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‘This monstrous attack’: palace letters castigate Australian journalists – The Guardian

Paul Kelly described as gossipy but fair while ABC stalwart Allan Ashbolt labelled ‘nuts’



The letters between the governor general Sir John Kerr and Buckingham Palace reveal strongly held views about Australian journalists and their outlets, not much of it favourable.
The Australians political reporter at the time of the dismissal, Paul Kelly, was described by Kerr in 1976 as pro-Labor, which may surprise a contemporary reader of the Murdoch broadsheet.
But Kerr praises Kellys first book about the dismissal, The Unmaking of Gough, as gossipy but fair.
The best book so far written by a pro-Labor journalist is Paul Kellys book, which whilst being unfavourable to me, at least makes some attempt to see things from my point of view, Kerr writes to the Queens private secretary, Sir Martin Charteris, in May 1976. He has gossip, like the others, but is fairer.
Forty-five years later Kelly is the newspapers editor-at-large and is busy analysing the palace letters himself. He told Guardian Australia: I opposed the dismissal on the day it occurred and have never changed my mind.
He wrote in the Australian on Wednesday that the letters tell a story of a crafty and calculating Sir John Kerr flooding Buckingham Palace with details of the running 1975 crisis and making clear, from the start, he saw dismissal as an option.
Kerr has no praise at all for Allan Ashbolt, an influential ABC program maker and executive who is credited with establishing modern radio and television in Australia, in a long tenure that began in the mid-1950s.
A member of the left wing of the Labor party, Ashbolt wrote a highly critical article about Kerr for the New Statesman in 1975.
He said Kerrs mind was bloated with self-importance and he had delusions of juridicial propriety. He labelled him clinically insane for sacking a democratically elected government.
A wounded Kerr wrote to Charteris: Alan

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