26 May 2015


Should I apply for this? Take our exclusive Politically Homeless poll:

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Update: My application

Name: Andrew Elder

Address: http://andrewelder.blogspot.com.au/

Headline: Better than some press gallery herd animal


Company: Politically Homeless

Industry: Political blogging

Position: Blogger

For over nine years (I know) I have examined the points where politics and media intersect, and I have been critical: http://andrewelder.blogspot.com.au/

To give a sample of content and method, look no further than my three most-read posts: on Scott Morrison, Sophie Mirabella, and Michelle Grattan.

Company: (various)

Industry: Business analysis/project management on large-scale IT projects

Position: Business analyst/project manager

Seeing as you're keen on LinkedIn profiles, mine is here - fat lot of good it will do you in assessing my suitability for this role.

Summary: I have been an avid and critical consumer of political media since I was ten. I'm now 46, and an adherent of US commentators like Jay Rosen and Eric Boehlert. Over the past nine years I have taken apart this country's best-regarded political reporters and put the story back together better and more comprehensively. I read and consult widely and boil things down to the right level with the right wording.

Cover letter: If you're going to cover Australian politics, don't just hire another press gallery herd animal. Hire someone who is awake to political positioning and resistant to the cliches that are rightfully killing this country's political media. Hire someone with the ideas and the ability to develop a wholly different and better way of reporting how we are governed.

I see this role as comparing/contrasting what is said in public policy with what is done. If hired, I will be using lots of data feeds from different sources, not just relying on press releases. I will trace stories from their headwaters in community groups and corporate offices, not start with the press release once the fix is in.

I would offer different levels of focus, from the Indo-Pacific regional to the local community level. I would assess the impact of local, state, and federal governments, as well as international factors bringing to bear on those communities. People would read about those issues and assess the behaviour of their local representatives against those issues.

If hired, I will only engage press gallery journalists to cover the upper houses of Australian parliaments, and sparingly even then.

The fact is that the audience for political journalism has shrunk to the point where the mass, barely engaged consumer has dropped off, and those who remain require more and better information than the cliche-mongers can ever deliver. This is where HuffPost Australia should be - having a go in a space that doesn't exist yet, not poaching representative samples from the tried-and-died.

No stories should appear in your publication on:
  • polls, or other inside-politics artefacts like focus groups
  • pre-announcement stories, or any other story type where a politician is taken at his or her word
  • politics as horse-race, where policy consequences affecting millions are "good news for" X or "bad news for" Y.
Indeed, one live issue in Australian politics at the moment is that labor laws are undergoing change so that it will not only be possible to dismiss journalists for submitting such stories, but to defenestrate them and sue their estates for polluting the public discourse. Be assured that I will take maximum advantage of the regulatory environment to defend and promote the best interests of Huffington Post Australia.

I will resist at all costs dragging down a promising media venture to the doomed squalor that is the general state of this country's media (particularly when it comes to politics).

Do you have full rights to work in Australia? Yes.

Are you currently located in Sydney? Yes. Right now I am in the office between my lounge room and back deck, wearing only my ... look, I can do this.

Is there anything else we should know? While I realise that HuffPost has freely entered into a joint venture with Fairfax, almost every piece of advice you have received or will receive from Fairfax's Political Editor, Peter Hartcher, will be wrong. You will need someone to stand up to Hartcher and point out why he is wrong all the time, and I am well placed to do that. The success of this venture depends on it.

Do you reckon I'm in with a shot?

Me neither. Still, you have to do what you can with what you have when the opportunity arises, and yes I have been doing this for more than nine years now.


  1. Read Doonesbury: these bastards don't pay you for your efforts as far as I know..... you are worth waaaay more than that Andrew.

  2. Have you considered what an Australian version of the Huffington Post will *actually* be like?

    Do you think anybody will read it?

    Who do you think is the target audience?

    Is it actually journalism, or are you just writing ad bait for a slightly higher functioning audience?

  3. 1.What would be your aim/objective if you did apply and succeed?
    Or, in other words, why would you want to do this HuffPo thingy?

    2. Whatever your aim[s] is, do you think it is actually achievable?
    Or, in other words, could you realistically expect to succeed in satisfying those aims?

    3. If you are clear in your aims and can realistically expect to be on a winner, then go for it.

    And good luck either way.

    PS - that was the gist of the advice given to me by a person I considered wise and experienced when I asked him should I continue in my role within a political organization.
    I had a think, figgered out my aims and realized they were not being achieved and could not be in the circumstances be so I left the organization.


  4. I'm guessing you need a source of income? If this could achieve it and not compromise your beliefs in any way (remember thin edges of wedges) then go for it!
    Your voice needs a wider audience.

  5. The HuffPost with you would be better than without you Andrew and you'd have a bigger audience but for a much diluted message. I think you would find it frustrating so you'd probably fight very hard to get your contribution heard.
    Rais, Thornlie WA

  6. Andrew. Assuming you're serious. I've been reading you from the start, since I was 21. I've commented over the years and I remain an avid reader. When I wound up in journalism my approach was informed largely by your criticism.

