Welcome to New Matilda 69 our bumper, Christmas edition and the last ‘live’ issue for this year.

But fear not! You won’t have to go without your weekly dose of New Matilda, because next week we will publish a selection of the most popular pieces published over the past 12 months. And New Matilda 71 (the first issue for 2006, published on 4 January) will be a compendium of ‘staff picks’, containing some of our favourites from 2005.

As we head into a new year, New Matilda is growing strongly. Web-based magazines are able to meticulously monitor site traffic and for New Matilda all the appropriate measures are very positive: we currently have just under 4000 subscribers (an increase of 209% since January 2005); the number of ‘unique visitors’ to the site has increased by 987% between January and November 2005; the number of ‘visits to the site’ is up by 1,143%; ‘page impressions’ have increased by 356%; and ‘hits’ are now ticking at a rate of over 3,325,000 per month (an impressive 891% increase since January 2005).

These figures are extremely heartening and indicate to New Matilda‘s staff and volunteers that we’re heading in the right direction.

But there’s still much to be done and we must continue to grow next year to be able to compete with the mainstream news machines. As more and more Australians become disillusioned with the pre-fabricated product served up by the traditional news media, we are confident that New Matilda offers readers a fresh and feisty alternative source of news, commentary and opinion.

Thanks to Fiona Katauskas

This year has seen the launch of New Matilda‘s Human Rights Act for Australia campaign — a wave of activity that will culminate in the tabling of a Draft Bill in Federal Parliament in October 2006. It has never been more important for Australians to debate and consider the necessity of Human Rights Act legislation. Our campaign has already launched in Sydney, Canberra and Adelaide and there are plans to visit all State/Territory capitals over the next few months.

The sedition provisions of the recent Anti-Terrorism Act prompted a spectacular response from Australia’s writers and performers in the form of ‘SEDITION!’ a show which played in Sydney in November and which will have a reprise in Melbourne in February next year. Proceeds from these performances will go towards New Matilda‘s Human Rights Act for Australia campaign.

New Matilda is unlike any other site in combining a weekly news/opinion magazine with a public policy portal. Every week, some of our best writers are making positive suggestions on how to improve our democracy, our services and our world.

No other Australian website offers this weekly mix of news, opinion and policy development.

Thank You
On behalf of the staff and volunteers of New Matilda, I want to thank our columnists for their ability to produce thought-provoking and entertaining copy, regularly and with a minimum of fuss. Similarly, thank you to our regular illustrators who keep coming up with the goods every week. I want to thank all our other writers and commentators for their professionalism.

We thank the army of volunteers who have helped us with the magazine, the policy portal, the Human Rights Act campaign and with all the other activities we undertook this year.

I want to thank the current New Matilda staff Rod McGuinness, Marni Cordell, Nick Carney and Helen Smith for their selfless dedication, their remarkable journalistic and organisational talents, and their indomitable sense of humour. Since arriving in August, I have also had the pleasure of working with James Gallaway, Murray Black and Dan Fitzgerald. They have all moved on, and we wish them all the best. To my predecessor as editor, Hilary McPhee, thank you for making the transition so painless and the ongoing advice so valuable.

The staff thanks the New Matilda Board for their steadfast support, and especially our Chair, John Menadue, for his enthusiasm, energy and wise counsel.

But most of all we want to thank you, our readers and subscribers. Without you, New Matilda simply could not exist.

All the best for what remains of 2005. Have a safe Christmas and New Year period, and let’s work together to make 2006 a better year.

José Borghino

Launched in 2004, New Matilda is one of Australia's oldest online independent publications. It's focus is on investigative journalism and analysis, with occasional smart arsery thrown in for reasons of sanity. New Matilda is owned and edited by Walkley Award and Human Rights Award winning journalist Chris Graham.