Summers in Winter

How could an online magazine featuring adulatory cover stories on Julia Gillard, David Morrison, Tim Flannery, Elizabeth Broderick and lots of the modern left’s politically correct pinups fail so dismally? It’s a mystery, especially after the free publicity lavished by the ABC

anne summers gillard coverPoor Left luvvie Anne Summers AO. Her luvvies have Left her, and she’s $180,000 in the red. She writes to me, as one of her 576 financial supporters[1],  that her irregularly-published Anne Summers Reports (13 issues) and her Anne Summers Conversations (eight) have folded. Even her cover story on failed prophet Tim Flannery[2] failed to profit. Imagine that!

That’s after we donors provided close to $100,000 all-up.[3] Anne says she achieved a lot, “especially considering the size of our team and how little money we had”. She goes on, “Regrettably, my search for a partner has not been successful and we do not have the funds to be able to continue … One final ask. Sadly we are in debt. I have an overdraft and other debts of $180,000 which I need to get rid of. If you feel able to help me reduce this I will be extremely grateful.”

Anne (we’re on first-name terms) has also canned her Illuminate project, “our proposed investigative series of high-quality writing about important subjects in Australian society. This series had been part-funded by the Cultural Fund of the Copyright Agency for which we thank them. (Sadly, we had to return the grant).”

Our call to the Copyright Agency to discover how much authors kicked in unwittingly to Anne’s project has so far not been returned. (The Copyright Agency has form in backing Leftist dud publications. It has lavished at least $146,500 on Meanjin, for example, including a whopping $64,000 donation in 2010. Recent grant recipients are listed here).

Source of Anne’s financial downfall was paying her writers, artists and photographers, and a part-time salaried assistant. “If we could not afford to pay for these, we could not afford to publish,” she says. “We had hoped the events might subsidise the magazine, but that turned out to be unrealistic.”

Anne launched Anne Summers Reports in 2012 with the help of a fawning interview by Richard Aedy on ABC Radio National soliciting donations of $10,000 from high net worth individuals. The ABC provided her venture with a special waiver from its guidelines forbidding commercial advertising. [4]

Aedy and Summers – whose partner, Chip Rolley, is editor of the ABC’s The Drum — were very persuasive. As a high net worth individual myself,  I emailed Summers, hinting at one of those $10,000-plus personal donations in exchange for a position on her advisory board. Within minutes Summers was in touch about my “most welcome offer”.  We never consummated our liaison and a frustrated Anne gave me an unflattering  pen-portrait in the March, 2013, issue.

The magazine attracted 16,500 subscribers. “I am touched to report, new people are signing up even as I write this. It is clear that many people crave the sane, factual, relevant magazine we were proud to produce,” she says. But subscribers’ cravings, obviously, haven’t extended to paying anything.

Advertisers were less attracted, indeed almost invisible. One of the three advertisers she thanks is the taxpayer-funded Australian Film, Television and Radio School.

Anne says modestly that her ticketed Conversations “will live forever as testament to our vision”. Apart from Gillard and Flannery, Anne’s “Conversation” partners included General David Morrison, now “guy”-bashing Australian of the Year, and almost certain winner of the Daily Telegraph’s blogger Tim Blair’s Frightbat of the Year 2016 contest.

Another conversationalist was Elizabeth Broderick, ex-Human Rights Commissioner and author of loopy but neverthe-less-implemented proposals to feminize the Australian Defence Forces, hitherto afflicted, Broderick reported, by a “warrior culture”.

The magazine has had such emetic cover stories as beauteously-photographed Julia Gillard; ‘“General Morrison’s revelation – ‘This was not the Army that I loved and thought I knew’”; “Seriously, Cate Blanchett”; and the University of Queensland’s number-tickling smiter of climate deniers John Cook.

Anne’s literary suicide note yesterday did not mention her three-day conference about herself last September, tickets going for $330. That event celebrated her authorship 40 years ago of, as I recall, Damned Whores and God’s Police.  The list of engrossing sessions included “Viva La Vulva”,  “Sex workers, sluts and deviant women” and the epochal “Feminism Today: From Suffragettes to SlutWalkers and beyond”.

Actually, there were 14, not 13 issues, of the magazine, which featured, Anne said, “meticulous editing”. The  bumper 90-page Issue No 13 last August 20, “our strongest yet”  had to be e-pulped  because of mysterious “errors”. It was re-published four days later as “we hope! – an error-free copy”, Anne apologised.

Vale Anne Summers Reports. Vale Anne Summers Conversations. And vale Anne’s $180,000.


[1] $3

[2] Flannery 2004: “Sydney could glimpse its future by looking at the devastating impact that global warming had already had on Perth, which he said was likely to become a ‘ghost metropolis’.” Warragamba Dam is currently 98% full and Sydney is on flood alert.

[3]  Anne also had 21 “angels” giving her monthly stipends. They were led by ex-governor-general and Bill Shorten’s mother-in-law Quentin Bryce.

[4] 15.2.2  Publicity for individuals, organisations or products should not be given, and the presentation of identifiable or clearly labelled brand products or services should be avoided. For example, contact details or repeated references to the trading name must not be broadcast or published, nor the place where goods or services may be purchased. 

COMMENTS [5]

  1. Mr Johnson

    For years, the Left have been demanding more and more free stuff. Just damned frustrating and awkward, when it extends to their own product.

  2. Augustusoz

    “.. subscribers’ cravings, obviously, haven’t extended to paying anything.” Exactly. If Anne et al didn’t think about the fact that “Why should I pay for it? Someone else should pay for it” is the standard leftist position, then she/ze/they/it deserve everything they ended up getting. Or not getting.

  3. Jody

    Poor old Anne; somehow she’s mentally never left Deniliquin. She always gives me the impression she’s just arrived from there into the big city and recently discovered what ‘feminism’ means – and she’s having some of it. All the while she’s a country girl with tarts on her mind.

    Well, I won’t be having what she’s having!!

  4. en passant

    Surely, just surely she could get a $60K ‘Arts’ grant by promising to stack shelves somewhere until she has paid back the remaining $120K?
    To pay off the rest she could promise never to publish or be heard again in public. With that promise in writing the debt would be gone in a flash.

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