Please use this identifier to cite or link to this item: https://hdl.handle.net/1959.11/27249
Title: Seeing for Himself: Harold Holt, Bushfire and Newspaper Depictions of Prime Ministerial Empathy
Contributor(s): Williamson, Rosemary  (author)orcid 
Publication Date: 2019
Early Online Version: 2019-05-20
DOI: 10.1080/14443058.2019.1614647
Handle Link: https://hdl.handle.net/1959.11/27249
Abstract: The experience of bushfire continues to challenge Australians and those responsible for leading them. Since Federation, the news media have conveyed prime ministers' expressions of sympathy and reassurance of recovery to those Australians affected by bushfire. A study of newspaper reports of prime ministers' responses to exceptional fires-in 1926, 1939, 1967, 1983, 2003 and 2009-reveals an increasing emphasis on prime ministers being physically and emotionally engaged with Australians in the wake of bushfire. This study identifies a turning point during the prime ministership of Harold Holt, who visited Tasmania to view the aftermath of the Black Tuesday fires in 1967. Vividly descriptive newspaper coverage of Holt's witnessing of the damage wrought by the fires is symptomatic of a shift towards journalistic norms seen today; however, it also is symptomatic of the social context in which Holt operated and his personal and political style. By presenting this argument, this article draws attention to an aspect of Holt's prime ministership neglected in popular and scholarly records while advancing an understanding of normative depictions of Australian political leadership by the news media over time.
Publication Type: Journal Article
Source of Publication: Journal of Australian Studies, 43(2), p. 249-261
Publisher: Routledge
Place of Publication: Australia
ISSN: 1444-3058
1835-6419
Field of Research (FOR): 200299 Cultural Studies not elsewhere classified
Socio-Economic Outcome Codes: 970120 Expanding Knowledge in Language, Communication and Culture
Peer Reviewed: Yes
HERDC Category Description: C1 Refereed Article in a Scholarly Journal
Appears in Collections:Journal Article
School of Humanities, Arts and Social Sciences

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