The Australian

This article is about the newspaper currently published by News Corp Australia. For the newspaper founded in 1824, see The Australian (1824 newspaper).
For other uses, see The Australian (disambiguation).
Type Daily newspaper
Format Broadsheet, Online, App
Owner(s) News Corp Australia
Editor John Lehmann
Editor-in-chief Paul Whittaker
Founded 14 July 1964 (1964-07-14)
Headquarters Surry Hills, New South Wales, Australia
ISSN 1038-8761

The Australian is a broadsheet newspaper published in Australia from Monday to Saturday each week since 14 July 1964. The editor in chief is Paul Whittaker; the editor is John Lehmann and the editor-at-large is Paul Kelly. Available nationally (in each state and territory), The Australian is the biggest-selling national newspaper in the country, with a circulation of 116,655 on weekdays and 254,891 on weekends, figures substantially below those of top-selling papers in Sydney (The Daily Telegraph), Melbourne (The Herald Sun), and Brisbane (The Courier-Mail).[1] Its chief rivals are the business-focused Australian Financial Review, and on weekends, The Saturday Paper. In May 2010, the newspaper launched the first Australian newspaper iPad app.[2] The Australian is owned by News Corp Australia. Recent years have seen significant decreases in circulation.

Parent companies

The Australian is published by News Corp Australia, an asset of News Corp, which also owns the sole dailies in Brisbane, Adelaide, Hobart and Darwin and the most popular metropolitan dailies in Sydney and Melbourne.[3] News Corp's Chairman and Founder is Rupert Murdoch.

The Australian integrates content from overseas newspapers owned by News Corp Australia's parent, News Corp, including The Wall Street Journal and The Times of London.[3]


The first edition of The Australian was published by Rupert Murdoch on 15 July 1964, becoming the third national newspaper in Australia following shipping newspaper Daily Commercial News (1891)[4] and Australian Financial Review (1951). Unlike other Murdoch newspapers, it was neither a tabloid nor an acquired publication.[5] From its inception The Australian struggled for financial viability and ran at a loss for several decades.[5]

The Australian's first editor was Maxwell Newton, though he would leave the paper within a year[6] and was succeeded by Walter Kommer, and then by Adrian Deamer. During the 1975 election, campaigning against the Whitlam government by its owner led to the paper's journalists striking over editorial direction.[6]

Editor-in-chief Chris Mitchell was appointed in 2002 and retired on 11 December 2015; he was replaced by Paul Whittaker formerly editor-in-chief of The Daily Telegraph.[7]


Daily sections include National News (The Nation) followed by Worldwide News (Worldwide), Sport and Business News (Business). Contained within each issue is a prominent op/ed section, including regular columnists and non-regular contributors. Other regular sections include Technology (AustralianIT), Media, Features, Legal Affairs, Aviation, Defence, Horse-Racing (Thoroughbreds), The Arts, Health, Wealth and Higher Education. A Travel & Indulgence section is included on Saturdays, along with The Inquirer, an in-depth analysis of major stories of the week, alongside much political commentary. Saturday lift-outs include Review, focusing on books, arts, film and television, and The Weekend Australian Magazine, the only national weekly glossy insert magazine. A glossy magazine, Wish, is published on the first Friday of the month.

"The Australian has long maintained a focus on issues relating to Aboriginal disadvantage."[3] It also devotes attention to the information technology, Defence and mining industries,[3] as well as the science, economics, and politics of climate change. It has also published numerous "special reports" into Australian energy policy.

The Australian Literary Review was a monthly supplement from September 2006 October 2011.

The Australian has often been criticised for being biased against recent Labor governments. In recent years, the paper was scathing of Labor's decision to introduce a carbon tax and other carbon emission reduction measures, using reporting and opinion pieces to emphasise its point of view.

Notable stories

Stimulus Watch

In 2009, The Australian ran many articles about the Rudd Government's Building the Education Revolution policy, which uncovered evidence of over-pricing, financial waste and mismanagement of the building of improvements to schools such as halls, gymnasiums and libraries. On the newspaper's website, there was a section named "Stimulus Watch", subtitled "How your Billions Are Being Spent", which contained a large collection of such articles.[8]

The following year, other media outlets also reported these issues and the policy turned into a political embarrassment for the government, which until then had been able to ignore The Australian's reports. Along with the government's insulation stimulus policy, it contributed to perceptions of incompetence and general dissatisfaction with the government's performance. On 16 July 2010 it was reported that Julia Gillard had admitted that the school-building program was flawed and that errors had been made because the program was designed in haste to protect jobs during the global financial crisis.[9]

AWU Affair

In 2011, Glenn Milne reported on the allegations against Prime Minister Julia Gillard concerning the AWU affair including a claim regarding Gillard's living arrangements with Wilson.[10] Gillard contacted the chief executive of The Australian, resulting in the story being removed and an apology and retraction posted in its place.

