1939 fire

Tragic 1939 fires remembered

With much of Australia currently ablaze I’m reminded of the terrible 1939 fires which are etched forever in my family’s psychology.

My uncle Michael Gorey was killed on Black Friday, 13 January 1939 at Saxton’s Sawmill, Tanjil Bren, along with Ben and Dorothy Saxton. He was 19 years old.

My father Peter was three years old. He huddled under wet blankets in a paddock at Fumina with his parents and five siblings. They watched their house go up in flames and heard the bellows of their 20 cows, which died in the fire or were later shot.

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media lies

Dealing with media lies

media lies
The media is reluctant to apologise for publishing false information.

If you work in communications there will be times when you need to deal with false statements and lies that have been published or broadcast in the media.

As a former newspaper editor I’m aware that mistakes occur. What galls me is lazy journalism and the deliberate spreading of misinformation.

Sadly there are more instances of this than ever because of declining editorial standards and pressure to publish quickly online.

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Deb Frecklington interview

Bad week for Queensland political advisers

Deb Frecklington interview
Deb Frecklington’s interview with the Courier Mail created controversy over claims that she was attacking the Premier’s image and lack of children.

Being a political adviser carries responsibility to give sound advice, follow correct process and respect the role of public servants, which doesn’t always occur.

A good adviser ensures clear communication, cuts through layers of bureaucracy and troubleshoots issues. An outcome that’s good for the politician should happily be one that’s good for the public as well.

Having worked on each side of the political triangle as a journalist, pubic servant and ministerial adviser, I’ve seen good and bad across all three.

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Volcano

Kasparov ignites journalism debate

Volcano
A scientist has said a volcanic eruption in Australia is overdue.

Former world chess champion Garry Kasparov caught my attention on Twitter recently with some posts about modern media and the need to report facts.

A very intelligent man, Kasparov currently chairs the Human Rights Foundation and its International Council. In 2017, he founded the Renew Democracy Initiative (RDI).

Here’s the tweet which piqued my interest:

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Champagne Beach

Nanda Blue Hole

Champagne Beach
Champagne Beach on the island of Espiritu Santo in Vanuatu is one of the most stunning beaches in the world.

One of the highlights of my Vanuatu holiday in early January was visiting Nanda Blue Hole. It’s a picturesque freshwater natural swimming hole surrounded by forest and teeming with tropical fish.

Entrance costs 1000 vatu (A$11). That’s more expensive than other blue holes, but there’s decking, change rooms and amenities.

The money goes to the traditional owners.

My daughter Maggie and I went there after visiting Champagne Beach, which was beautiful but also very hot in the baking sun.

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