Janet Albrechtsen

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Janet Albrechtsen
Born (1966-09-23) 23 September 1966 (age 50)
Adelaide, South Australia
Nationality Australian
Alma mater
Occupation Journalist, columnist, critic
Employer News Limited
Spouse(s) John O'Sullivan (sep.)
Children Sascha, Caitlin, and Jamie O'Sullivan

Janet Kim Albrechtsen (born 23 September 1966) is an Australian opinion columnist with The Australian. From 2005 until 2010, she was a member of the Board of the Australian Broadcasting Corporation, Australia's state-owned national broadcaster.

Early life and education[edit]

The daughter of Danish immigrants to Australia, Albrechtsen was born in Adelaide and attended Seacombe High School. She subsequently studied at University of Adelaide, graduating with a Bachelor of Laws with Honours.[1] Albrechtsen later moved to Sydney, where she worked as a solicitor in commercial law at Freehills.[1] She subsequently attained a Doctor of Juridical Science from the University of Sydney.[1] Her thesis was titled: 'The regulation of the fundraising process in Australia: searching for an optimal mix between legislative prescriptions and market forces'.[2] Albrechtsen has also taught as an academic.[3]


Since turning to commentary, Albrechtsen has written for the Australian Financial Review, The Age, The Sydney Morning Herald, The Sunday Age, Quadrant, Canada's National Post, The Vancouver Sun, The Wall Street Journal and The Wall Street Journal Asia.[1] Albrechtsen was a member of the Foreign Affairs Council from 2003 until 2007.

Albrechtsen was appointed to the board of the Australian Broadcasting Corporation in 2005. She had previously derided the ABC as a "Soviet-style workers collective".[1][4][5][6]

She told reporters in late 2009 that she was planning to retire from the board, and completed her five-year term on 18 February 2010 without seeking reappointment.[7][8] In 2014 it was reported that Albrechtsen was appointed to an independent nomination panel that advises the Minister for Communications on the short–listing of candidates for appointment to the ABC Board.[9][10]

In 2008, Albrechtsen wrote a chapter for Peter van Onselen's book The Liberals and Power. She argued the Liberals have become preoccupied with "dominating the rational low ground," abandoning the high moral ground to the left. Norman Abjorensen said he appreciated her view of Howard's legacy as not just a transformation of the Australian economy but also one of the Labor Party.[11]

Albrechtsen is an Ambassador for the Australian Indigenous Education Foundation.

Albrechtsen conducted a lengthy interview series in 2014 with former Prime Minister of Australia John Howard, which aired as a featured story on Seven Network's Sunday Night, and again in January 2015 as its own five-part series on Sky News Australia entitled Howard Defined.[12]

Albrechtsen is a Director of Institute of Public Affairs and the National Museum of Australia.

Views and influence[edit]

Albrechtsen's views are generally right-wing. She supports free market policies, freedom of speech[13] and social conservativism. On Q&A on Monday 26 November 2012, she said she was "coming around to" gay marriage.[14]

Global warming[edit]

According to Mark Davis, a Melbourne University academic, Albrechtsen was one of four 'suspect' commentators in the Australian press to "sound the warning that this environmental catastrophe [global warming] will pass into memory" in the 2000s.[15]

Media Watch[edit]

In 2002, following a blog post by controversial Muslim Amir Butler,[16] the ABC TV's Media Watch program queried Albrechtsen's source for a claim that she attributed to psychiatrist Jean-Jacques Rassial a column that "pack rape of white girls is an initiation rite of passage for a small section of young male Muslim youths", asserting that she was misquoting a report in the London Times.[17] Media Watch also reported that Albrechtsen misrepresented the findings of Flemming Balvig, a criminologist at Copenhagen University, who wrote in an email to Butler that:[18]

"The citation is completely wrong. What I have said is, that the main explanation of gang rape probably is social, and not cultural or religious."

— Extract of an email from Flemming Balvig to Amir Butler, as reported by ABC TV Media Watch in 2012.

In the lead-up to this episode of Media Watch, on Friday 6 September 2002 Albrechtsen told Media Watch that:[19]

"If you believe the underlying sources misrepresented the views of Rassial or Dr Balvig you may wish to take that up with the authors of that source material. However, as you know, journalists are entitled to, and very frequently do, rely on such sources reasonably believed to be accurate.