On 18 August 2012, Hedley Thomas reported that Julia Gillard left her job as a partner with law firm Slater & Gordon as a direct result of a secret internal investigation in 1995 into controversial work she had done for her then boyfriend.[11] However, the story was ignored for a long time by other media outlets. The ABC for instance did not cover the story until after Gillard held a press conference to respond to the allegations against her.[12] The story became a major political issue, resulting in Julie Bishop questioning Gillard in parliament and Gillard holding another press conference to respond to the evidence against her. All allegations against Ms. Gillard were dropped after she was cleared of any legal wrongdoing at the Royal Commission into trade union governance and corruption, though commissioner Dyson Heydon openly disputed her credibility as a witness.[13]

Payment for online content

In October 2011 News Ltd announced that it was planning to become the first general newspaper in Australia to introduce a paywall. It charges readers $4.00 per week to view premium content on its website and mobile phone and tablet applications.[14]

Editorial and opinion pages

Editor-in-chief Chris Mitchell has said that the editorial and op-ed pages of the newspaper are centre-right,[15] "comfortable with a mainstream Labor prime minister Kevin Rudd, just as it was quite comfortable with John Howard."[3] According to other commentators, however, the newspaper "is generally conservative in tone and heavily oriented toward business; it has a range of columnists of varying political persuasions but mostly to the right."[16] Its former editor Paul Kelly has stated that "The Australian has established itself in the marketplace as a newspaper that strongly supports economic libertarianism".[17]

The Australian presents varying views on climate change, including giving space to articles and authors who agree with the scientific consensus, such as Tim Flannery, those who agree with the cause but who disagree with the methods of coping with it, such as Bjørn Lomborg,[18] through to those who disagree that the causes or even presence of global warming are understood, such as Ian Plimer.

In September 2010, the ABC's Media Watch presenter Paul Barry accused The Australian of waging a campaign against the Australian Greens, and the Greens' federal leader Bob Brown wrote that The Australian has "stepped out of the fourth estate by seeing itself as a determinant of democracy in Australia." In response, The Australian opined that "Greens leader Bob Brown has accused The Australian of trying to wreck the alliance between the Greens and Labor. We wear Senator Brown's criticism with pride. We believe he and his Green colleagues are hypocrites; that they are bad for the nation; and that they should be destroyed at the ballot box."[19]

Columnists and contributors

Regular columnists include Janet Albrechtsen, Troy Bramston, Paul Kelly, Chris Kenny, Brendan O'Neill, Nicolas Rothwell, Imre Salusinszky, Niki Savva, Angela Shanahan, Dennis Shanahan, Greg Sheridan, Judith Sloan, Emma Jane, Peter van Onselen and Phillip Adams. It also features daily cartoons from Bill Leak and Peter Nicholson.

Occasional contributors include Gregory Melleuish, Kevin Donnelly, Caroline Overington, Tom Switzer, James Allan, Hal G.P. Colebatch, Luke Slattery, Noel Pearson, Bettina Arndt and Lucian Boz.

Former columnists include Mike Steketee, David Burchell, Michael Stutchbury, Simon Adamek, George Megalogenis, Glenn Milne, Cordelia Fine,[20] Alan Wood, Michael Costa, P. P. McGuinness, Michael Costello, Frank Devine, Matt Price and Christopher Pearson.

The Australian's "Australian of the Year"

In January of every year, The Australian announces a choice for "Australian of the Year", separate from and often different from the official choice of the government's National Australia Day Council. In 2011, the newspaper announced that Treasury Secretary Ken Henry was its winner of the award for 2010.[21] Previous winners include Kevin Rudd (2009),[22] Stephen Keim (2008),[23] Bob Brown (1983)[24] and Gough Whitlam (1972).[22][25]


The average print circulation for The Australian on weekdays was 116,655 during the June quarter 2013, having fallen 9.8 per cent compared to the June quarter 2012. The average print circulation for The Weekend Australian was 254,891 during the June quarter 2013, down 10.8 per cent compared to the June quarter the previous year.[1]

As of March 2015, the weekday edition circulation was 104,165 and the weekend edition was 230,182, falling 6.5 per cent and 3.3 per cent respectively compared to the same period in 2014. The Australian had 67,561 paid digital subscribers in the same period.[26]

According to third-party web analytics providers Alexa and SimilarWeb, The Australian's website,, is the 72nd and 223rd most visited website in Australia respectively, as of August 2015.[27][28] SimilarWeb rates the site as the 23rd most visited news website in Australia, attracting almost 3 million visitors per month.[28][29]


In November 2006, The Australian journalist Caroline Overington was awarded both the Sir Keith Murdoch Award for Journalism and a Walkley award for investigative journalism over her coverage of the AWB Oil-for-Wheat Scandal for the paper.[30] The following year, Hedley Thomas won the Gold Walkley Award for his coverage of the Haneef case.

