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Independent Australia managing editor David Donovan corrects the record regarding a highly unbalanced and unethical article published in The Australian today about Peter Wicks and IA’s coverage of the Thomson/HSU affair.

by IA managing editor David Donovan

Today in The Australian (‘Craig Thomson fuels the HSU fire’) News Corporation journalist Milanda Rout writes:

“Mr Wicks has published seven posts about the HSU scandal on the Independent Australia news website”.

This sentence gives a definite clue about the reliability and veracity of all the other detaiIs provided in the piece because, in actual fact, Peter Wicks has published eight (not seven) stories on the HSU scandal in IA — a detail not very hard to check since the recent articles are numbered in the title.

Note the following:

  1. Thomson 8: The HSU family

  2. Thomson 7: Credit card slips, clarifications and truth bombs

  3. Thomson 6: Kathy Jackson and the HSU $½ million

  4. Thomson and Jackson 5: Sticky fingers

  5. Craig Thomson under the rain

  6. Craig Thomson’s kangaroo court

  7. The Jackson and Lawler HSU tangle: Part Two

  8. How Jackson, Lawler and Abbott tangled Thomson with the HSU

Of course, Peter has also written some stories on his own website that IA hasn’t published, such as the following:

In the view of this publication, Rout’s article was overwhelmingly slanted towards discrediting Peter Wicks, and Craig Thomson, and shoring up Kathy Jackson’s seemingly increasingly tenuous position. This is unsurprising, of course, since The Australian is one of Australia’s most unbalanced publications — now essentially a propaganda arm of the Coalition.

However, by raising some of the facts in our heavily researched, factual and highly balanced articles, The Australian has given itself a get out of jail card for when and if, as seems increasingly likely, it turns out that Kathy Jackson is not quite the squeaky clean, crusading  “whistle-blower” that they – and virtually every other mainstream Australian publication  – has hagiographically portrayed her as being.

If you have been following IA, you will know there is a lot more to this story than the mainstream media has been letting on — and, frankly, if you want to get the full picture on the Thomson affair, your first port of call would never be The Australian. In any case, we do need to give that publication some credit for getting a few (very few) of the facts that don’t sit easily inside their usual anti-Thomson narrative out into the mainstream.

Doubtless, Peter Wicks will want to respond to the many other inaccuracies and skewed perspectives presented in the article, but for now I would like to just highlight two.

One of these men is a party political operative, always spinning his articles to suit partisan political objectives - and the other one is Peter Wicks.

Firstly, Milanda describes Peter Wicks as an “ALP member”, “political blogger” and a “former failed ALP candidate”. One can only look upon these descriptions as attempts to diminish his journalistic credibility. For example, Chris Kenny is not described as “long-time Liberal Party staffer and failed Liberal Party pre-selection candidate” when he writes his Liberal Party puff-pieces for The Australian. Nor is Piers Akerman, Christopher Pearson or Andrew Bolt’s previous political allegiances and past political employment mentioned along with their articles — and all of their connections are far more extensive and long-standing than Peter Wicks’ single tilt at state election for the Labor Party in possibly NSW’s safest Liberal Party seat. Maybe The Australian should mention those details — but they don’t, which makes Milanda Rout’s description of Wicks in such a fashion as risibly and blatantly hypocritical.

Moreover, Peter Wicks may have written the articles, but each of them was intensively fact-checked – and some of them extensively rewritten – by me before being published on Independent Australia — and this was, to some extent, to remove any political bias that may have been, sub-consciously, included by Peter.

The truth is, facts speak for themselves and have no bias. And we have been careful to raise questions about the facts rather than pass definitive judgements or reach definite conclusions — something that cannot be said for News Corporation in its disgracefully judgemental kangaroo court presentation of the Thomson affair — represented most obviously by the recent "Pinnochio" image of Thomson in Melbourne's Herald Sun (see below). Far from being aligned to the Labor Party, which we regard, in fact, as being “staunchly undemocratic”, IA is a publication dedicated to Independent – non-partisan – politics. You can read more about our political philosophy here.

And, in case anyone wants to check my political background, as managing editor and sole proprietor of IA, you will find I have never been a member of any political party. In fact, I abhor party politics. However, my brother Matthew did stand in the 2010 South Australian State election in the seat of Mawson — for the Liberal Party. Perhaps Milanda would call him a “failed candidate for the Liberal Party”, though we don’t describe him that way in the family. Nonetheless, I don’t support the Liberal Party, and nor do I support Labor, The Greens or any other political party — and neither does Independent Australia. You can read more about who we are here.

So much for political bias.

News Corp bias against Thomson
News Corporation displays blatant bias against Thomson

If you want balance, you are going to find it far more readily at Independent Australia than you will at any News Corporation publication. We are neither left, nor right, but are simply interested in doing what is right.

Secondly, Kathy Jackson is reported as saying in the piece:

“I have been giving truthful and innocent explanations for every smear they bat up”.

In fact, as shown quite clearly in this smear heavy piece in The Australian, Kathy Jackson has been doing anything but respond to the plethora of questions we have raised in our articles — in fact, her standard tactic has been to answer any allegations in smears and attempts to shoot the messenger. Indeed, we talk in detail about the Jackson modus operandi in Part Seven.

IA is simply interested in getting to the truth.

Jackson is playing her own factional and political games for her own reasons, and trying to discredit us, and others, in the process. It won’t work, because Peter Wicks and I have no vested interest in this affair whatsoever, and no links to any of the players. We are simply interested in getting the full truth out to the public — something the mainstream media, including The Australian, have been summarily uninterested in doing.

Keep reading Independent Australia for the truth about this affair, as there is much more information yet to come. In the end, the truth will out, and this has obviously got some people rather worried.

(You can follow David Donovan on Twitter @davrosz)

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