    Take it from me. I know their business model. Assuming by some miracle you are offered the position, don't take it. They'll pay lip service to your ideas but that's not how they operate; they just want a churner-in-chief. You've provided an invaluable public service, and maybe you don't get enough recognition for that, but relative obscurity and a dogmatic audience is better than letting The Abyss Gaze Into You.

    Seriously. As someone who defied logic and advice and prudence to enter this vocation, keep doing what you're doing. There's no future in this.

    1. Whoa. All this frivolity and I've changed a life.

      The idea was to say to HuffPost and Fairfax: you've heard about disrupting your own business model, but how serious are you really? That last bit about Peter Hartcher is designed to rub their noses in that.

  7. Go for it.

    On the assumption that the comment about no pay is wrong, you can always back out if, after you've cooled-off, you think that potentially being sullied by association with Harcher is worth the risk.

    If he's got veto rights, I think you're fucked though.

    1. See above. One of us is fucked and it ain't me.

  8. Andrew, no one eviscerates press gallery journalists and the political classes better than you.
    Regular readers of your posts laugh and shake their heads at the generally piss poor output of the main stream media in general and the press gallery in particular.
    Regular readers will question anything and everything a politician says and does and that's how it should be.
    You have opened the eyes of this regular to the shenanigans of both politicians and press.
    If the Huff Post wants to come to Australia, fine by me, as long as it's not a septic imitation of the local yokel press. (An excellent sport section is a must)

    PS, If you need a reference don't hesitate to give me a whistle.

  9. Don't underestimate the advantage of working in your scanties, from home.

  10. I'm sure you're a shoe-in. As soon as your application hits the desk, they'll be saying "when can you start?" and "how much do you want to be paid?"

    1. Gotta keep putting the shoe in, hard and fast and often.

    2. Sadly Andrew you can afford to as you're a privileged white Anglo male.

      Anyone else eeven from the ethnic bourgeoisie would be stalked or be a person of interest. .
      Very dark days indeed

  11. Do it!! Now! I want to see Pompous Petes' head explode!


  12. Nah. Stay put at Chez Homeless. You are an entertaining host for drifters who gather here. I speak out of total self-interest.

  13. Hartcher..on a daily, personal basis.

  14. You would be a great acquisition for HuffPO, so I'd say go for it. If you find yourself compromised or even if you get cold feet, it shouldn't be impossible to withdraw.
    The prospect of your stirring the complacency of the feeble MSM is delicious to contemplate,

  15. If you want to play in the pig-pen, don't complain about getting dirty.
    We'll cover that.

  16. "Indeed, one live issue in Australian politics at the moment is that labor laws are undergoing change so that it will not only be possible to dismiss journalists for submitting such stories, but to defenestrate them and sue their estates for polluting the public discourse."

    Is this a joke or does it actually refer to something? If so, what?

    1. It's both. It refers to the reality that press gallery journalism is a woefully inadequate way of describing how we are governed. It also refers to half-baked plans oozing out of Erich Abetz for changes to labo(u)r laws.

      The reference to defenestration and posthumous litigation is a grim joke, but a joke nonetheless.

  17. Awwwwwgo for it.

    Susan Carland writes for Mia Greedy Freedman as she can enlighten the masses a little with her intellect and make all those dumb rich kids look even dumber with her wisdom

    Further case in point is the awesome all rounder

    Waleed Aly on The Project

    Best of luck in your decision and hope you get to meet Ms Huffington as well one day!!

  18. Haha. I wish they would hire you. Please let me know if you need a 2IC, I am well qualified, in the same zone as you....albeit that I arrived there from a different planet. Specialise in economics/finance/ biz and mining topics, haha.

    LOVE the Hartcher comment. I refuse to read anything he reads these days. He nearly caught me the other day with a piece about renewable energy, but it only took a paragraph or two for the first ill researched piece of BS to appear, whereupon I slapped myself on the wrist and closed the story.

  19. You should definitely apply. You should give them an insight into your traffic figures and how that has grown. But importantly, and I have expressed this before, you need to blog more regularly! Us poor readers have to endure day after day of bad press gallery journalism without the Politically Homeless antidote.

  20. John Webster29/5/15 10:18 pm

    And of Peter Hartcher in today's Canberra Times headlined "Tony Abbott rolled by his own ministers over stripping terrorists of citizenship"

    "The Labor opposition has struck a position of bipartisan accord with Abbott on national security. For this reason, the Parliament is no longer a functioning check on the government in this realm.
    THE ONLY REAL CHECK ON TONY ABBOTT on national security-related issues is his own cabinet and his own party. In this instance, it worked to defeat a rash and ill-considered idea. Or, as one minister said, “they’re lucky to have half a dozen ministers who still care about the rule of law.”"

    Even if we ignore what Labor can and has achieved in The Parliamentary Joint Committee on Intelligence and Security and what the Greens can do in the Senate, what does it say about Hartcher's view of the role of the press? What has happened to the arrogant belief that journalists are here to hold governments to account?

  21. While I support your application, I do feel your work is limited in terms of style and analytical approach. Too much fisking, not enough wider analysis. That said the historical perspective you frequently offer is the best of any journalist currently practicing in Australia.

  22. Sure u want to work there?