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Setting subeditors' slights to rights



CORRECTIONS (After Calvin Trillin)

24 February

Newspaper with Correction headlineUnder election campaign pressure, some names have been misprinted. Mr Malcolm Ternble of Naracoorte wishes to point out that he has not made any public statements on negative gearing and is unsure what negative gearing means. The error was made by a Gen Y subeditor and should have read 'Prime Minister Malcolm Ternbull'.

26 February

A faulty email resulted in the Australian Foreign Minister being cited as Ms Julia Bishop. The correct nomenclature is Ms Julia Bronwyn. Ms Bronwyn was inaccurately described as a part-time helicopter pilot. Contrary to our report, she does not have a 'love child' by any past or present member of the Coalition.

29 February

We regret further technical problems which have led Mr Malcolm Ternbull of Fortitude Valley to assure our readers that he is not the Prime Minister of Australia and, furthermore, that he 'wouldn't touch the job if they served it on a Point Piper ceramic plate'. Concerning a reference to the Prime Minister as a 'fumbling ditherer', the Prime Minister's Chief of Staff, Peter Credlin, is drafting a reply. There is no ceramic industry in Point Piper. The errors were caused by a poor mobile phone connection.

5 March

Our reference to 'Peter Credlin' as the Prime Minister's Chief of Staff was sourced from an outdated Hansard. Our correction should not have cited Mr Arthur Sinodinos AO as Peter Credlin's successor. Mr Sinodinos is Cabinet Secretary. Mr Peter Credlin could not be found for comment. Mr Sinodinos has never been linked romantically with a 'Peter Credlin'. Mr Sinodinos did not 'misplace' $74,000 as Deputy Chair of the Liberal Party, he simply did not notice it and 'could not recall' not noticing it.


"Mr Tony Abbott does not collect budgerigars nor has he ever been involved in any smuggling enterprise."


15 March

We apologise to Mr Antonio Pasquini OAM of Ashgrove Drive, Woollahra, for our unsupported reference to the absence of a ceramic industry in Point Piper and environs. Mr Pasquini, who assures us he produces many a glazed earthenware with decals and single-fired, unglazed non-vitrified bisque in his specially equipped garden studio, points out that such adornments 'are a feature in The Lodge because the Prime Minister, Tony Turnbull, is a keen collector'. The omission of the ceramics industry was caused by our correspondent's reliance on Wikipedia where bisque is exclusively cited as 'a creamy soup'.

17 March

In our 'Who's Who in Parliament' feature, Dublin born Mr Matthew O'Gorman was incorrectly named as Finance Minister. The Finance Minister is Belgian born Mathias Cormann. He did not speak English until he was 20 years old and cannot recall ever having been to Ireland. Mr O'Gorman was never associated with the Provisional IRA. The confusion was the result of an inferior Belgian Skype picture.

22 March

Our story on Mr Antonio Pasquini, inadvertently named the Prime Minister as Tony Turnbull. This should have read Malcolm Ternbull. The error was caused by haste and the — in our view understandable — distractions of bisque and vitrification.

31 March

There are several unfortunate errors in the former Prime Minister Tony Abbott's essay, 'My Struggle', featured in Weekender. A confusion with a previous report on the Point Piper bespoke ceramic industry resulted in Mr Abbott's being misleadingly referred to as Antonio Abbott. Also, contrary to our report, Mr Tony Abbott does not collect budgerigars nor has he ever been involved in any smuggling enterprise. During his prime ministerial incumbency, Mr Abbott resided at the Australian Federal Police College. This was his choice. He was not, as our coverage of his essay erroneously suggested, 'kept' there by police. The journalist involved has been temporarily transferred to Births, Marriages and Deaths.

1 April

The affectionate nickname of Mr Anthony Albanese is 'Albo' not 'Elbow' as incorrectly reported in our feature, 'Tough Guys of the Shadow Ministry'. Mr Albanese is a member of the Shadow Cabinet. We apologise for any confusion between Mr Albanese — who is, among other things, Shadow Minister for Cities — and Mr Jamie Briggs, the former Minister for Cities and the Built Environment in the Ternbull government. Our report that Mr Briggs kicked a table and broke his leg while demonstrating his karate credentials to his PA on a study tour in Hong Kong was unfounded. Mr Briggs insists he can't recall ever having been to Hong Kong or having met any female Public Service functionaries under any circumstances whatsoever.

18 May

In describing Mr Peter Dutton, the Minister for Immigration, as 'innumerate, illiterate, a probable future burden on the health system and a threat to the job security of ordinary Australians', our reporter accidentally transposed Mr Dutton's own description of potential refugees to apply to Mr Dutton himself. The error was caused by subeditorial haste. 

19 May

In order to make light of persistent, unfortunate misrepresentation of 'Turnbull' as 'Ternbull', our features editor commissioned a comic piece on the seabird known as the Tern in the family Sternidae. The description of the Tern as 'slender, lightly built, with long, forked tail' was unfortunately misprinted as 'with long forked tongue'. We apologise for the possibly unfortunate implications of this error, which occurred in transcription.


Brian MatthewsBrian Matthews is honorary professor of English at Flinders University and an award winning columnist and biographer.

Main image: Shutterstock

Topic tags: Brian Matthews, Malcolm Turnbull, Bronwyn Bishop, Peter Dutton, Peta Credlin, Julie Bishop



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Existing comments

Brilliant Brian! And just what we need right now - a good laugh.

Maureen O'Brien | 20 May 2016  

If only sub-editors were all schooled in the comprehensive art of news gathering (and getting names right) of the country newspapers of Australia then things may not be quite so crook. The Dunedoo and District Diary and the Milton-Ulladulla Times of NSW maintain high editorial standards whilst reporting on such diverse activities as the Show Society and Croquet Club. No miss-spelling of nomenclature ever occurs. Talk about integrity!

Pam | 20 May 2016  

Love it Brian, great work. I'm sure the subeditor corrections will leave no Tern unstoned to get it write.

Brett | 24 May 2016  

Thanks for brightening my morning in this so predictable and depressing election campaign.

Margaret McDonald | 25 May 2016  

Love it! More please!

Jena Woodhouse | 25 May 2016  

Wonderful! Thanks so much for the laugh, Brian.

Jean Sietzema-Dickson | 25 May 2016  

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