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26 September 1959 |
Adelaide, South Australia
|Occupation||Journalist, editor, columnist, TV host, radio host|
|Years active||1990s –|
|Employer||Herald Sun, Network Ten, News Limited|
|Television||The Bolt Report|
Andrew Bolt (born 26 September 1959 in Adelaide, South Australia) is an Australian journalist, newspaper columnist, radio commentator, blogger and television host. He is a columnist and former associate editor of the Melbourne-based Herald Sun. He has appeared on the Nine Network, Melbourne Talk Radio, ABC Television, Network Ten and local radio. In 2005, Bolt released a compilation of newspaper columns in a book entitled The Best of Andrew Bolt—Still Not Sorry. From 2011, he has hosted The Bolt Report on Network Ten.
Born to newly-arrived Dutch migrants, Bolt spent his childhood in remote rural areas such as Tarcoola, South Australia, while his father worked as a schoolteacher and principal. After completing secondary school, Bolt travelled and worked overseas before returning to Australia and starting an Arts degree at the University of Adelaide. After "one of the worst years of [his] life" he left university to take up a cadetship at The Age, a Melbourne broadsheet newspaper. He worked for The Age in various roles, including as a sports writer, prior to joining The Herald, which in 1990 merged with The Sun News-Pictorial to form the Herald Sun. His time as a reporter included a stint as the newspaper's Asia correspondent, based first in Hong Kong and later in Bangkok.
Bolt has had various roles on numerous TV networks, radio stations and in the print media. From 2001 to 2011 he was a regular guest on Insiders. He hosted a daily radio show, Breakfast with Steve Price and Andrew Bolt, on the former MTR 1377. He was previously a regular guest on 3AW in Melbourne. Until 2011, he appeared every Monday on the Nine Network's breakfast television program Today to discuss the news of the day. He appeared weekly on 2GB in Sydney for The Clash with Union leader Paul Howes, and (as of February 2013) appears weekly on 2GB on Nights with Steve Price.
He is a fill-in panelist on The Project on Network Ten and from May 2011 hosts his own TV show, The Bolt Report, also on Network Ten. He has appeared on Q&A, Late Night Live with Phillip Adams and more.
Controversy and criticism
Leak of intelligence document
In June 2003, Bolt published an article criticising Andrew Wilkie in which he quoted from a classified intelligence document written by Wilkie as an intelligence analyst for the Office of National Assessments. It was claimed, but never proven, that someone in Foreign Minister Alexander Downer's office had leaked the document to Bolt. A spokesperson for the Australian Federal Police said that they did not have any evidence to identify the culprit.
Bolt has frequently clashed with Robert Manne, Professor of Politics at La Trobe University, about the Stolen Generation. Bolt claims there were no large-scale removals of children "for purely racist reasons". After Bolt challenged Manne to "name just 10" children stolen for racial reasons, Manne replied with fifty names which, Bolt pointed out, included children rescued from sexual abuse and removed for other humanitarian reasons. Manne argued that Bolt's views on the subject constitute a case of historical denialism. Bolt noted multiple instances of contemporary Aboriginal children being left "in grave danger that we would not tolerate for children of any other race because we are so terrified of the 'stolen generations' myth."
In 2002, Magistrate Jelena Popovic was awarded $246,000 damages for defamation after suing Bolt and the publishers of the Herald Sun over a 13 December 2000 column in which he claimed she had "hugged two drug traffickers she let walk free". Popovic asserted she had in fact shaken their hands to congratulate them on having completed a rehabilitation program. The jury found that the article was not true, that it was not a faithful and accurate record of judicial proceedings and that it was not a fair comment on a matter of public interest. It found that the column had, however, been reasonable and not malicious.
Bolt emerged from the Supreme Court after the jury verdict, stating his column had been accurate and that the mixed verdict was a victory for free speech. His statement outside the court was harshly criticised by Supreme Court judge Bernard Bongiorno, who later overturned the jury's decision, ruling that Bolt had not acted reasonably because he did not seek a response from Ms Popovic before writing the article and, in evidence given during the trial, showed he did not care whether or not the article was defamatory. Justice Bongiorno included $25,000 punitive damages in his award against Bolt and the newspaper for both the "misleading" and "disingenuous" comments he had made outside court and the newspaper's reporting of the jury's decision. The Court of Appeal later reversed the $25,000 punitive damages, though it upheld the defamation finding, describing Bolt's conduct as "at worst, dishonest and misleading and at best, grossly careless".
