The Donald Trump of Australian politics is from Lismore
A VENOMOUS admission from former Lismore resident and ACT chief minister Andrew Barr has revealed he "hates journalists”.
He made the comment during a communication event at Parliament House last week, and a recording of his presentation to the group was leaked. His contempt for the media was loud and clear.
"I hate journalists,” he said.
"I'm over dealing with the mainstream media as a form of communication.”
This is a curious comment for a senior politician to make, considering the efforts they make in securing positive stories in print and online.
Since the leak, he's been described as the Donald Trump of Australian politics and a "little dictator”.
When Mr Barr's office was contacted by the Northern Star for an interview to place his comments into context, his Communications Advisor sent us a media statement.
"Canberra is a diverse community and the traditional media no longer engages with that diverse community,” he said.
"Audiences for traditional media are ageing and disappearing (and) this means trying new things.”
Mr Barr said the Government wants to embrace new technologies and more direct ways of communicating with our community.
"Our communications will be concise, engaging and delivered using the most appropriate channels to reach our intended audiences,” he said.
"Given there is such interest in my views on mainstream media, I can confirm that I cancelled my subscription to the Canberra Times some years ago. One of the reasons for this is I believe the Canberra Times has a conservative outlook in their reporting. Any material they publish that is of interest to me is given away for free on their website.”
Mr Barr said he approved of free speech.
"It is good that there is diversity in media ownership and opinion,” he said.
"Overall, concentrated media ownership, and particularly newspaper monopolies in cities or regions, is not good for democracy. The days of newspapers telling their readers how to vote, or how to think, should be long gone.”
However, Member for Page, Kevin Hogan said he saw a real difference in how local and national media reported on news and issues at a local, regional and national level.
"I see a great dichotomy between local and national media,” he said.
"Local media with its community focus is fair and balanced, but the national media is almost lined up into tribal groups with an obvious agenda.”