Channel 9

Scott Morrison’s mate, political advisor and Nine Chairman Peter Costello sacks John Hewson at the SMH – The Age. Is an election close?

One of Scott Morrison’s closest political advisors is Nine Entertainment Chairman and former federal Treasurer Peter Costello and one of Scott Morrison’s biggest critics is former federal Liberal Party leader John Hewson who was sacked this week as a columnist by the Nine Entertainment owned papers The Sydney Morning Herald and The Age. 

John Hewson’s criticism of Scott Morrison is a lot more damaging to Morrison’s reputation and credibility with voters than most critics because Hewson is a former Liberal Party leader. And with Hewson having a national platform such as The SMH and The Age papers and their websites would have made Hewson one of the top targets for Morrison’s hit squad who work behind the scenes daily trying to manipulate the media.

It must be noted that Hewson “resigned his Liberal Party membership in 2019, having been a critic of its policy direction for a number of years, particularly on climate change.” (Click here to read more) But Hewson’s resignation from the Liberal Party would make him more credible with many voters which means his articles in The SMH and The Age would be even more damaging to Morrison and his re-election prospects in the coming federal election later this year or early next year.

Peter Costello’s and Scott Morrison’s close relationship helped Morrison get elected Prime Minister

Peter Costello is so close to the Prime Minister that he advises him on his personal political strategy: The SMH reported in 2016 in an article titled “Scott Morrison’s relentless rise to power“:

On the evening of September 14, 2015 Tony Abbott’s prime ministership was hanging by a thread. Abbott had made Morrison a last-minute offer to join him on a leadership ticket and to take over Joe Hockey’s job as Treasurer. Hunkered down in his Parliament House office over a home-made curry, Morrison gamed his next move with his close friend David Gazard, a former Howard and Costello staffer, while Costello offered advice over the phone.” (Click here to read more

The point is that Peter Costello and Scott Morrison are not just friends because as political supporters they are in effect in business together and Costello has skin in the game to see that Scott Morrison continues as PM which helps explain why Nine Entertainment helped the Liberal Party raise over $700,000 at a fundraiser held at Channel 9 in Sydney in 2019. (Click here to read more)  

It is also well known that Peter Costello intervened when another Nine Entertainment business, Radio Station 2GB, tried to sack Alan Jones a couple of years ago and Costello made sure Jones’s contract was renewed. Jones was eventually sacked about a year later after one too many scandals and Costello couldn’t save him. So, what is the chance that Peter Costello has sent word down the line to get rid of Scotty’s critic John Hewson to help Morrison before the next federal election? I would say it is certain because you do not sack a columnist with a strong following for no reason which John Hewson seems to agree in his tweet below.

John Hewson tweeted on Twitter the below message on Saturday (17/7/21): (Click here to see on Twitter)

I then Tweeted the below message: (Click here to see on Twitter)

Many others also criticised John Hewson’s sacking which forced the below response from The SMH’s editor Lisa Davies who tweeted: (Click here to see on Twitter)

Lisa Davies is a compulsive liar. Does anyone really believe that they sacked Hewson because the SMH is “committed to refreshing and diversifying our rotation of columnists, especially in line with our pledge for 50/50 gender balance.” Who else have they sacked because they are “refreshing and diversifying” their columnists?  Who else have they sacked because they are male?

Is it legal to sack somone because they are male? With Lisa Davies’ public admission it looks like John Hewson has an open and shut case for unfair dismissal or breach of contract or maybe a claim in the Australian Human Rights Commission.

Then James Chessell, who is Executive Editor – The Age, Sydney Morning Herald, Brisbane Times & WAtoday, decided to get involved with the narky response below: (Click here to see on Twitter)

Last year the politicisation of news at Nine’s The Age paper in Melbourne became so bad staff leaked the story to The Guardian who reported:

Journalists at the Age express alarm over increasing politicisation and loss of independence

Close to 70 journalists from the Age have expressed their “alarm” over what they say is the increasing politicisation of the Melbourne newspaper under executive editor James Chessell.

In a letter to Chessell, and fellow Nine executives chief digital and publishing officer Chris Janz and Age editor Alex Lavelle, the journalists said they were worried about maintaining the “proud reputation and independence” of the paper because editors were putting pressure on reporters “to produce particular angles”. (Click here to read more)

What happened with John Hewson is another example of the government trying to control the media via their friends such as Peter Costello. And Costello’s position as Chairman of Nine Entertainment is a disgrace and shows how corrupt Costello and the other Directors of Nine are.

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21 replies »

    • That’s my take, I’ll do what I did with The Australian some 15 or so years ago. Once I noticed the (galloping) drift to the hard right, kept an eye on it for about 3 months to ascertain if that drift was actually a new heading that had been plotted. I then stopped buying and reading it.

    • I cancelled my subscription after Ch9 held a fundraiser for the Liberal Party. Got a few phone calls from some poor bugger charged with trying to retain members, not to mention similarly motivated emails.

  1. Sacking one journalist from The Age will not make the slightest difference. I am convinced, not that I want to be, that the Australian people are so well off, so smug in their overpriced houses, and insecure jobs, that they will not want to change. They simply cannot see what is coming, and the MSM does not help.

    Trolling through The Age this morning (i do not read the articles on principle), one reference only to the horrendous floods devastating Germany, Belgium and Holland, and one other reference to the USA wildfires. How soon we forget the floods and the fires in Australia and the devastation they caused.

