Chris Kenny (journalist)

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Chris Kenny (born 1962) is an Australian commentator, author, former political adviser and journalist.

Career[edit]

Television[edit]

Born in Adelaide, Kenny initially studied Wildlife Management and worked for South Australia's National Parks and Wildlife Service before returning to university to study journalism. He won the National Tree Program Media Award in 1985 working for The Murray Pioneer in Renmark, South Australia, before going on to work for the now defunct The News in Adelaide. He began his television career at the ABC's 7.30 Report, moving to Adelaide's Channel 10 in 1989 and Channel Nine in 1997. At various times a columnist for The Adelaide Review, The Sunday Mail and The Advertiser, he also published two books: State of Denial, about the downfall of the Bannon government, and Women's Business, on the Hindmarsh Island bridge controversy.

Political[edit]

Kenny became a political adviser in 2000, as Director of Strategic Communications for Liberal Premier of SA, John Olsen. When Olsen was replaced by Premier Rob Kerin, Kenny became Chief of Staff. In 2002 he joined Foreign Minister Alexander Downer's office as media adviser, and was prominent in the handling of issues such as the Iraq War, the Bali terrorism attacks and the AWB scandal. In 2006 he was appointed chief of staff to the Foreign Minister. Kenny also stood for Liberal Party preselection for the Adelaide seat of Unley, but was defeated by David Pisoni, who went on to win at the 2006 state election.

Journalism[edit]

After the defeat of the Howard Government, Kenny worked as a columnist for The Advertiser, as a television reporter for the Adelaide edition of A Current Affair, and as a talkback radio host for 5AA. In January 2009 Kenny was recruited as chief of staff to then-Opposition Leader Malcolm Turnbull. When Turnbull lost the Liberal leadership, Kenny resigned. He subsequently provided opinion pieces and analysis for The Australian, ABC The Drum and SkyNews. In 2010 Kenny was appointed General Manager, External Affairs, for transport giant Asciano, but left at the end of the year to return to media work.[1]

Kenny has appeared on ABC TV programs such as Insiders and Q&A alongside politicians and community figures. On Q&A in May 2011 he questioned the Labor government's ability to deliver a surplus in his lifetime.[2] He has been a vocal critic of ABC expansionism and bias.[3] Kenny also argued from July 2011 that Julia Gillard could not recover as prime minister, that Labor would lose and that Kevin Rudd could limit the extent of those losses. He clashed on television with former Labor leader Mark Latham over this analysis but was proven correct when Labor did return to Rudd and still lost the election.[4]

In September 2013, the ABC program The Hamster Decides broadcast a photoshopped image of Kenny having sex with a dog. At the end of 2013, Kenny launched defamation action against the ABC program involved and one of its hosts, Andrew Hansen. In the same month, Chris Kenny's son Liam posted an article[5] criticising the response of his father to the image. Further he described his father as, "a staunchly neo-conservative, anti-progress, anti-worker defender of the status quo" and that he, "spits at anyone concerned with such trivialities as gender equality, environmental issues or labour rights from his Twitter account on a daily basis.".

In April 2014, the managing director of the ABC apologised to Kenny for the incident, and expressed regret for "the delay in making this apology".[6]

Kenny has a weekly column in The Weekend Australian and Adelaide's Sunday Mail, and since 2014 hosts Friday Live and Viewpoint on Sky News Australia, which are both opinion programs. Friday Live was axed on December 12, 2014.

He is a keen Australian rules football follower, having played for at Reserve Grade level for SANFL clubs Norwood and West Adelaide. In 2014 he was appointed an official ambassador of the Adelaide Crows AFL club.[7]

Controversies[edit]

During the 2014 Sydney hostage crisis Kenny received criticism [8] over a series of tweets questioning the motivation behind the #illridewithyou campaign which provided assistance to Muslim public transport users.

Published works[edit]

References[edit]