Also in 2007, the newspaper's website won the Pacific Area Newspaper Publishers' Association Online Newspaper of the Year award.[31]

See also


  1. 1 2 Knott, Matthew (16 August 2013). "Newspaper circulation results shocker: the contagion edition". Crikey. Private Media. Retrieved 26 August 2013.
  2. Omar Dabbagh (17 May 2010). "The Australian launches iPad newspaper app". PC World. IDG Communications. Retrieved 3 April 2011.
  3. 1 2 3 4 5 Manning, James (10 March 2008). "National daily plans new business website and monthly colour magazine". MediaWeek. Sydney, Australia (854): 3, 7, 8.
  4. Daily commercial news and shipping list, National Library of Australia Trove
  5. 1 2 Cryle, Denis (2008). Murdoch's flagship (PDF). Melbourne University Press. ISBN 978-0-522-85675-0.
  6. 1 2 Tiffen, Rodney. "The Australian at forty-five". Retrieved 16 April 2013.
  7. Davidson, Darren (2 December 2015). "Chris Mitchell retires, Paul Whittaker new editor-in-chief of The Australian". The Australian. Retrieved 4 January 2016.
  8. "Stimulus Watch". The Australian. News Limited. various. Check date values in: |date= (help)
  9. Matthew Franklin and Patricia Karvelas (16 July 2010). "Julia Gillard admits school mistakes". The Australian. News Limited. Retrieved 3 April 2011.
  10. Wright, Tony (30 August 2011). "Bombshell for Gillard explodes under Murdoch press". The Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved 22 August 2012.
  11. Hedley Thomas (August 18, 2012). "Revealed: Julia Gillard lost her job after law firm's secret investigation". The Australian. News Limited. Retrieved March 30, 2013.
  12. Chris Kenny (February 16, 2013). "Aunty still in denial, but proving political bias is as easy as ABC". The Australian. News Limited. Retrieved February 16, 2013.
  13. Mathew Knott (December 19, 2014). "Unions royal commission clears Julia Gillard but questions her credibility as a witness". The Sydney Morning Herald. Fairfax Media Group. Retrieved September 10, 2015.
  14. "Australian to charge $2.95 a week for all online content. It is also charging $1 for the first 28 days then increasing to the $2.95 per week from the end of the first month.". The Age. Melbourne. 18 October 2011.
  15. Mitchell, Chris (9 March 2006). The Media Report. Australian Broadcasting Company.
  16. Clancy, Laurie (2004). Culture and customs of Australia. Greenwood Publishing Group. p. 126. ISBN 978-0-313-32169-6.
  17. "Do not disturb: is the media failing Australia?" P60 By Robert Manne
  18. Jowit, Juliette (30 August 2010). "Bjørn Lomborg: $100bn a year needed to fight climate change". The Guardian. London.
  19. Barry, Paul. "Gunning for The Greens". Media Watch. Retrieved 20 March 2013.
  20. "Cordelia Fine". Cordelia Fine. 2011-07-31. Retrieved 2013-12-27.
  21. Ken Henry: the thinking country's bureaucrat The Australian
  22. 1 2 Why is Kevin Rudd Australian of the Year? Crikey
  23. Hedley Thomas. (15 December 2007). The odd couple. The Australian.
  24. "ABC TV - My Favourite Australian - Bob Brown". Retrieved 2013-12-27.
  25. The Australian's "Australian of the Year" page
  26. Davidson, Darren (May 15, 2015). "Newspaper circulation declines moderating as digital sales soar". The Australian. Retrieved May 18, 2015. (subscription required (help)).
  27. " Site Overview". Alexa. Retrieved 2 August 2015.
  28. 1 2 " Analytics". SimilarWeb. Retrieved 2 August 2015.
  29. "Top 50 sites in Australia for News And Media". SimilarWeb. Retrieved 2 August 2015.
  30. Kickback: Inside the Australian Wheat Board scandal. Allen & Unwin.
  31. Elks, Sarah (9 August 2007). The Australian wins online newspaper award.
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