known as the AWB oil-for-wheat scandal, and resulted in a commission of inquiry into the matter.[25]

AWU Affair[edit]

In 2011, Glenn Milne reported on the allegations against Prime Minister Julia Gillard concerning the AWU affair including a claim regarding Gillard's living arrangements with Wilson.[26] Gillard contacted the chief executive of The Australian, resulting in the story being removed and an apology and retraction posted in its place.

On 18 August 2012, Hedley Thomas reported that Julia Gillard left her job as a partner with law firm Slater & Gordon as a direct result of a secret internal invesitigation in 1995 into controversial work she had done for her then boyfriend.[27] However, the story was ignored for a long time by other media outlets. The ABC for instance did not cover the story until after Gillard held a press conference to respond to the allegations against her.[28] The story became a major political issue, resulting in Julie Bishop questioning Gillard in parliament and Gillard holding another press conference to respond to the evidence against her.

In 2013 the Fair Work Commission commenced initial inquiries into allegations of improper union financial conduct, and the Opposition Liberal-National Coalition promised a judicial inquiry into the AWU affair.

In December 2013, the Fairfax press reported that the newly elected Abbott Government would call a Royal Commission into trade union slush funds.[29] The Royal Commission into trade unions subsequently conducted hearings with Ralph Blewett as the first witness and Julia Gillard also giving evidence.

The Teacher’s Pet[edit]

From 17 May 2018 The Australian has been running a podcast series named The Teacher’s Pet, an investigation into the 1982 disappearance of Lynette Dawson. The series has had 28 million downloads,[30] was the number one Australian podcast and reached number one in the UK, Canada and New Zealand.[31] The Teacher’s Pet is investigated and written by Hedley Thomas.[30]

On 5 December 2018, several months after The Teacher’s Pet was first broadcast, Dawson was arrested for the murder of his wife, Lynette Dawson. He was extradited to Sydney on 6 December 2018 to face trial. He appeared at Central Local Court that day and was refused bail and has been remanded in custody.[32] On 17 December 2018 Dawson was granted bail and his family paid A$1.5 million bail to be released.[33]

Who The Hell is Hamish?[edit]

Following the success of The Teacher’s Pet, The Australian launched a follow up podcast in February 2019. The podcast named Who The Hell is Hamish? follows Hamish Mclaren and his trail of scams across Australia, Britain, Canada, the US and Hong Kong. The eight part series features The Weekend Australia's Greg Bearup.[34]

Columnists and contributors[edit]

Regular columnists include Janet Albrechtsen, Troy Bramston, Paul Kelly, Chris Kenny, Brendan O'Neill, Nicolas Rothwell, Imre Salusinszky, Niki Savva, Angela Shanahan, Dennis Shanahan, Greg Sheridan, Judith Sloan, Emma Jane, Peter van Onselen, Graham Richardson and Phillip Adams. It also features daily cartoons from Peter Nicholson.

Occasional contributors include Gregory Melleuish, Kevin Donnelly, Caroline Overington, Tom Switzer, James Allan, Hal G.P. Colebatch, Luke Slattery, Noel Pearson, Bettina Arndt, Julia Gillard, Kevin Rudd, Tony Abbott and Lucian Boz.

Former columnists include Mike Steketee, David Burchell, Michael Stutchbury, Simon Adamek, George Megalogenis, Glenn Milne, Cordelia Fine,[35] Alan Wood, Michael Costa, P. P. McGuinness, Michael Costello, Frank Devine, Matt Price and Christopher Pearson. Former cartoonists include Bill Leak.

