Media Analysis

14 years of independent journalism: Happy Birthday Independent Australia!

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Independent Australia celebrates its 14th Birthday on June 24 2024

Beginning in turbulent times amidst a 2010 Labor leadership spill, history editor Dr Glenn Davies provides his tribute to Independent Australia — "news with a conscience".

Yesterday was Independent Australia's 14th birthday. Congratulations from history editor Glenn Davies and the team at Independent Australia to founder and director David Donovan, who has nurtured his baby to this impressive milestone.

The anniversary of the establishment of IA on 24 June comes a few days after the winter solstice, a time of reflection at a quiet time of the year. However, 14 years ago the birth of Independent Australia certainly didn’t happen during a time of political quiet.

This reporter remembers 14 years ago when the first article was published — the day after the “night of long knives” when Julia Gillard rolled Kevin Rudd for the prime ministership.

At the same time Rudd was being deposed, Independent Australia emerged as an independent Australian voice.

IA believes in a fully and truly independent Australia, a nation that determines its own future, a nation that protects its citizens, its environment and its future. A country that is fair and free. It accordingly rejects the principles of hereditary monarchy, as well as dictatorial, theocratic or bureaucratic models of government.

As such, it is a relief that in a volatile and changing online media landscape, Independent Australia has not only managed to stay afloat but has become a strong alternate voice to the mainstream media.

Since those first daysIA founded by former Australian Republic Movement vice chair David Donovan, has become the premier republican voice in Australia — the modern-day version of The Bulletin in its heyday of the 1880s and 1890s.

Australia has a long tradition of independent, republican journalism. This tradition was first established in newspapers such as the People’s Advocate and the Empire of the 1840s and 1850s, and supported by The Age in the 1870s and 1880s.

This prevalent theme in publications continued into the 1890s, such as in the Newcastle Radical, the Wagga Hummer, the Cairns Advocate, the Melbourne Tocsin, the Hobart Clipper and John Norton’s Truth. But it was in the pages of The Bulletin of the 1880s and 1890s that the flowering of republican ideals can mostly noticeably be seen to emerge.

Over the past 14 years, the task this reporter has taken on with Independent Australia is to document some of our shared republican history. For this reporter, this historical journey had begun much earlier with a 1988 James Cook University history honours thesis, The Australian Republican: a Charters Towers based radical journal, 1890-1891.

Coincidentally, the first edition of the Australian Republican was published on 21 June 1890 — 125 years, almost to the day, before Independent Australia.

But there is still a great deal more to document. Australia’s republican past has a rich and deep seam. It is important to remember that our future is inextricably linked to our shared past.

It has been a long time since Australia has had such a strong republican voice. Australia’s republican voice has been lost for a long time.

There have certainly been many writers, artists, academics, and politicians who have actively advocated for an Australian republic over the past century — however, they have not had a home where they can all shelter under the same roof.

IA has become that space — a republican space, a republican civic space where republicans and others can debate the issues that are important to our political and civic future.

Thanks to David Donovan and all the contributors to IA, the republican tribe can look around and see who they are.

So, Happy Birthday Independent Australia and here’s to a long, independent life — and remember, every tribe needs a home.

You can follow history editor Dr Glenn Davies on Twitter @DrGlennDavies.

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