Indeed, as I point out below, you appear to have done exactly the same, although from a source (a blog spot) of far lower stature than those I used. " " If you misrepresent me, selectively quote from my work or this letter, fail to check your sources or commit any of the other sins you seek to expose in others, you will be guilty of a more egregious wrong than those you seek to expose in journalists. Hypocrisy.

And defamation.

And finally if you do question my work on Media Watch, you may only quote from this letter if you do so in full. Further, this letter should be reproduced on your website so viewers can make up their own minds. I will be interstate at a conference from 2.30 pm today until 5 pm Monday. Kindly do not attempt to ambush me in my absence. "
— Janet Albrechtsen, in response to claims of misrepresentation by ABC TV Media Watch in 2012.

At 1:10 pm that day,[20] Media Watch sent another fax with several more questions, again requesting a reply by 5 pm. Albrectsen responded that she was unable to respond until the following Tuesday, and that she reserved the right of response before the show went to air on that Monday.[21]

Personal life[edit]

She was married in 1991 to lawyer John O'Sullivan. They have 3 children, two daughters, Sascha and Caitlin, and a son, Jamie. They are now separated.


  1. ^ a b c d e Who's Who in Australia – entry on Janet Albrechtsen
  2. ^ Albrechtsen's SJD Thesis, Sydney University Library website
  3. ^ "Profile: Janet Albrechtsen". The Australian. news.com.au. 
  4. ^ Caldwell, Alison (24 February 2005). "ABC critic appointed to board of directors". ABC News. Retrieved 30 April 2007. 
  5. ^ "ABC Friends label Janet Albrechtsen and Neil Brown panel appointments a declaration of war on independence". 
  6. ^ "Janet Albrechtsen appointed to ABC and SBS board appointments panel". 
  7. ^ Sharp, Ari (11 November 2009). "Albrechtsen to step down as director on ABC board". The Sydney Morning Herald. p. 7. Retrieved 5 June 2010. 
  8. ^ Meade, Amanda (22 February 2010). "Board vacancy". The Australian. p. Media section, p. 31. 
  9. ^ Markson, Sharri (3 July 2014). "John Howard loyalists join ABC panel". The Australian. Retrieved 22 December 2014. 
  10. ^ Knott, Matthew (2 October 2014). "ABC efficiency reviewer Peter Lewis appointed to broadcaster's board". The Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved 22 December 2014. 
  11. ^ Abjorensen, Norman (February 2009). "The long road back to office". Australian Book Review (308): 18–19. 
  12. ^ "Airdate: Howard Defined". TV Tonight. Retrieved 8 January 2015. 
  13. ^ Albrechtsen, Janet (25 November 2015). "Paris attacks: fight for liberty must include freedom of speech". The Australian. Retrieved 25 November 2015. 
  14. ^ "Q&A: Happy Endings". Australian Broadcasting Corporation. 26 November 2012. Retrieved 28 November 2012. 
  15. ^ Davis, Mark (2008). The Land of Plenty: Australia in the 2000s. Melbourne, Victoria: Melbourne University Press. pp. 192–194, 199. ISBN 978-0-522-85484-8. 
  16. ^ "Media Watch, Muslims, Albrechtsen and Others". Media Watch. Australian Broadcasting Corporation. Our research is based on the work done by Amir Butler of Australian Muslim Public Affairs Committee 
  17. ^ "Janet Albrechtsen's view" (transcript). Media Watch. Australian Broadcasting Corporation. 9 September 2002. Retrieved 6 June 2007. 
  18. ^ "Email exchange between Media Watch and Flemming Balvig, September 2002". Media Watch. Australian Broadcasting Corporation. 
  19. ^ "Fax from Janet Albrechtsen to Media Watch: Reply 2". Media Watch. Australian Broadcasting Corporation. 6 September 2002. 
  20. ^ "Fax from Janet Albrechtsen to Media Watch: Reply 3". Media Watch. Australian Broadcasting Corporation. 6 September 2002. 
  21. ^ "Media Watch to Janet Albrechtsen, 1:10 pm". Media Watch. Australian Broadcasting Corporation. 6 September 2002. 

External links[edit]