The newest member of the Gallery: IA political editor Martin Hirst accepting his Canberra Press Gallery pass on behalf of Independent Australia on 28 March 2017 (Images Ross Jones)

At long last, Independent Australia has been admitted to the Canberra Press Gallery. And now we need your help!

WE HAVE DONE IT!

Progressive news website Independent Australia has finally been admitted to the Canberra Press Gallery.

Through political editor Dr Martin Hirst, IA now has the capacity to report from inside Parliament House — and have access to the important people running the country in the nation''s capital.

IA may be the only genuinely independent member of the Fifth Estate to have gained this privilege. It means we will now be able to ask all the important questions the mainstream media miss — or maybe avoid...

It has been a long and tortuous road to get to this point.

IA first applied for Press Gallery membership four years ago — in 2013.

We were denied entry because, the Gallery said, our nominee, Callum Davidson, was apparently ‘not a sufficiently established journalist’ and that IA was an ‘opinion-based rather than a news website’.

We vehemently disagreed with both those evaluations. Especially the latter one, which was really nothing short of an insult, given the investigative reporting we were doing into Ashbygate and Jacksonville at that time (and since). Because independentaustralia.net has been producing accurate, ethical and awkward (for the powerful) news stories daily since 2010.

Our view was supported by many, including peerless Press Gallery legend Mungo MacCallum, who wrote at the time that IA had

‘... a case superior to some of those currently ensconced.''

We applied again in early 2016, this time nominating myself, David Donovan, a mere Clarion journalism award finalist, along with Australian literary legend (the now late) Bob Ellis. You may have heard of him.

Unfortunately, the Press Gallery had changed the rules since our first application to make it considerably harder to gain entry. Srsly. We now also needed written endorsement from our “client base” (whatever that might be) and three references from currently admitted Press Gallery members. Talk about a closed shop!

Suffice to say, we were unsuccessful again.

But at IA, never give up! So we applied again late last year, this time through our new political editor Dr Martin Hirst — the author of eight books on journalism and a former member of the Press Gallery (with SBS). Martin tracked down the references required from three current Press Gallery members and IA got dozens of letters to support our case from our subscribers.

Then we sent the application off and − third time lucky! – we finally got back a yes! Wonders never cease!

And on Tuesday, 28 March, Dr Hirst collected our Press Gallery pass from Parliament House in Canberra. We were actually approved in mid-February, but we kept it quiet because Sydney bureau chief Ross Jones, myself and Martin were all going to be in Canberra at the same time (for former Speaker Peter Slipper''''s portrait unveiling).

You little ripper!

But while this is very much cause for celebration, now the hard work really begins. To ask all the tough questions to bring Australians all the news the MSM misses, we not only need to be permitted to enter the Press Gallery, we also actually need to be there. It takes money — money we don’t really have right now, unfortunately.

And this is where you come in! If you would like to help put a true independent voice in Canberra reporting on our dodgy (and non-dodgy) politicians, please support our initiative with a donation —large or small.

To get us to Canberra, we would first like to raise $10,000. This will allow Martin − and other IA reporters – to report from Parliament during the Budget week: May 9 to 11 — and a bit beyond.

But of course, this money won’t last long and so we are developing a longer term funding plan, which we will unveil in the near future. But right now, it is vital we raise this money to kickstart our Canberra Press Gallery quest.

It feels like a long road to get here, but we hope this is just a first step in a much longer journey —our mission to bring the truth to the Australian people about our political system.

Please be generous and help send Dr Martin Hirst − and − IA to Canberra.

Support Independent Australia''s crowdfunding campaign to get Dr Martin Hirst to the Canberra Press Gallery HERE.

Thank you!

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