Sunday, 25 May 2025

Books of Journalism

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Hideout in the Apocalypse is about surveillance and the crushing of Australia’s larrikin culture.
In the last two years the Abbott/Turnbull government has prosecuted the greatest assault on freedom on freedom of speech in the nation’s history.
The government knew from international research that when it introduced the panopticon, universal surveillance, into Australia it would have a chilling effect on the culture. When people know they are being watched, they behave differently. Dissent is stifled, conformity becomes the norm. This is the so-called chilling effect.
Forced to use novelistic techniques to tell a fantastical story, in his latest book Hideout from the Apocalypse veteran reporter John Stapleton confirms the old adage, truth is stranger than fiction.


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The daily robbing, bashing, drugging, extortion and murder of foreign tourists on Thai soil, along with numerous scandals involving unsafe facilities and well established scams, has led to frequent predictions that Thailand’s multi-billion-dollar tourist industry will self-destruct. Instead tourist numbers more than doubled in the decade to 2014. The world might not have come to the hometowns of the many visitors fascinated by Thailand, but it certainly came to the Land of Smiles.

Thailand: Deadly Destination exposes one of the worst scandals in the annals of modern tourism, the high number of deaths and mishaps befalling tourists. Thailand is the single most dangerous destination on Earth for Australians, while more British tourists die in Thailand than any other country bar Spain, which has 12 times the level of visitation. Scandalously, the US State Department has refused to release statistics on the number of American citizens dying in Thailand each year.



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Terror in Australia: Workers' Paradise Lost, by veteran journalist John Stapleton, is a beautifully written snapshot of a pivotal turning point in the history of the so-called Lucky Country.  This book is a side-winding missile into the heart of Australian hypocrisy. 

In 2015 there were well attended Reclaim Australia demonstrations in every major capital city, all protesting what the demonstrators saw as the growing Islamisation of Australia, along with countering anti-racism demonstrations. There were frequent violent clashes, hundreds of police were forced to form lines separating the demonstrators in Sydney and Melbourne, there were a significant number of arrests and injuries, and dozens of people were treated for the effects of capsicum spray. The terror alert was at its highest level ever, the country was engaged in an unpopular and discredited war in Iraq and Syria, and relations between the government and an increasingly radicalised Muslim minority had broken down. An optimistic, freedom loving country with an irreverent, larrikin culture and a wildly optimistic view of its place in the world lost faith in its own story. Well documented, switching through multiple points of view, Terror in Australia: Workers' Paradise Lost is a sometimes frightening, sometimes intensely lyrical step inside a democracy in serious trouble.




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Hunting the Famous is a meditation on journalism and writing by veteran news reporter John Stapleton. Spanning the decades from the late 1969 to 2009, the book covers everything from the writer and journalist's early years, saddled with a compulsion to write and not much else, to his years as a general news reporter on Australia's two best newspapers, <em>The Sydney Morning Herald and The Australian. Prior to becoming a staff reporter Stapleton's unlikely promise to himself to live or die by the typewriter led to a string of encounters with some of the world's most famous authors, including Gore Vidal, Dirk Bogarde, Paul Bowles, Joseph Heller, Al Alvarez, Anthony Burgess and Salman Rushdie. Hunting the Famous also includes affectionate portraits of Australian writers such as author David Malouf, poet Vicki Viidikas and hard drinking journalistic legends including Jack Darmody and Joe Glascott.


As a news reporter Stapleton encountered and wrote stories about everyone from street alcoholics to Australian Prime Ministers, including Bob Hawke and Paul Keating. He covered thousands of stories, from the staple flood, drought, fire and natural disasters of the Australian bush to scenes of urban dysfunction in inner Sydney. Hunting the Famous covers a period of profound change within newspapers as the Information Revolution transformed the nature of the profession.


Hunting the Famous will be available in paperback in 2017.



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Thirty-seven years after the end of the Vietnam War an historic event occurred at busy Da Nang Airport, an Agent Orange hot spot where tonnes of the infamous herbicide were decanted and reloaded on to cargo planes for spraying across the country's lush fields and forests. Dioxin, the accidental contaminant in Agent Orange responsible for many tens of thousands of birth defects and early deaths, is regarded as probably the most poisonous of all the compounds ever devised by man. This 10,000 word page primer records the events which lead up to the year when the wrongs of the past were finally addressed in joint efforts by the American and Vietnamese governments. This short book is the perfect way to bring yourself up to date on this vexed and long running issue.







