National Press Club (Australia)

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National Press Club in Barton, Australian Capital Territory

The National Press Club is an association of primarily news journalists, but also includes academics, business people and members of the public service, and is based in Canberra, Australia. It was founded in the 1960s as the National Press Luncheon Club by a few journalists with the backing of the Canberra Press Gallery. It was renamed the National Press Club in 1968, and established official new premises in 1976.[1] Since its inception the Club's reputation has steadily grown, attracting respected political figures, scientists, diplomats and sporting figures to its weekly luncheons. Its guests included prime ministers and other political leaders of both Australia and other countries, including Gough Whitlam, Richard Nixon, Margaret Thatcher and Indira Gandhi.

In its current form, the National Press Club address is a weekly formal speech of approximately one hour, which includes time for questions from members of the press. The long serving president the former journalist Ken Randall introduces the speaker and moderates the questions. The addresses are broadcast on the ABC Network at 12:30 pm.

'Wormgate' – 2007 Federal Election Leaders Debate Controversy[edit]

On 21 October 2007 a debate between Prime Minister John Howard and Opposition Leader Kevin Rudd was hosted by the National Press Club from the Great Hall of Parliament in Canberra. The debate was televised live by the Australian Broadcasting Corporation, Channel Nine and Sky News. A controversial decision was taken during the debate to interrupt the provision of the live transmission signal to the Channel Nine network because of the inclusion by Channel Nine within its broadcast picture of a real time graphical display of the aggregate studio audience reaction to the debate.[2][3] This graphical display is referred to as the 'Worm', after the form in which it is rendered and an approximately 'worm like' movement of the display within the area of the screen in which it appears. The decision by the National Press Club to interrupt the provision of the live transmission signal to the Channel Nine network has been heavily criticised as contrary to the principles of free speech that are a part of the journalistic tradition.[4] On 22 October 2007, Greens Senator Bob Brown called for a Senate Enquiry into the circumstances in which the transmission signal had been cut.[5]

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References[edit]

  1. ^ Cannon, Judy (June 2004). "THE NATIONAL PRESS CLUB: HOME OF AUSTRALIA'S FOURTH ESTATE". NLA News XIV (9) (National Library of Australia). Retrieved 10 August 2010. 
  2. ^ "ABC, Press Club cut worm: Nine". The Sydney Morning Herald. 22 October 2007. 
  3. ^ Annabel Crabb (22 October 2007). "The Worm turns, and sneaks back on screen to bite Howard". The Sydney Morning Herald. 
  4. ^ "Nine angry over bid to silence 'worm'". ABC Online. 22 Oct 2007. 
  5. ^ "Brown wants Senate 'worm' probe". ABC Online. 22 Oct 2007.