A note on the federal election from our National Editor


“What is easily overlooked in the pantomime of politics is that the community is also polarised. Our leaders have embarrassed us, and our Parliament has defined itself only by what it has blocked, because no party has been able to balance the 21st century interests and identities of the cities and the regions, of workers and retirees, of migrant and Indigenous Australians on the one hand and white Australians on the other.”

I wanted to give you a run-down of our plans for covering this election.

We will cover the important news of the campaign to keep you informed but we are very aware our subscribers expect more than “she said, he said” reporting. Our approach will have a focus on policy and context in a way that enables you to cut through the noise and make up you own mind about key issues.

About 7pm on Thursday, senior economics correspondent Shane Wright and photographer Dom Lorrimer will board the “Bill bus” while political reporter Michael Koziol and photographer Alex Ellinghausen hopped on the “ScoMobile” shortly after lunchtime.

The “busses” are actually large charter planes which cart the press gallery around the country following the two leaders and are a long-standing and very expensive campaign tradition.

Michael and Shane will be filing from the road for the papers, websites and our podcast Please Explain. Reporting from the bus is a tough gig. The political parties guard the itineraries like nuclear launch codes. I once discovered the crew I was with was headed for Tasmania instead of Victoria, where we’d been told we were going, when I looked out the plane window and saw Bass Strait. Even then the minders on board refused to confirm our destination. The schedule is relentless and access to actual voters is strictly controlled.

Canberra bureau chief Bevan Shields and chief political correspondent David Crowe will be leading the coverage from the office in Parliament House and we’ll have a team of reporters out on the road talking to voters and candidates in all the key spots. As you can see below it’s a big investment.

The rest of our election team is:

  • Political editor Peter Hartcher
  • Senior writer Tony Wright
  • Defence and security correspondent David Wroe
  • Economics correspondent Eryk Bagshaw
  • Environment reporter Nicole Hasham
  • Senior writer Judith Ireland
  • Senior writer Jacqueline Maley
  • Senior writer Deborah Snow
  • Senior writer Matt Wade
  • Senior economics writer Jessica Irvine
  • Education reporter Fergus Hunter
  • Health reporter Dana McCauley
  • Reporter Latika Bourke (doing the late stop out of London)
  • Reporter Max Kozlowski
  • Reporter (in Sydney) Nick Bonyhady
  • Reporter (in Melbourne) Sumeyya Ilanbey
  • Deputy bureau chief Stephanie Peatling
  • Desk editor Damien Nowicki
  • Desk editor Fleta Page
  • Video producer Debbie Harrington

We’ll also have reporters in Sydney and Melbourne keeping a keen eye on key seats, such as Warringah and Wentworth in NSW, Flinders, Higgins and Kooyong in Victoria, and we’ll be getting out on the road in Queensland and western NSW where the Nationals are facing their biggest challenge in a decade.

The audio and video team headed by Tom McKendrick is geared up for breaking video news, and for Please Explain Extra episodes which we will drop when ever there’s a campaign development. I suggest subscribing to Please Explain in your favourite podcast app so you get alerts when the episodes land. I’ll be roping in reporters from the road for Please Explain, as well as David Crowe, Peter Hartcher and Chris Uhlmann from 9News.

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Senior writer and sometime Please Explain host Nick O’Malley is also threatening to commandeer the pod during the campaign to grill executive editor James Chessell and me about how we make editorial decisions.

Our live blog will fire up on big days, such as the campaign launches and every day during the final week of the race.

Jessica Irvine will be on pork watch, keeping track of all the dollars promised during the campaign.

We’ll be rolling out a series of policy and politics explainers – which are being put together by our rounds reporters under the watchful eye of explainer editor Felicity Lewis.

Between now and election day Ipsos will conduct two more national polls, which we will publish in our papers, online and on 9News.

During the campaign you’ll get the odd email directly from David Crowe, keeping you up to date on developments and pointing you to all the best of our coverage.

There will be profiles of the leaders and other key candidates, in-depth reporting from marginal seats, sketches from the road and deep policy analysis.

Strap in, it’s going to be a big five weeks. We couldn’t commit to coverage like this without the support of our subscribers, so thank you.

Tory Maguire,

National editor, The Sydney Morning Herald and The Age

Tory is the national editor of The Sydney Morning Herald and The Age. She has held senior roles at a number of major Australian mastheads and was most recently editor-in-chief of HuffPost Australia for two-and-a-half years.

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