In September 2010, nine individuals commenced legal proceedings in the Federal Court against Bolt and the Herald Sun over two separate posts on Bolt's blog. The nine sued over posts titled "It's so hip to be black"/"White is the New Black" and "White Fellas in the Black". The articles suggested it was fashionable for "fair-skinned people" of diverse ancestry to choose Aboriginal racial identity for the purposes of political and career clout. The applicants claimed the posts breached the Racial Discrimination Act. They sought an apology, legal costs, and a gag on republishing the articles and blogs, and "other relief as the court deems fit". They did not seek damages.
In May 2005, Bolt established a web-only forum in which readers could offer comments, feedback and questions in response to his columns. He posted some of these comments, together with brief responses, in the late afternoon of every business day, on the Herald Sun website.
Bolt's forum changed to a more conventional blog format in July 2006. The blog covers a wide variety of topics, including climate change, Australian politics, the ABC and issues concerned with multiculturalism and Islam. Comments are open but are moderated to remove defamation, obscenities and so on. Bolt states that abusive commenters will be banned, but opposing voices will not. In late 2009, Bolt temporarily restricted comments to one "readers' tips" post per day.
- Barry, Tony. "The Outsider". Institute of Public Affairs. Archived from the original on 11 June 2011. Retrieved 29 May 2011.
- Bromberg, Justice. "Eatock v Bolt  FCA 110". Federal Court of Australia. Retrieved 9 December 2011.
- Andrew Bolt (2005). Still Not Sorry: The Best of Andrew Bolt. News Custom Publishing. ISBN 1-921116-02-1.
- Knox, David (9 May 2011). "The Bolt Report". TV Tonight. Retrieved 21 May 2011.
- Bolt, Andrew (November 21, 2011). "Julia hops on the conservative train". Column (Herald Sun).
- "From Conservatism to Controversy". Rotary.
- Andrew, Bolt (April 9, 2010). "If I were of the Right, I’d say so". Column (Herald Sun).
- "Nights with Steve Price". Retrieved 2013-02-19.
- Alan Ramsey (24 March 2006). "Bolt from blue sets tongues wagging". The Sydney Morning Herald.
- "Democratic Sabotage". Media Watch.
- Andrew Bolt (28 June 2006). "Be a Manne and name just 10". Herald Sun (Melbourne).
- Andrew Bolt (5 September 2006). "Stolen generations: My Melbourne Writers' Festival speech". Herald Sun blog.
- Robert Manne (9 September 2006). "The cruelty of denial". The Age (Melbourne).
- Andrew Bolt (19 September 2006). "Another stolen life". Herald Sun blog.
- "Popovic v Herald & Weekly Times Limited & Anor (No. 2)  VSC 220". Australasian Legal Information Institute. 6 June 2002.
- "Herald & Weekly Times Ltd & Bolt v Popovic  VSCA 161". Australasian Legal Information Institute. 21 November 2003.
- "Bolt defends articles in discrimination case". ABC News (Australia). 29 March 2011.
- Karen Kissane (30 September 2010). "Case against Bolt to test racial identity, free-speech limits". The Age (Melbourne).
- "Andrew Bolt – Herald Sun columnist guilty of race discrimination". The Age (Melbourne). 28 September 2011.
- Andrew Bolt, commenting on moderation policy (at "30 October 2007 (09:01pm)"): "Dumb abuse gets you snipped, but dumb posts don't."
- Andrew Bolt (1 August 2008). "One million blogging warnings to a lazy media". Herald Sun (Melbourne).
- Andrew Bolt (7 December 2009). "Two million hits a month". Herald Sun blog.
- Andrew Collett (11 August 2011). "'No religion' belongs to the unspoken for". The Drum.
- Andrew Bolt's Blog at Herald Sun
- Decisions of the Victorian Court of Appeal in the Bolt/Popovic Case