Here is a hidden treasure, a stockpile of journalistic weapons to fight economic illiterates, communist sympathisers and biased and incompetent journalists. He has been posting on Quadrant on Line for years and I didn’t look often or closely enough to find him. Just as well Connor Court published this book of amazing pieces. There is so much in it – stories from the Communist Youth activities of the 1950s, brushes with Soviet agents in Canberra (courting journalists), climate alarm stories, the feminization of the defence forces and the amount of violence among the First Nation people even before they were “invaded and corrupted”.
“Once, it was common to encounter a Tony Thomas in Australia’s newsrooms. They were the wise and senior hands young reporters were encouraged to admire and emulate …
They’re mostly gone now, the men and women who wore professional honesty and scepticism as their badges of honour, and we’re all the poorer for the banishment of those skills and voices. That is why the essays in this book are so valuable and the man who wrote them a treasure.”
— Roger Franklin, Editor, Quadrant Online.
This book of 45 essays – ranging from purely humorous to politically and socially grave – provides samples of the lifetime’s work of a trained journalist of 60 years’ professional standing. Thomas was a prominent writer for The West Australian (1958-69); The Age as Economics Writer from the Canberra Press Gallery, (1971-79); and BRW Magazine from inception in 1981 to his retirement in 2001, including a decade as Associate Editor. He is currently a prolific contributor to Quadrant Monthly and Quadrant OnLine.
Thomas’ interests, particularly in the political, stem from his early childhood indoctrination into Communism, followed by an adult reaction towards conservatism. Suffice to say he has ink and politics in his veins.
Hal Colebatch reviews Tony’s book.