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Piers Akerman
No male portrait test.svg
Born June 1, 1950 (1950-06-01) (age 59)
Wewak, Papua New Guinea
Education Year 10 Certificate
Guildford Grammar School
Occupation Journalist
Spouse(s) Suzanne
Official website

Piers Akerman (born June 1950) is a conservative columnist for the Australian News Limited newspaper The Daily Telegraph.

Contents

Brief biography

Born in Wewak, Papua New Guinea, Piers Akerman was raised in Perth by his parents, John, an Australian Government doctor, and Eve Akerman (d. 2003), a newspaper columnist and reviewer in Western Australia.[1] He is the third son in a family of four children.[1] The family left PNG for India in 1951, before returning to Australia.[1]

Akerman was raised in Perth, where he attended Guildford Grammar School, where he remained until his expulsion, when he was "asked to leave" following a dispute with the headmaster. He spent the last few months of his schooling at Christ Church Grammar School but did not complete his final exams.[2][3]

In the US, while covering the 1974 America's Cup at Newport, Rhode Island, Akerman met his wife, Suzanne, a solicitor. They were married in Connecticut several years later and have two children, Tess and Pia.[3] They now live in Sydney.

Career

Akerman began his media career at Western Australia's only daily, The West Australian. He then moved on to the short-lived Victorian newspaper Newsday and took his first News Limited job at the Daily Mirror in Sydney. He was briefly at The Australian as Foreign Editor in 1983.

He worked for a time at British national newspaper, The Times, and spent ten years as a foreign correspondent in the United States of America. On returning to Australia, he was editor of The Advertiser, Adelaide (1988) and The Sunday Herald Sun, Melbourne (1990). During 1990-92 he was editor-in-chief of the Herald & Weekly Times group in Melbourne before becoming a vice-president of Fox News, USA in 1993.[4]

Akerman's columns were noted for raising the ire of the former leader of the Australian Labor Party and the Federal Opposition, Mark Latham, among others. Latham was known to weave complaints about Akerman's writing into his speeches and, in 2002, while protected by parliamentary privilege, publicly accused Akerman of being addicted to cocaine well into the 1980s (see below).

Akerman is a regular panellist on ABC Television's political commentary program Insiders.

Controversies

Akerman has had charges of sexual harassment levelled against him by employees. Five former employees, three of whom agreed to be named, said they witnessed Mr Akerman sexually harass female members of his staff.[2][3] A group of female staff at The Sunday Herald met and agreed to protect each other in the office from Akerman's advances.[2][3]

One of the most controversial episodes in Akerman's life was his alleged threat to assault the literary editor of The Advertiser, Shirley Stott Despoja.[2][3] The dispute ended before a full bench of the Supreme Court where the newspaper appealed against Stott Despoja's successful worker's compensation claim for stress-related sickleave pay. Stott Despoja alleged: "I was physically threatened by the editor while alone with him in an office in a dispute over my work." The appeal by The Advertiser was dismissed and Stott Despoja won her $4000 claim.[2][3]

Responding to rumours about his alleged abuse of alcohol and cocaine, cited in both the New South Wales Parliament as well as the Australian Federal Parliament,[5][6] and in a Sunday Age article about him in 1991,[2][3] Akerman, who is clearly overweight, replied: "My appearance belies that story, don't you think?" Akerman has, however, admitted to using cocaine in the US in the 1970s.[7]

Akerman is a climate-change sceptic who argues fiercely against any suggestion of anthropogenic global warming. He justifies his views by quoting the work of the Nongovernmental International Panel on Climate Change (NIPCC), run by Fred Singer.[8] However, climate scientists from NASA, Stanford University and Princeton have dismissed Singer's most recent report on global warming as "fabricated nonsense."[9]

References

  1. ^ a b c "Papua New Guinea Association of Australia - Vale List". 2003. http://www.pngaa.net/Vale/vale_sept04.htm#Eve_AKERMAN. Retrieved 2007-08-30.  
  2. ^ a b c d e f "The power of a Murdoch man". The Sunday Age. 1991-08-12. http://newsstore.smh.com.au/apps/newsSearch.ac;jsessionid=682E976B5DCCE1BD3B302F34FB0BC144?page=1&sy=smh&sp=nrm&so=relevance&dt=selectRange&kw=akerman&dr=entire&pb=sag&rc=10&sfx=headline&sfx=text&submit=Search. Retrieved 2007-08-28.  
  3. ^ a b c d e f g "Sunday Age (Convenience link) Akerman profile". 1991. http://web.archive.org/web/20041028005124/http://www.crikey.com.au/media/2001/08/26-akermancritics.html. Retrieved 2007-08-28.  
  4. ^ "Conference Contributors, 14th Conference of The Samuel Griffith Society". samuelgriffith.org.au. 2002. http://www.samuelgriffith.org.au/papers/html/volume14/v14appendix.html. Retrieved 2007-08-28.  
  5. ^ "Australian Capital Territory Heroin Trial". Hansard, Parliament of New South Wales, Australia. 1997. http://www.parliament.nsw.gov.au/prod/parlment/hansart.nsf/V3Key/LC19970917068. Retrieved 2007-08-28.  
  6. ^ "Broadcasting Services Amendment (Media Ownership) Bill 2002: Second Reading". Hansard, Parliament of Australia. 2002. http://parlinfoweb.aph.gov.au/piweb/view_document.aspx?id=2188481&table=HANSARDR. Retrieved 2007-08-28.  
  7. ^ "Kernot’s ex chequered path to the chancellor". blogs.news.com.au. http://blogs.news.com.au/dailytelegraph/piersakerman/index.php/dailytelegraph/comments/kernots_ex_chequered_path_to_the_chancellor/. Retrieved 2009-12-15.  
  8. ^ "Icy reality cools the climate cultists". News Ltd. http://blogs.news.com.au/dailytelegraph/piersakerman/index.php/dailytelegraph/comments/icy_reality_cools_the_climate_cultists/. Retrieved 2008-10-29. "Unlike the hysterical IPCC report, which was riddled with errors and mis-statements, ignored available scientific data, and has already been contradicted in several major areas by more recent research, the NIPCC authors don’t say that anthropogenic greenhouse gases cannot produce some warming, but they do say that the evidence shows that they are not playing a major role."  
  9. ^ Harris, Dan; Felicia Biberica, Elizabeth Stuart and Nils Kongshaug (2008-03-23). "Global Warming Denier: Fraud or 'Realist'?". ABC News (ABCnews.com). http://abcnews.go.com/Technology/GlobalWarming/story?id=4506059&page=1. Retrieved 2008-03-24. "Singer insists he is not on the payroll of the energy industry, but admits he once accepted an unsolicited check from Exxon for $10,000."  

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