Chaos At The Crossroads concludes: Successive governments from both left and right have failed to listen to their constituents and respond to their concerns. They have resorted to vested inquiries in the hands of the mandarins and publicly funded elites whose feigned attempts to listen to the views of ordinary people have then been heavily reinterpreted. They have delayed progress through the extensive manipulation of committees or other forms of alleged inquiry. These same governments, even when they were enacting legislative reforms, left their enforcement in the hands of institutions notoriously resistant to change. They allowed or encouraged fashionable ideology, institutional inertia and bureaucracy to triumph over common sense. Common decency was lost long ago. 
"In terms of human suffering, the Australian public has already paid dearly for the failure to reform outdated, badly administered and inappropriate institutions dealing with family law and child support - and for the failure of governments to take seriously the experiences and voices of the men and women most directly affected by them. The country's failure to reform family law and child support is ultimately a failure of democracy itself."








Dads On The Air, often shortened to DOTA, is a community radio program which began in western Sydney in August of 2000 with a small group of extremely disgruntled separated men who had no experience of radio and no resources. The author of Chaos at the Crossroads: The Birth of Dads On The Air, William John Stapleton, worked as a mainstream journalist and was the only one with any media experience.

The series of short books in the Chaos at the Crossroads series tell the story of the long struggle for family law reform in Australia, not just by separated fathers, their supporters and their lobby groups, but by grandparents and other family members cut out of children's lives by the discriminatory and destructive sole-custody model purveyed by the court.

Chaos also tells the story of how, from the humble beginnings of a disheveled group of disgruntled separated fathers, Dads On The Air became the world's most famous radio program dedicated to fatherhood issues. 

The program evolved with the information revolution. The technology which would allow a small group of people with few resources to make available a weekly 90 minute radio program and give it the penetration and power it went on to achieve simply had not existed five years before. Dads On The Air has over time interviewed almost all the world's leading national and international activists, advocates, academics and authors.










Refusing to hide, Chief Justice of the Family Court of Australia Alastair Nicholson, scheduled to appear before an inquiry into family law and child support, entered Australia's Parliament House in Canberra via the front door on the 10th October 2003.

As Chief Justice of one of the most unpopular courts in the country, Nicholson had become a key figure fuelling discontent with Australia's political, bureaucratic and judicial wings of government. With millions of Australians having gone through the shredder of the country's divorce regime, he had become a focus for community discontent.

So heightened had the debate around Nicholson become that politicians rightly feared the general public were losing faith in the country's governance.

Nicholson was arguably the single most outspoken, certainly the most controversial judge ever to serve in the Australian court system; deeply hated by some, admired by others. Politicians from both sides of politics had reason to fear his ever ready tongue.

The appearance before the Inquiry of the one man who had done more to shape the nature of Australian family law than any other individual had been looked forward to by his critics with a kind of wonder and anticipation, a fascination for the grotesque.

Despite a plethora of Inquiries, including a devastating critique from the government's chief adviser on legal matters the Australian Law Reform Commission, doubt was not a trait Nicholson ever displayed in public.

Was this the inquiry which would finally nail him to the wall?

To the chagrin of his critics, Nicholson showed not a sliver of regret or self-doubt. He has continued to be outspoken since his retirement from the bench and move into academic life.




AUTHOR BIO:


https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_Stapleton_(Australian_journalist)


The first money Australian journalist John Stapleton ever made out of writing was in 1972 when he was co-winner of a short story competition held by what was then Australia's leading cultural celebration, the Adelaide Arts Festival[1].
He graduated from Macquarie University in 1975 with a double major in philosophy and did post-graduate work with the Sociology Department at Flinders University.[2]
As a freelance journalist in the 1970s and 1980s, while alternating between living in Sydney and London, his articles and fiction appeared in a wide range of magazines, newspapers and anthologies, including the now defunct Bulletin[3] and The Australian Financial Review.
John Stapleton worked on the then esteemed newspaper The Sydney Morning Herald as a staff news reporter between 1986 and 1994. The paper was then listed as one of the Top 20 newspapers in the world.
He worked for the national newspaper The Australian from 1994 to 2009.
His books include: Thailand: Deadly Destination, Terror in Australia: Workers' Paradise Lost, Chaos at the Crossroads: Family Law Reform in Australia, Hunting the Famous, The Twilight Soi and The Final Days of Alastair Nicholson.
Hunting the Famous is a meditation on journalism and writing which spans more than 40 years, form the late 1960s until 2010.
Prior to becoming a staff reporter Stapleton's unlikely promise to himself to live or die by the typewriter led to a string of encounters with some of the world's most famous authors, including Gore Vidal, Dirk Bogarde, Paul Bowles, Joseph Heller, Al Alvarez, Anthony Burgess, Norman Mailer and Salman Rushdie. Hunting the Famous also includes affectionate portraits of Australian writers such as author David Malouf, poet Vicki Viidikas and hard drinking journalistic legends such as Jack Darmody and Joe Glascott.
As a news reporter Stapleton encountered and wrote stories about everyone from street alcoholics to Australian Prime Ministers, including Bob Hawke and Paul Keating. He covered many hundreds of stories, from the staple flood, drought, fire and natural disasters of the Australian bush to scenes of urban dysfunction in inner Sydney. Hunting the Famous covers a period of profound change within newspapers as the Information Revolution transformed the nature of the profession.
Thailand: Deadly Destination, an expose of the tourist safety in the so-called Land of Smiles, received widespread coverage.[4]
The pamphlet Agent Orange: The Cleanup Begins, documents the efforts to rid Vietnam of the legacy of the accidental byproduct of Agent Orange, dioxin, a key factor in the high levels of disability the country suffered after the Vietnam War.
After leaving The Australian John Stapleton established the niche publishing company A Sense of Place Publishing. Books published by the company include Travels with My Hat: A Lifetime on the Road by Christine Osborne, America's Destruction of Iraq by Michael O'Brien and Bloody Colonials by Stafford Sanders.
He continues to write as a contributor for the news site The New Daily.
His next book, due out in late 2016, is called Hideout in the Apocalypse.