    But here we are, tucked away in the Southern Hemisphere, securely surrounded by 3 mighty oceans, never mind they are heating up, and our weather is only slowly being moved by climate change. Australians are so bloody complacent, that they think that living in denial, even with a shithouse government, is a satisfactory way of life. And it is reinforced daily by the MSM, with trivialities, sensationalism, and plain stupid reporting. Yes, it sells “newspapers”, but at what cost to the environment, mental health, domestic violence and all the things that have increased and grown under the current conservative governments like debt and corruption.

    Australia is sleepwalking.

    • Right on, Ken. Life events are going to set the agenda. Reasoned debate cannot survive the Right wing media takeover and google censorship of dissenting voices. Whether it’s climate change or covid the predictions are dire. Experts are denouncing Boris Johnson’s latest lifting of covid restrictions in the UK as lighting a bonfire under covid expansion, and especially new, more resistant variants. We could end up with vaccinated populations with no defenses against these variants. The result will be societies shutting down almost entirely in a scene that could run for years. The lunatic Right, even more clueless than at present, will panic and run neoliberalism all the way into fascism dressed up in democratic robes. They will clutch their corrupt Coalition handouts to the end, wondering why Australia is so fucked and what we could have been done about it. You’re right about Australians — clueless and lazy until reality gives them a wake up call. Even then they are helpless having being fed on a steady diet of useless infotainment. Morrison is likely to run an early election to avoid the reality hit.

    • Australia is sleepwalking alright., Straight into a nightnare it will never recover from.

  2. It escapes me why States are so impotent and acquiesce to censorship and media control inside their jurisdictions. The Constitution does not remove this authority from them.

  3. Since Nine Entertainment took over these newspapers they’ve become nothing but Liberal Party propaganda machines, and we’ve seen a shift towards Murdoch style-journalism. Some of the journalists just shifted over from News Corp and other right wing sources anyway.

    With this group of ex-Fairfax newspapers that are clearly compromised politically, all we have left are websites like this one in the independent media category that actually fill in the information that mainstream media conveniently omits, distorts, hides, and more increasingly fakes.

    Mainstream mediocracy and triviality also reign, as well as more an more advertorial posing as editorial. As a very apt cartoon expressed, the actual news in the papers has halved in size because they only cover one side of the story. Anyone that thinks these newspapers even tell a modicum of truth, or reflect any balance needs their head read. We are in an age of flagrant media deception.

    Very sad for this country because control of the media by one right wing increasingly unaccountable political group, reeks of increasing fascism where only a narrow bundle of Liberal Party ideological tunes can be played.

    Thank you KCA for covering this and bringing it to everyone’s attention again.

      • Hi Old Codger, good to find you again too on this site. I totally agree, independent media is the best thing in this country, and freedom of speech is definitely under attack.

        This from the very same party that said people have “a right to be bigots” when it came to freedom of speech, an early directive given to the government from the IPA.

        What it clearly means it freedom of speech for only one side of the political spectrum.

        Now the signs of fascism are very clear.

  4. It is the Liberal way – Stack boards of any MSM with your mates or with people sympathetic to the government, and sack anyone who calls it out. We have seen it happen with the ABC with the employment of a former Foxtel boss to the board.

    * Refuse to watch the news on Sky, 7, and 9.
    * Don’t read any newspaper owned by Murdoch
    * Only read news from independent media such as Crikey and The Guardian.

    Only then we wouldn’t have to deal with a brain-dead population.

  5. We were lucky that Peter Costello took his bat and ball home instead of stepping up as Liberal leader after Howard’s ignominious defeat.

  6. So the LNP/IPA takeover of our MSM & press is now complete coupled with a defanged & defunded ABC. If it weren’t for this website, The Guardian, Crikey, The New Daily, The Saturday Paper and Twitter we would not know the nefarious skullduggery of this corrupt & evil government. All the commercial stations follow the LNP party line & throw softballs at the PM & his cronies and the Aust public is none the wiser. It is a sad day for this nation when the MSM has become the LNP’s Pravda lapdog.

  7. I agree with Ken Dyer’s comment, except for the fact that humans can’t control the Sun which is solely responsible for Earth’s ever-changing climates.
    We are fortunate to know that Morrison and his mates’ belief in their ability to control the universe do not have a chart to indicate the miriad of invisible Black Holes.

  8. Newspapers (?) no longer cater for informing readers of what is going on across the world, except in passing. Instead we are subjected to magazine-type reporting pandering to the lowest common denominator. Even the Guardian has followed suit. But I don`t want to be informed of Beyonce`s bowel movements, or how to have 49 orgasms in a row. Nor do I want to read of some nutter`s opinion of what`s wrong with the world unless I get a chance to comment. And when I comment to rants, I don`t want to be deleted by some over-zealous office boy/girl who can`t grasp my point. Strong views need strong rebuttals, but don`t expect our news sources to permit contrary views.

  9. I remember as a child when I joined the local municipal library. The Librarian explained the Dewey system; and where fiction and non-fiction sections could be found. In those days one could rely on the national and state newspapers to give you a factual report on incidents, issues and the various matters that faced the community. Today the majority of national and state papers are owned by corporations with political allegiances. Their published content and product can only be regarded as absolute pure fiction.

  10. The Sydney Morrison Herald has become a bad right-wing joke pushing war with China, while The Age is just a Sydney satellite lackey, a sad end to a once great newspaper with traditional readers deserting it in droves.

  11. How does the the SMH still get away with the motto at the top of the page that says “Independent. Always”. I allege that it is false advertising. It’ s become just another propaganda machine in support of the Liberals only.

    Shouldn’t it be replaced with: “Only one side of the story. Always”.

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