Christopher Pearson

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Christopher Pearson writes on national politics and foreign affairs in the Weekend Australian, published by News Limited. In October 2003 he was appointed for a four year term as a member of the board of directors of SBS, the government funded multicultural broadcaster. [1] (pdf)

A 2005 biographical note states that he was "the first publisher of the privatised Wakefield Press, when it was sold by the South Australian Government following the Sesqui-Centenary of Settlement. Mr Pearson also worked as an ABC Radio broadcaster and as a weekly columnist in the national press since 1994. He served for two terms as a Director of the Australia Council and is currently serving a second term as a Director of the National Museum of Australia." [2]

He is a former speechwriter for Liberal Party of Australia Prime Minister John Howard and former New South Wales Liberal Leader, Kerry Chikarovski. [3] He founded the The Adelaide Review in 1985 and was the editor and part owner of the magazine until he sold it in 2002 to the Spanish media proprietor Javier Moll. [4]

In an interview in 1999 Pearson said of himself that "I don't comfortably wear the tag 'a conservative'. There are some things that I'm conservative about culturally. In lots of respects I'm an old-fashioned radical libertarian. My conservatism is the conservatism of Hume I suppose, or J.S. Mill liberalism. And there's always been a strong anarchic sense about a lot of my thinking and writing." [5]

Murdoch Columnist & Ghostwriter for Downer

In February 2007 a parliamentary committee reviewing government expenditures was informed that Spherion Recruitment Solutions, otherwise known as Verossity had been employed four times in 2004-05 and three times in 2005-06 $A11,364 to help the department, including ghostwriting speeches for the Australian Minister for Foreign Affairs, Alexander Downer. [6]. Verossity, which had been paid a total of $11,364, had employed Pearson to do the work. Pearson's work for Downer, the Sydney Morning Herald reported, was not disclosed in his columns. [7]

Speeches Pearson assisted with included one for an evangelical Christian conference and others on terrorism, regional foreign policy and environmental issues. After government officials detailed the speeches and the amounts paid, Senator Robert Ray commented, "Not only have we got the snout in the trough; we have all the trotters as well." [8]

The specific speeches and the amounts paid to the company were:

1. "Input into a terrorism white paper, which was drafted in the department," Ms Lynette Wood, the Assistant Secretary, Executive, Planning and Evaluation Branch for the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade told the committee. This cost $3,900. [9]

2. "They provided some input into an inter-faith dialogue in December 2004," Ms Wood told the committee. This cost $1,354. [10] The speech the "Opening of the International Dialogue on Interfaith Co-operation: A Speech to the Interfaith Dialogue" and presented at Yogyakarta, 6 December 2004. [11]

3. The Earle Page lecture in May 2005. "The consultant did not claim for because it was judged that the speech contained a political component," Ms Wood told the committee. [12] The Speech, titled " The Earle Page College's Annual Politics Dinner", was presented at The University of New England, Armidale on May 17, 2005. [13]

4. "The fourth one was an economist round table in June 2005 relating to the economy and the environment," Ms Wood told the committee. This cost $780. [14]

5. "Number five was an input into a Hillsong speech in July 2005," Ms Wood told the committee. This cost $4,550. [15]

6. "Number six was input into a Tange lecture in August 2005," Ms Wood told the committee. This cost $780. The speech, titled " Biennial Sir Arthur Tange Lecture in Australian Diplomacy", was presented in Canberra on 8 August 2005. [16]

7. "The consultant was contracted to provide input into the Conrad Laucke lecture in September 2005 but was unable to complete it due to a family situation, personal reasons," Ms Wood told the committee. [17]

Big coal defender

Following reports in The Australian and the Australian Financial Review on the contents of draft coal movement funding proposal, Pearson championed a government-led crackdown. In an opinion column in The Australian Pearson wrote:

"It's tempting but misguided to look on Greenpeace's latest outrage as mere delinquency. Instead ASIO should rank infiltrating eco-activist groups as a high priority, given what we know about the damage they intend to inflict on the national economy. As well, the projects specifically targeted - like the dredging of Gladstone Harbour for liquefied natural gas terminals, the Wiggins Island coal port and unlocking the Galilee Basin deposits - ought to consider pre-emptive legal action. Likewise, state and federal attorneys-general and resources ministers shouldn't hesitate to take these zealots at their word and throw the book at them. All the major parties should declare a unity ticket and make it clear that they won't stand for abuse of legal process and greenmail. If my tone seems intemperate and it sounds as though I'm proposing to use a sledgehammer to crack a few nuts, think about the billions that have already been wasted on green energy projects and the confident prediction: "2012 and 2013 will be critical years in stopping tens of billions of dollars of investment being locked in."[1]

Articles and resources

References

  1. Christopher Pearson, "Eco-zealots presume to endanger our economy", The Australian, March 10, 2012.

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