Monday, 27 February 2017

Malcolm Turnbull looks to keep the prize seat of Wentworth in the family, The New Daily, 27 February, 2017.

http://thenewdaily.com.au/news/national/2017/02/27/malcom-turnbull-successor-james-brown/

Malcolm Turnbull looks to keep the prize seat of Wentworth in the family


Malcolm Turnbull's political future is becoming increasingly untenable, but he has a successor in mind. Photo: AAP
John Stapleton
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With the latest dismal Newspoll, Malcolm Turnbull is now facing almost certain political death at the hands of either his own party or those of the electorate.

The question has now become not just who will take over the Liberal leadership, but who will take Mr Turnbull’s prized seat of Wentworth.

The PM’s son-in-law James Brown, a former army officer who has served in Iraq, Afghanistan and the Solomon Islands, is reportedly being groomed for preselection.

And the question is now one of when, not if, the seat of Wentworth becomes vacant.

Wentworth is the most glittering prize the Liberal Party has to offer. If Mr Brown inherits the seat, it will ensure that the inner-eastern Sydney seat remains within the orbit of the Turnbull family.

Wentworth is the wealthiest electorate in Australia, encompassing the elite suburbs of Vaucluse, Watsons Bay, Woollahra, Bellevue Hill and the Prime Minister’s own home turf of Point Piper. It has never been held by the ALP.
Related Coverage
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Tony Abbott to blame for shocking Newspoll: Malcolm Turnbull

Malcolm Turnbull plays the family card


While his critics see Mr Brown as ambitious, ruthless and out of touch with ordinary Australians – characteristics they also attribute to Mr Turnbull – others see a different man.

Moves by Mr Brown to cement his position for a tilt at Wentworth include taking the presidency of the Paddington branch of the Liberal Party in 2015. He rolled the sitting president, Peter Cavanagh, who told The New Daily he was aware of rumours Mr Brown is aiming to take the seat.

Although there was bad blood at the time, Mr Cavanagh insists there is now no ill will. “He is very competent,” he said. “I wish him well.”

Other manoeuvres by Mr Brown to boost his public image have included penning the book Anzac’s Long Shadow: The Cost of Our National Obsession and the more recent Quarterly Essay, Firing Line: Australia’s Path to War.

Both works place him on the opposite side of the Liberal Party to Tony Abbott, whose military interventions he has dismissed as a “chaotic” failure to understand Australia’s military.

Still other moves shoring up Mr Brown’s credibility for preselection including positioning himself to become the head of the NSW state branch of the RSL, which has been riven with scandal and accusations of financial mismanagement.

He paints himself as a clean skin who wishes to restore the RSL as “a force for good for veterans”.James Brown (L) is married to Malcolm Turnbull’s daughter Daisy. Photo: Facebook

Dr Norman Abjorensen, a leading political commentator whose many books include Australia: The State of Democracy, told The New Daily that, save for a miracle, Mr Turnbull was doomed. It was natural for him to be looking at his legacy and his successor.

“Turnbull is a very typical Wentworth product,” Dr Abjorensen said.

“It [Wentworth] is very strongly liberal, intellectual, Jewish. It has the highest concentration of gay people in the country. There is not much ground for social conservatism.”Mr Turnbull would prefer a successor like himself for the seat of Wentworth. Photo: Getty

Dr Abjorensen said a socially liberal, highly educated local candidate was needed to represent the seat.

