Chris Kenny (born 1962) is an Australian political commentator, author and former political adviser. He is currently a columnist for The Australian newspaper as well as the host of the twice-weekly Sky News Australia program Viewpoint.
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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 Network Ten station in 1989 and Channel Nine in 1997. At various times a columnist for The Adelaide Review, The Sunday Mail and The Advertiser.
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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.
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. Kenny was Turnbull's chief of staff during the Utegate scandal, resigning when Turnbull subsequently lost the Liberal leadership. After leaving Turnbull's office, Kenny wrote 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. Kenny has a weekly column in The Weekend Australian and Adelaide's Sunday Mail.
Kenny has appeared on ABC TV programs such as Insiders and Q&A alongside politicians and community figures. He has been a vocal critic of ABC expansionism and bias. 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.
Since 2013, Kenny has hosted Viewpoint and Friday Live on Sky News Australia, which are both opinion programs. Friday Live finished on 12 December 2014, replaced by a second weekly edition of Viewpoint. Prior to these formats, Kenny hosted Saturday Agenda.
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 April 2014, the managing director of the ABC apologised to Kenny for the incident, and expressed regret for "the delay in making this apology".
Following the 2014 Sydney hostage crisis Kenny criticised the #illridewithyou campaign and the refusal of many to accept the Islamist motivation of the siege. Kenny had been at the Lindt Chocolat Café, the scene of the hostage crisis, only minutes before it unfolded.
He is a keen Australian rules football follower, having played 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. Kenny is the cousin of political journalist Mark Kenny.
- State of Denial (Wakefield Press, 1993, ISBN 978-1862543003) about the 1992 collapse of South Australia's State Bank
- It Would be Nice if There was Some Women's Business: The Story Behind the Hindmarsh Island Affair (Duffy & Snellgrove, 1996, ISBN 978-1875989102) about the Hindmarsh Island bridge controversy
- "Chris Kenny, Paul Murray in Sky News revamp". The Australian. 17 December 2014. Retrieved 16 June 2015.
- "Turnbull hires Downer's former top adviser". Australian Broadcasting Corporation. 2009-01-07. Retrieved 2014-03-07.
- Kenny, Chris. "Looking for Budget Cuts? Try the ABC". The Australian.
- "Rudd is Labor's last chance" by Chris Kenny, The Australian, 25 July 2011
- Knox, David (26 June 2013). "SKY News adds Friday Night Live edition". TV Tonight. Retrieved 22 April 2016.
- Benns, Matthew (14 April 2014). "ABC boss Mark Scott apologises to The Australian's Chris Kenny over Chaser skit depicting him having sex with a dog". The Daily Telegraph.
- Hashtag for an imaginary backlash
- Sliding door tragedy of the Lindt cafe in Sydney's Martin Place
- "Club Ambassadors", Adelaide Football Club
- Jeffrey, James (3 March 2015). "Cop the boots". Retrieved 8 November 2016.(subscription required)