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.

Thursday, 27 April 2017

Senior Liberal speaks out against Turnbull: 'The party will be decimated', The Australian, 27 April, 2017.

http://thenewdaily.com.au/news/national/2017/04/27/liberal-party-insider-speaks-out/



Senior Liberal speaks out against Turnbull: ‘The party will be decimated’


Malcolm Turnbull
“Turnbull is running the country with a group of 25-year-old political brats. He doesn’t listen.” Photo: Getty
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“The Turnbull government is at war with the people. This is a government which hates their own constituents. The Liberal Party has lost touch with what it stands for and will be decimated unless it changes tack. Across the next electoral cycle the Liberals will lose power federally and in every state with the exception, perhaps, of Tasmania.”
Those are not the words of the opposition, but of one of the Liberal Party’s leading strategists of the past 20 years.
Geoffrey Greene has worked as Liberal Party state director in both South Australia and Queensland and was one of the architects behind John Howard’s successful election campaigns between 1996 and 2007.
Mr Greene spoke to The New Daily in the hope of shocking his party back from the brink.
Known for his ruthless political savvy, Mr Greene was an old-fashioned, behind-the-scenes political operative. His public declaration of despair follows on from the resignations this month of Liberal federal director Tony Nutt and his deputy John Burston.
“They would not have supported the warfare this government has declared on its citizens,” Mr Greene said.
“The Turnbull government has attacked every core constituency, small business, superannuants, pensioners, families with children, all because they have a budget that is out of control.
“They have not done anything about their own backyard. Public servants still fly at the front of the plane.”
He warns that the crashing political fortunes of his party is being accompanied by administrative collapse at federal, state and branch levels, with membership and donations in freefall.
Mr Greene said a major Liberal Party constituency was small business, yet they had been burdened with excessive regulation.
“This is a government which only listens to big business,” Mr Greene said. “Small business has been annihilated.”

geoffrey greene
Geoffrey Greene says the Turnbull government “is at war with the people”.
Mr Greene sheets home blame for the Liberal Party debacle to a lack of professionalism.
“Generally speaking, the whole malaise of this government is due to inept advice, ministerial and organisational,” he said. “The Liberal Party once possessed a professional caste of political operatives and campaign staff who helped politicians nuance their messages and understand the voters.
“We knew from our polling how every person voted in every street and why. We understood how to ensure policy platforms met the expectations of the citizenry.”
Mr Greene said Malcolm Turnbull did not represent the traditionally socially conservative Liberal voter.
“The rise of Pauline Hanson is a reflection that the Liberal Party has walked away from their values. It permeates the brand across the country. It is offensive.”
Mr Greene said the party’s drift from its base was compounded by the lack of professional political operatives now working in parliamentary offices.
“I have never seen a set of government ministers more captured by their departments,” he said. “Managers sourced from the department are loyal to their departments, professional advisers are loyal to their parties, and to those who voted for them.
“Turnbull is running the country with a group of 25-year-old political brats. He doesn’t listen.”
From Centrelink robo-calls to the botched implementation of the NBN, government incompetence is at the forefront of public concerns.
“It will be a hard road to win them back,” Mr Greene said.
In recent weeks there have been frantic attempts by Mr Turnbull to seize control of the national narrative, including the “dog-whistling” of citizenship tests and attacks on so-called dole bludgers, many of whom, with the destruction of manufacturing, are simply unable to find a job.
All this activity barely lifted Mr Turnbull’s dismal standing in the polls a single point.
“Turnbull has nothing left,” Mr Greene said. “There are no other constituencies his government can attack.”

Republished here:

http://www.news.com.au/national/politics/howardera-liberal-slams-inept-turnbull-government/news-story/9ab2881a802b8d9ac5eeaa4326d70d83

Howard-era Liberal slams ‘inept’ Turnbull Government

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Citizenship talk strengthens Turnbull support

Staff writerNews Corp Australia Network
A VETERAN Liberal Party strategist has publicly slammed Malcolm Turnbull, saying the government has “walked away from their values” and is at war with the people.
Geoffrey Greene, one of the minds behind John Howard’s campaigns and a former Liberal Party state director for both South Australia and Queensland, says the Turnbull Government has “attacked every core constituency” and has nothing left.
In a scathing interview with The New Daily to shock the party into action, Mr Greene says it will be “a hard road” for the government to win back the public.
Liberal Party veteran Geoffrey Greene, centre, says it will be a hard road for the Turnbull Government to win voters back.
Liberal Party veteran Geoffrey Greene, centre, says it will be a hard road for the Turnbull Government to win voters back.Source:News Corp Australia
“The Turnbull government has attacked every core constituency, small business, superannuants, pensioners, families with children, all because they have a budget that is out of control,” Mr Greene said.
“They have not done anything about their own backyard.
“Public servants still fly at the front of the plane.”
Mr Greene said former Liberal federal director Tony Nutt and his deputy John Burston, who resigned this month, would not have supported “the warfare this government has declared on its citizens”.
Geoffrey Greene’s opposition to Malcolm Turnbull’s values dates back two decades when he directed the “No Republic“ campaign.
Geoffrey Greene’s opposition to Malcolm Turnbull’s values dates back two decades when he directed the “No Republic“ campaign.Source:News Limited
He said the rise of Pauline Hanson was a reflection that the Liberal Party had walked away from its values.
One Nation’s influence now permeated the Liberal Party brand across the country.
“Generally speaking, the whole malaise of this government is due to inept advice, ministerial and organisational,” he said.
“The Liberal Party once possessed a professional caste of political operatives and campaign staff who helped politicians nuance their messages and understand the voters.
“We knew from our polling how every person voted in every street and why.
“We understood how to ensure policy platforms met the expectations of the citizenry.”
Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull visiting Incitec Pivot factory on Gibson Island in Brisbane. Pictures: Jack Tran
Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull visiting Incitec Pivot factory on Gibson Island in Brisbane. Pictures: Jack TranSource:News Corp Australia
Greene also accused the Turnbull Government of only listening to big business but annihilating small business — a key part of its base — with regulation.
He attributed much of the drift from the party’s base to a lack of old-school party operatives working in Parliamentary offices.
“I have never seen a set of government ministers more captured by their departments,” he said. “Managers sourced from the department are loyal to their departments, professional advisers are loyal to their parties, and to those who voted for them.
“Turnbull is running the country with a group of 25-year-old political brats. He doesn’t listen.”
Greene labelled recent attempts to regain control of political debate, including the recent citizenship test changes “dog-whistling”.
“Turnbull has nothing left,” he said. “There are no other constituencies his government can attack.”