Australian of the Year Award[edit]

In 1971, The Australian instituted their own "Australian of the Year award" separate from and often different to the Australian of the Year chosen by the government's National Australia Day Council. Starting in 1968, the official award had long had links to the Victorian Australia Day Council, and at the time there was a public perception it was state based. As a national newspaper, The Australian felt they were better situated to create an award that more truly represented all of Australia.[36] Nominees are suggested by readers, decided upon by an editorial board, and awarded in January of every year.[37]


As of March 2015, the weekday edition circulation was 104,165 and the weekend edition was 230,182, falling 6.5 per cent and 3.3 per cent respectively compared to the same period in 2014. The Australian had 67,561 paid digital subscribers in the same period.[38]

In the June quarter of 2013, the average print circulation for The Australian on weekdays was 116,655 and 254,891 for The Weekend Australian. Both were down (9.8 and 10.8 %) compared to the June quarter the previous year.[39]

According to third-party web analytics providers Alexa and SimilarWeb, The Australian's website,, is the 72nd and 223rd most visited website in Australia respectively, as of August 2015.[40][41] SimilarWeb rates the site as the 23rd most visited news website in Australia, attracting almost 3 million visitors per month.[41][42]

According to Roy Morgan Research, in September 2018 The Australian had a readership of 303,000.[1]


In November 2006, The Australian journalist Caroline Overington was awarded both the Sir Keith Murdoch Award for Journalism and a Walkley award for investigative journalism over her coverage of the AWB Oil-for-Wheat Scandal for the paper.[43] The following year, Hedley Thomas won the Gold Walkley Award for his coverage of the Haneef case.

