Reporting grassroots greenshoots when faith in establishment politics dies: @margokingston1

Margo: A version of this column appeared in the Byron Shire Echo – @Echonetdaily – on 29 April as a substitute for Mungo McCallum’s weekly column while he recovered from surgery.    Mungo and I last discussed politics just after the federal election on Late Night Live. We both knew what Abbott would do – seek to close down free speech and climate change science information and further corporate interests at the expense of community. The bottom line was that a disenchanted public had voted in a climate change denying Government at a time when climate change amelioration and adaptation was crucial to the survival of our species. I felt lucky to have co-ordinated the […]

Getting #leardblockade arrested, WTF is journalism and who’s the extremist: @margokingston1 interview with @dailytelegraph

[clear]   My third trip to #leardblockade last week helped me clarify my vision for No Fibs (see Mass arrests at #leardblockade: @margokingston1 Twitter report and Picnic at boundary of Whitehaven State Forest: @margokingston1 April Fools Day Twitter report). I’m happy to answer your question in comments. I’ve never been an ‘embedded journalist’ before, and it’s testing. I was allowed inside the #leardblockade camp and was privy to its plans and problems, most of which I could not report as it would tip off the other side. The journalistic upside was being able to report and photograph the camp and the people who had come along to help. Since no-one else was reporting them, this […]

Reporting Indi: A reflection by Margo Kingston

[clear] By Margo Kingston, 1 December 2013 I take the Gold Coast train to Brisbane airport, the plane to Melbourne, the sky bus to Southern Cross Station, the train to Seymour, and the bus to Wangaratta train station. Wayne Jansson leads me to his battered old car and drives me to the hamlet of St James. A late frost has killed the canola oil crop, and the farmers who couldn’t afford to let the crop rot as fertilizer for next year have rolled it up into hay. The cherry trees look good. Wayne says his Mum Glenys and step father Mark will host my stay because he lives in a ramshackle […]

It’s time, Finance and AFP: Randall’s Cairns claim must be investigated

[clear] By Margo Kingston 20 October, 2013 OK, we’re starting to get to the pointy end of the political travel rorts scandal. My understanding of the Don Randall matter is this. In November 2012 the Perth MP and a family member flew to Cairns for an overnight stay. . He claimed the $5259 trip was “electorate business”. A week after returning from Cairns, on November 26, he updated his pecuniary interests register, saying:  “My wife and I have taken possession of the house at the Cairns location. We intend to rent the house as an investment.” When Fairfax revealed this after a tip-off from a citizen journalist, he said: “The claims […]

How will Media, Finance and AFP handle the evidence that the PM is a cheat?

By Margo Kingston, 8 October, 2013 It looks like the Prime Minister is a serial cheat. It’s hard to imagine a bigger test of the integrity and fairness of our democratic institutions than that. Will the press gallery get forensic and press for answers from the PM and action from the authorities? Will the AFP investigate? Will the Finance Department audit his enormous expenses claims while in opposition to search for more rorting? The AFP chose to prosecute Peter Slipper for falsely claiming less than $1,000 for an alleged private tour of wineries. It has now been revealed that Tony Abbott falsely claimed more than $1600 to attend the wedding of […]

New No Fibs citizen journalism project: The CSG social movement

By Margo Kingston 7 October 2013 I knew I wanted to do journalism differently after experiencing the disconnect between the reality on the ground and the closed world of insider political reporting while covering Pauline Hanson’s 1998 election campaign. My idea was to live in the north western NSW town of Bourke to report rural and Aboriginal issues outside the bubble, compare the realities with the big picture policy and politics, and question the powerful armed with that information. Instead the Sydney Morning Herald gave me Webdiary, and from 2000 to 2005 I collaborated with readers to report, explain and investigate federal politics. This year I returned to my vocation, practicing […]

Pissed off with LibLab? Don’t make them happy by voting informal

By Margo Kingston 29 August 2013 I’ve had several Twitter discussions with people who don’t think either big party deserves their vote and reckon voting informal is the way to stick it up both of them. It’s not. In fact, if the big two can’t get your first preference their next best option is for you to vote informal. Don’t make them happier than you have to! Your vote has the power of money, and money talks. This election your House of Representatives vote is worth $2.48 to whoever gets your first preference and $2.48 to whoever gets your first preference in the Senate. So you have $4.96 in your pocket […]

Time for policy meat from the incoming Abbott government, but how can we get it?

by Margo Kingston 19 August 2013 It’s over for Labor. I knew it intellectually when I saw Rudd steal from the Coalition the Northern Australia policy Labor had already destroyed, then hold up a bottle of vegemite to scare voters about a GST Abbott had convincingly ruled out in his first term. I felt it when I read Labor election campaign strategists telling Rudd via Peter Hartcher how he should change his tactics. So that’s that then. For those progressives who engage with and care about politics it’s time to drown sorrows, go on holidays or shred your humanity playing blame games or clawing members of the winning team. For the media, […]

Ready to go on @NoFibs Election13 citizen journo seat reports

by Margo Kingston 4 August 2013 Nearly fifteen years ago, when I was a political journalist in Canberra, I tried to get posted to Bourke to report rural and Aboriginal affairs from the outside in. Now I’ll be covering the 2013 election from the Gold Coast with 20 plus reporters on the ground in seats around the nation. No Fibs’ seats reporters are volunteers who live in the seats they cover, so they report as constituents as well as citizen journalists. It’s a pro-am team. Two volunteers are working journalists, one is a veteran citizen journo for indie media and another a final year journalism student. They join public servants, accountants, […]

ABC loses plot on ethics and news, citizen journos shine

by Margo Kingston 21 June 2013    Update 22 September 2013 Dear ABC Insiders, I note that you had Piers Akerman back on the Insiders program this morning after a three month hiatus following his heinous comments about Prime Minister Gillard’s sexuality on June 16th this year which resulted in many members of the public (including myself), complaining directly to the ABC. I think it’s fair to say, many viewers of the show have enjoyed this hiatus, and in fact, we had been hoping it would be permanent. This is evidently not the case. You waited until two weeks after the federal election to have him back on which I […]