Padraic McGuinness

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For other people named Patrick McGuinness, see Patrick McGuinness (disambiguation).
Padraic McGuinness
Born (1938-10-27)27 October 1938
Melbourne, Victoria, Australia
Died 26 January 2008(2008-01-26) (aged 69)
Sydney, New South Wales, Australia
Nationality Australian
Other names Paddy McGuinness, P. P. McGuinness
Occupation Journalist, newspaper editor
Known for Views as a political commentator

Padraic Pearse "Paddy" McGuinness AO (27 October 1938 – 26 January 2008) was an Australian journalist, activist, and commentator. He was notable for the evolution over his lifetime of his political beliefs. Beginning his career on the far left, he subsequently worked as a policy assistant to the more moderate (but still leftist) Labor parliamentarian Bill Hayden (future governor-general). Later he found fame as a right-wing contrarian and finished his career as the editor of the conservative journal, Quadrant. He had also worked as a columnist for The Australian and The Sydney Morning Herald and as the editor of The Australian Financial Review.[1]

McGuinness, named after Patrick Pearse, was the son of Frank McGuinness (b1900 d1949) who was the inaugural editor of Ezra Norton's Sydney newspaper The Daily Mirror in 1941. Padraic attended, first, St Ignatius' College, Riverview (from his time there he dated the atheist attitudes which remained constant in his adult life, whatever his changes of ideological allegiance) and then obtained a scholarship to attend Sydney Boys' High School. He studied economics at the University of Sydney (B.Ec., Hons, 1960), where he became a prominent member of the Sydney Push in the late 1950s and early 1960s. At this time he identified as an anarchist but also joined the Labor Party.[2]

After a short career as an economics lecturer at the N.S.W. University of Technology (now the University of New South Wales), McGuinness moved to London where he worked with the Moscow Narodny [People's] Bank, an arm of the Soviet Government, from 1966 to 1967.[3] Continuing his studies at the London School of Economics, he acquired a master's degree.[4] He later worked for the OECD in Paris, and there he observed personally the Paris demonstrations of 1968. Having returned to Sydney in 1971, he began what would be a long tenure at The Australian Financial Review, by writing economics articles.[2]

In 1973-74, he served the Whitlam Labor Government as an economic advisor to the Minister for Social Security, Bill Hayden, who was engaged in establishing Medibank and framing restrictive regulation for private hospitals and nursing homes. During this time McGuinness advocated the introduction of Medibank, against the interests of doctors who wanted health care to remain private.[2] Three decades later, in a Quadrant editorial, he poured scorn on the Whitlam government and the "plague of locusts" who worked for it, omitting to disclose his own central participation.[5] After working for Hayden, McGuinness's career was chiefly in journalism, including senior editorial positions at The Australian Financial Review (1974–87), where he became editor-in-chief in 1982. He also did column-writing for The Sydney Morning Herald, The Age and The Australian and in 1997 took over as editor of Quadrant, a position he held for a further ten years. In 2004, he had also stood as an independent on Leichhardt Council.

McGuinness died from cancer on Australia Day, 26 January 2008, aged 69, having recently stood down as editor of Quadrant.[6] He is survived by his daughter Parnell Palme McGuinness, named after Charles Stewart Parnell.

According to journalist colleague Frank Devine, "Paddy was the quintessential independent thinker, scorning humbug and stupidity. He was a bloodthirsty predator among those he identified as members of the chattering classes".[1] However, he was himself frequently criticised for pomposity and hypocrisy when, for instance, he accepted an Order of Australia award in 2003 despite a long-held, vocal contempt for such honours.[7]

The day before his funeral, former prime minister Paul Keating denigrated him as "a fraud and a liar".[8] McGuinness had been a frequent critic of the Keating Government during its time in office.[citation needed]


  1. ^ a b Stapleton, John (28 January 2008). "McGuinness, voice of dissent, dies, 69". The Australian. Retrieved 28 January 2008. [dead link]
  2. ^ a b c Murphy, Damien (28 January 2008). "He argued his way into papers and mags". Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved 26 March 2009. 
  3. ^ Henderson G Knees-up in Balmain The Sydney Institute, 'Media Watch' (and Sydney Morning Herald, 23 September 2000)
  4. ^ H. R. Nicholls Society Personal profile
  5. ^ McGuinness P. P. The Whitlam Schemozzle Quadrant editorial, January–February 2003
  6. ^ Former Quadrant editor McGuinness dies, aged 69 ABC News, 27 January 2008
  7. ^ Sir Paddy ABC MediaWatch item, 10 February 2003
  8. ^ McGuinness a fraud and a liar: Keating] The Australian 31 January 2008

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