Flat White

John Hewson joins the Salon des Refusés

22 August 2021

6:19 PM

22 August 2021

6:19 PM

Poor John Hewson. After being booted from The SMAge for being pale, male and stale — as stale as the cake that lost him the 1993, with his bitter rants against the party that once made him its leader and handed him almost free rein — has ended up in the Salon des Refusés, the Saturday Paper

It’s Anna Schwartz that has the art gallery, but left-wing property developer Morry has a strange and gloomy collection of has-beens, never wills and fringe dwellers that make up the contributors roster of Australia’s most boring paper (paper rather than newspaper because as it’s published on a Thursday, it can never, ever carry any news.

In other words, Hewson will fit in brilliantly.

The Schwartz empire, Black Inc (geddit?), are trumpeting the miserably old toerag as a brilliant hire:

Hewson writes with a long and steady view of politics. He writes with moral force about how the country might be and how our leaders have declined to take us there. He is a cogent critic of failures in climate action, refugee policy and economic reform.

Each week, he will cover politics and accountability, with a particular focus on how to make Australia a more just country.

In his first regular column, he writes about welfare reform. How could the piecemeal changes of the past 18 months be moulded together into a sustaining policy?

“There has been considerable recent criticism of the miserly reset of JobSeeker as an inadequate unemployment benefit in current and prospective circumstances,” Hewson writes.

“It is difficult to understand how the government justifies setting the level of JobSeeker below the poverty line. It appears much of the government’s decision was based on the prime minister’s personal prejudice.”

Hewson will be an asset to The Saturday Paper and its mission to cover Australia from all viewpoints.

Yep. You’re thinking what we’re thinking. If they can say The Saturday Paper has a “mission to cover Australia from all viewpoints” with a straight face, they can say anything. 

Their audience of tired old lefties must be particularly undemanding.

The Saturday Paper editorial crew largely consists of “unknowns” Morry adopts in the way other people adopt cats or dogs and then leave by the road 75 kilometres from home when they get boring.

This has its virtues — these people come cheap — but the hires come with little knowledge of politics, history and journalism other than what they have gained at the protests that happen outside Victoria’s State Library most weekends.

It’s interesting to note that Lenore Taylor, editor of The Guardian Australia and a Canberra Press Gallery veteran who got to see Hewson close up during his spectacular rise and even more spectacular fall and knows his, er, qualities, was obviously in no hurry to pick him up.

So Hewie’s gone with Morry.

At least it’s just that one bit better than ending up in Crikey. Just.

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