“James Brown ticks all the boxes. And he has the added asset of being able to take on the Right by being a former military officer. He has crossover appeal,” he said.

“Malcolm Turnbull would prefer a successor like himself. He would want to keep a social liberal legacy going, not for his own sake, but for what he sees as the prevailing values in Wentworth he sought to represent.”

The New Daily’s repeated attempts to contact Mr Brown were not returned.

Wednesday, 22 February 2017

Benjamin Netanyahu looking to escape political heat in Israel, experts say, The New Daily, 22 February, 2017.



http://thenewdaily.com.au/news/world/2017/02/22/benjamin-netanyahu-visits-australia/


Benjamin Netanyahu looking to escape political heat in Israel, experts say


Benjamin Netanyahu and Malcolm Turnbull say their countries have an enduring friendship. Photo: AAP
John Stapleton
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For all the backslapping over the enduring friendship between Israel and Australia, one thing has been overlooked: on the first visit of a sitting Israeli Prime Minister to Australia, Benjamin Netanyahu appears thoroughly delighted to be away from home.

Facing corruption allegations and having recently endured hours of humiliating interrogations by police amid talk his government is about to collapse, the warmth of his reception in Australia can only be a source of succour.

“We have so much in common, shared values, democracy, freedom, the rule of law,” Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull declared on Wednesday. “Two great democracies … each of us big-hearted, generous, committed to freedom.”

But while Mr Turnbull was telling Mr Netanyahu just how welcome he was, back in Israel the talk is of just how much longer the latter can last as Prime Minister. Last month, investigators from the national police anti-fraud unit twice questioned Mr Netanyahu at his Jerusalem residence. He and his family stand accused of accepting thousands of dollars in inappropriate gifts from wealthy businessmen.

Israeli newspapers have reported that Australian billionaire James Packerprovided Mariah Carey tickets, private plane trips and expensive hotel stays to Mr Netanyahu’s son Yair.
Related Coverage
Benjamin Netanyahu praises Malcolm Turnbull for calling out UN hypocrisy

James Packer caught in Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu corruption inquiry


On Wednesday, asked about the corruption allegations, Mr Netanyahu declared: “Obviously I am not going to comment on details, but I will say that I think nothing will come of it because there is nothing there, except friendship, which is a good thing.”

Mr Turnbull, when asked if he was concerned over one of Australia’s most successful businessmen, Mr Packer, being caught up in the investigations, said: “Likewise, I can’t comment and won’t comment on an investigation of that kind, and really have nothing further to add to what the Prime Minister has said.”

Experts on the relationship between Australia and Israel suggest the timing of the visit is at the very least convenient.

Middle East expert at the University of NSW, Dr Anthony Billingsley, told The New Daily: “Without being too cynical, he is looking for a lull from the politics at home.

“He is being investigated for corruption. He comes to Australia, gives a few speeches, everyone says positive things and he goes away relaxed and refreshed. I see reports from Israel he will not last out the year.”





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Great honor to be 1st Israeli PM to visit Australia. Met with PM @TurnbullMalcolm & Gov-Gen Peter Cosgrove – two great friends of Israel!
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Political scientist Shahar Burla, co-editor of the book Australia and Israel: A Diasporic, Cultural and Political Relationship, told The New Daily there were activists in Israel trying to have Mr Netanyahu replaced.

“He has spent a lot of time overseas in the last couple of months. He spent 20 hours last month with police officers, grilling him about corruption,” he said. “His political situation is not good.”

Mr Burla said Mr Netanyahu could be charged over an alleged gift he of about $300,000 from one individual, which would likely mean the end of his government.

Dr Billingsley said Mr Turnbull’s enthusiastic reception for Mr Netanyahu and for the state of Israel was driven in part by an attempt to expose divisions on the Israel/Palestine issue within the Labor Party.Benjamin Netanyahu, pictured at a luncheon in Sydney, and Malcolm Turnbull signed agreements on technology and air services. and also discussed expanding co-operation in areas including cyber-security, innovation and science. Photo: AAP

Head of the Australia-Israel Chamber of Commerce Michelle Blum disagreed, saying talk of Mr Netanyahu fleeing Down Under to escape political turmoil was ridiculous. He brought with him a delegation comprising 20 companies.

“He would hardly travel 24 hours to the other side of the world if there was a political problem at home. He would stay and deal with it,” she told The New Daily.

“The visit, long overdue, is a reflection of the strong relationship that has existed between Australia and Israel across the political spectrum. The business relationship is growing.”