||This article's lead section may not adequately summarize key points of its contents. (February 2011)|
1 June 1950 |
Wewak, Papua New Guinea
|Education||Year 10 Certificate
Guildford Grammar School
|Occupation||Columnist / Political Commentator|
Piers Akerman (born 1 June 1950) is an Australian journalist, conservative commentator and columnist for the Sydney newspaper The Daily Telegraph.
Piers Akerman was born in Wewak, Papua New Guinea, the third son in a family of four children of John, an Australian Government doctor, and Eve Akerman (d. 2003), a newspaper columnist and reviewer. The family left PNG for India in 1951, before returning to Perth, Western Australia, where Piers was raised.
He attended Guildford Grammar School, where he remained until his expulsion, when he was "asked to leave" following a dispute with the headmaster. He spent the last few months of his schooling at Christ Church Grammar School but did not complete his final exams.
In the United States, while covering the 1974 America's Cup at Newport, Rhode Island, Akerman met his wife, Suzanne, a solicitor. They were married in Connecticut several years later and have two children, Tess and Pia. They now live in Sydney.
Akerman began his media career at Western Australia's only daily, The West Australian. He then moved on to the short-lived Victorian newspaper Newsday and took his first News Limited job at the Daily Mirror in Sydney. He was briefly at The Australian as Foreign Editor in 1983.
He worked for a time at British national newspaper, The Times, and spent ten years as a foreign correspondent in the United States. On returning to Australia, he was editor of The Advertiser, Adelaide (1988) and The Sunday Herald Sun, Melbourne (1990). During 1990-92 he was editor-in-chief of the Herald & Weekly Times group in Melbourne before becoming a vice-president of Fox News, USA in 1993.
Akerman's columns were noted for raising the ire of Mark Latham, former leader of the Australian Labor Party and the Federal Opposition, among others. Latham was known to weave complaints about Akerman's writing into his speeches.
Climate change skepticism
Akerman is a catastrophic-climate-change sceptic who argues against the Australian Government's price on carbon. He approvingly quotes the work of the Nongovernmental International Panel on Climate Change (NIPCC), run by Fred Singer.
In a November 2006 article in The Daily Telegraph, Ackerman quoted senior IPCC scientist John T. Houghton as saying "Unless we announce disasters, no one will listen", attributing the quote to his 1994 book Global Warming, The Complete Briefing. However, the quote does not appear in any edition of the book. Houghton denies saying any such thing and believes the opposite to be true. The quote became widely used among climate change sceptics to argue that climate change scientists showed a propensity to exaggerate their case.
In February 2010, Ackerman responded by citing a 10 September 1995 article in which Houghton was quoted as saying “If we want a good environmental policy in the future, we’ll have to have a disaster."
Five former employees, three of whom agreed to be named, have said they witnessed Mr Akerman "sexually harass" female members of his staff, according to a 1991 story in The Sunday Age.
Alleged assault threat
One of the most controversial episodes in Akerman's life was his alleged threat to assault the literary editor of The Advertiser, Shirley Stott Despoja. The dispute ended before a full bench of the Supreme Court where the newspaper appealed against Stott Despoja's successful worker's compensation claim for stress-related sick leave pay. Stott Despoja alleged: "I was physically threatened by the editor while alone with him in an office in a dispute over my work." The appeal by The Advertiser was dismissed and Stott Despoja won her $4000 claim.
In 2006, former director of NRMA Richard James Talbot was awarded a $200,000 defamation payout plus costs. In regards to one point the judgment read "The inaccuracies of fact by the defendant [Akerman] on this topic are gross".
- "Papua New Guinea Association of Australia - Vale List". 2003. Retrieved 30 August 2007.
- "The power of a Murdoch man". The Sunday Age. 12 August 1991. Retrieved 28 August 2007.
- "Conference Contributors, 14th Conference of The Samuel Griffith Society". samuelgriffith.org.au. 2002. Retrieved 28 August 2007.
- "Iron Mike Latham Goes Ballistic". crikey.com.au. 2002. Retrieved 14 January 2013.
- Akerman, Piers (31 July 2008). "Icy reality cools the climate cultists". News Ltd. Archived from the original on 5 August 2008. Retrieved 2013-09-17. "Unlike the hysterical IPCC report, which was riddled with errors and mis-statements, ignored available scientific data, and has already been contradicted in several major areas by more recent research, the [NIPCC] authors don't say that anthropogenic greenhouse gases cannot produce some warming, but they do say that the evidence shows that they are not playing a major role."
- "Fabricated quote used to discredit climate scientist", The Independent (London), Wednesday, 10 February 2010, retrieved 15 February 2010 Archived 18 February 2010 at WebCite
- Booker, Christopher (20 February 2010). "What the weatherman never said - Telegraph". London: telegraph.co.uk. Retrieved 22 May 2010.
- Piers Akerman (18 February 2010). "Malicious bullets fired by the global warmists’ guns". Daily Telegraph (Australia). Archived from the original on 18 June 2010.
- Richard James Talbot v Nationwide News Pty Ltd  NSWDC 59 page 22
- "NRMA director awarded $200,000". The Courier-Mail (www.news.com.au). Retrieved 16 February 2010.[dead link]