RAMADGE DAMAGED: Age editor's judgment questioned after two front-page fiascos

paulramadgedamaged When the air-kissed darling of the Left’s most celebrated causes, prominent legal identity Julian Burnside QC criticises The Age newspaper, you know something is very rotten in the state of the Spencer Street Soviet. The Age loves Burnside and normally the feeling is mutual.


Bunside, the poster boy of The Age’s favourite campaigns, human rights for alleged terrorists, immigration asylum seekers, striking dock workers et al, has today launched a verbal Scud missile aimed right at the damaged editorship of new Age boss Paul Ramadge.

It follows Ramadge’s recent controversial decision to publish a false story that incorrectly claimed retired football champion James Hird was planning a comeback at Essendon. Hird denied it the morning it ran and said he was puzzled he wasn’t even asked for comment by its author Rohan Connolly


The Herald Sun’s John Ferguson spoke with the senior barrister and reports Burnside making some very powerful observations about The Age’s disgraceful publication of the unvetted and fanciful claims of Minister Theo Theophanous’s accuser.

Most chillingly of all, for Age readers, Burnside compared the the newspaper’s attacks on Theophanous with the dreadful situation faced by Dr Mohamed Haneef, who was shabbily treated by the press and the federal police last year. If The Age had the power to do so, it would no doubt turn the quiet Indian doctor turned SIM card collector into a secular saint of some kind.

At one stage they appeared in 2007 to be contemplating changing the masthead to the Daily Haneef, so outraged were they about their perception that Howard and the ever-crafty Kevin Andrews was attempting to demonise the doc.

Ferguson reported:

AN eminent lawyer has likened the treatment of embattled Brumby government minister Theo Theophanous with that of one-time terror suspect Mohamed Haneef.

Julian Burnside, QC, said yesterday the decision to publicly air the allegations of rape by an anonymous woman had denied the minister justice.

Mr Burnside said that, like the Haneef case, a series of claims was made before the person involved was interviewed or charged.

Mr Theophanous, he said, was effectively “defenceless”.

“I think it amounts to trial by media and it’s a very rough way to do things,” Mr Burnside said.

“It really is like the Haneef case. The allegations are made in public, very damaging allegations, they’re made in public before even he’s been interviewed by the police. It puts him in a very difficult position.”


The Age’s reporting clearly troubled many people, including those with some regard for the rule of law and a proper legal process.

After an investigation that ran for eighteen months, Police are still yet to interview the Minister or even inform him of what he’s accused of doing. For that, he has to buy a copy of The Age newspaper.

Burnside continues, making the point that Theophanous might not ever be afforded an opportunity to set the record straight in the event he’s not charged with offences based on the seemingly implausible claims of the accuser, who admits to being a psychiatric patient and suffering from mental illness.

He (Burnside) said that if the police decided not to charge Mr Theophanous, he might never have the chance to defend himself properly.

“So no charges are brought and he never has a chance to clear his name publicly. That’s immensely damaging for someone in his position.

“It seems to me quite a wrong way for anyone in his position to be dealt with.”

Mr Burnside added that it would be “reprehensible” if police were leaking to the media details of the inquiry.

Victoria Police are expected to respond to public pressure soon and interview the Minister this coming week, with authorities expected to announce the result of the eighteen month long investigation very soon. It appears almost certain that aspects of Police conduct, including alleged leaking to Age multi-millionaire crime reporter, John Silvester, will be referred to the Office of Police Integrity for a possible public hearing.



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13 responses to “RAMADGE DAMAGED: Age editor's judgment questioned after two front-page fiascos

  1. Media Watch

    One of vexnews worst Articles. Reads like a bumbling idiot. Repetitive lines without flow makes it hard to read.

    Yes, Theo has been denied justice by the process and the Age’s handling of the case. I think the Age should be investigated. Certainly there is grounds for a review by the Media Council. Will they take action against the Age or is the court the only way Theo can obtain justice. Burnside may be looking at a commission in suing the Age for defamation

  2. Media Watch Watcher

    LOL @ ‘Media Watch’. Pot. Kettle. Black.

  3. Anonymous

    Theophanous has been tried and convicted by the Spencer St Soviet. Comrades at the Age have presided over Theo’s demise.

    If Theophanous is never charged it wont matter as the Age hatchet job will have many thinking he got away with it.

    Isnt this what defamation laws are meant to protect? It would seem not.

  4. Magnifying glass

    The police interview of Theo should be televised. That way we can see how he tries to wriggle his way out of this one.

  5. Anonymous

    The televised police interview of Theophanous should include a phone poll of guilt or innocence – let the people decide his fate.

  6. Anonymous

    Oh yes let’s apply the blowtorch of internet and phone polls. Once we have voted on his guilt then we can use a phone poll to determine his term of imprisonment.

  7. Murdoch Press Is A Joke

    The very suggestion that the Herald Sun posses the moral high ground on fair, trithful and responsible reporting is laughable.

    They have been successfully sued for defamation more times than most of us have had hot dinners this year.

    Theo has form – lots more to come out I am sure.


  8. Anonymous

    The Age/The Argus – same fate.

  9. The ER

    The OC/Vexnews – same fate.

  10. The ER

    Simon Adams/Dark Rider – same fate

  11. The ER

    Alex White/Jess Walsh – same fate

  12. ER hater

    ER/Party of Five – same fate

  13. Vebteptapidge

    kycsmqvsawrjfxomwell, hi admin adn people nice forum indeed. how’s life? hope it’s introduce branch 😉

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