Also in 2007, the newspaper's website won the Pacific Area Newspaper Publishers' Association Online Newspaper of the Year award.[44]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b "Australian Newspaper Readership, 12 months to September 2018". Roy Morgan. September 2018. Retrieved 9 January 2019.
  2. ^ a b c d e Manning, James (10 March 2008). "National daily plans new business website and monthly colour magazine". MediaWeek. Sydney, Australia (854): 3, 7, 8.
  3. ^ Daily commercial news and shipping list, National Library of Australia Trove, archived from the original on 26 March 2014
  4. ^ a b Cryle, Denis (2008). Murdoch's flagship (PDF). Melbourne University Press. ISBN 978-0-522-85675-0. Archived from the original (PDF) on 22 March 2012.
  5. ^ a b c Tiffen, Rodney. "The Australian at forty-five". Archived from the original on 21 April 2013. Retrieved 16 April 2013.
  6. ^ Cryle, Denis (2008). Murdoch's Flagship: The First Twenty-five Years of the Australian Newspaper. Academic Monographs. p. 174. ISBN 9780522859911 – via Google books.
  7. ^ Davidson, Darren (2 December 2015). "Chris Mitchell retires, Paul Whittaker new editor-in-chief of The Australian". The Australian. Retrieved 4 January 2016.
  8. ^ Omar Dabbagh (17 May 2010). "The Australian launches iPad newspaper app". PC World. IDG Communications. Archived from the original on 22 May 2010. Retrieved 3 April 2011.
  9. ^ Dick, Tim (18 October 2011). "Australian to charge $2.95 a week for all online content". The Age. Melbourne. Archived from the original on 18 October 2011.
  10. ^ "Paywall turns The Australian gold". B&T Weekly. 9 November 2011. Retrieved 31 December 2018 – via Proquest. (Subscription required (help)).
  11. ^ Kallios, Natarsha; Connellan, Matt (21 September 2017). "The Australian newspaper launches Chinese language website". SBS News. Retrieved 20 October 2018.
  12. ^ Duke, Jennifer (7 October 2018). "Paul Whittaker appointed Sky News CEO in News Corp shake-up". The Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved 2 January 2019.
  13. ^ "The Australian Literary Review". Austlit. 23 October 2015. Retrieved 5 January 2019.
  14. ^ Manne, Robert, ed. (2005). Do Not Disturb: Is the Media Failing Australia?. Black Inc. p. 60. ISBN 9780975076941.
  15. ^ Clancy, Laurie (2004). Culture and customs of Australia. Greenwood Publishing Group. p. 126. ISBN 978-0-313-32169-6.
  16. ^ Mitchell, Chris (9 March 2006). The Media Report Archived 17 January 2008 at the Wayback Machine. Australian Broadcasting Company.
  17. ^ "Crikey Bias-o-meter: The newspapers". Crikey. 26 June 2007. Retrieved 23 December 2018.
  18. ^ Jowit, Juliette (30 August 2010). "Bjørn Lomborg: $100bn a year needed to fight climate change". The Guardian. London. Archived from the original on 9 November 2013.
  19. ^ Lowe, Ian (November 2011). "Newspaper Biased Against Climate Change". Australasian Science. Archived from the original on 22 September 2017.
  20. ^ "News Corp is Bad News". ABC News. 21 November 2011. Archived from the original on 9 February 2018. Retrieved 1 August 2018.
  21. ^ Barry, Paul. "Gunning for The Greens". Media Watch. Archived from the original on 5 May 2013. Retrieved 20 March 2013.
  22. ^ Muller, Denis (19 June 2017). "Mixed media: how Australia's newspapers became locked in a war of left versus right". The Conversation. Archived from the original on 8 August 2018. Retrieved 8 August 2018.
  23. ^ Simons, Margaret (June 2014). "The decline of the 'Australian'". The Monthly. Archived from the original on 7 July 2018. Retrieved 1 August 2018.
  24. ^ Buckell, Jim (7 December 2015). "Ideology runs rampant at Rupert Murdoch's Australian newspaper". The Guardian. Archived from the original on 8 August 2018. Retrieved 8 August 2018.
  25. ^ Caroline Overington (May 2007). "Kickback:Inside the Australian Wheat Board scandal". Allen & Unwin. Archived from the original on 30 June 2016.
  26. ^ Wright, Tony (30 August 2011). "Bombshell for Gillard explodes under Murdoch press". The Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved 22 August 2012.
  27. ^ Hedley Thomas (August 18, 2012). "Revealed: Julia Gillard lost her job after law firm's secret investigation". The Australian. News Limited. Retrieved March 30, 2013.
  28. ^ Chris Kenny (February 16, 2013). "Aunty still in denial, but proving political bias is as easy as ABC". The Australian. News Limited. Retrieved February 16, 2013.
  29. ^ "Abbott government to launch royal commission into union 'slush funds'". The Sydney Morning Herald. 12 December 2013.
  30. ^ a b Cockburn, Paige; Sas, Nick (6 December 2018). "The power of the podcast — in Lynette Dawson's case was it a help or hindrance?". ABC News. Retrieved 30 December 2018.
  31. ^ David Murray (17 August 2018). "The Teacher's Pet: Podcast on hold pending further developments". The Australian. News Corporation. Retrieved 25 October 2018.
  32. ^ "Former league star at the heart of The Teacher's Pet podcast lands in Sydney". News Limited. 6 December 2018. Retrieved 6 December 2018.
  33. ^ Cornwall, Deborah. "Chris Dawson". The Australian. Retrieved 17 December 2018.
  34. ^ Paul Wallbank (8 February 2019). "The Australian launches Teacher's Pet sequel, 'Who The Hell Is Hamish?'". Mumbrella. Retrieved 8 February 2019.
  35. ^ "Cordelia Fine". Cordelia Fine. 31 July 2011. Archived from the original on 27 December 2013. Retrieved 27 December 2013.
  36. ^ "Whose Australian of the Year?". Australian of the Year Awards. Retrieved 7 January 2019.
  37. ^ Walker, Jamie (21 January 2017). "The Australian's Australians of the Year 2017". The Australian. Retrieved 7 January 2019.
  38. ^ Davidson, Darren (May 15, 2015). "Newspaper circulation declines moderating as digital sales soar". The Australian. Retrieved May 18, 2015. (Subscription required (help)).
  39. ^ Knott, Matthew (16 August 2013). "Newspaper circulation results shocker: the contagion edition". Crikey. Private Media. Archived from the original on 27 August 2013. Retrieved 26 August 2013.
  40. ^ " Site Overview". Alexa. Archived from the original on 5 March 2016. Retrieved 2 August 2015.
  41. ^ a b " Analytics". SimilarWeb. Archived from the original on 24 September 2015. Retrieved 2 August 2015.
  42. ^ "Top 50 sites in Australia for News And Media". SimilarWeb. Archived from the original on 25 August 2015. Retrieved 2 August 2015.
  43. ^ Kickback: Inside the Australian Wheat Board scandal Archived 10 April 2011 at the Wayback Machine. Allen & Unwin.
  44. ^ Elks, Sarah (9 August 2007). The Australian wins online newspaper award.

External links[edit]