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Who says that investigative reporting is dead in Australia?

The true genius of Australian journalism came to the fore this week with the repatriation of ‘terrorism supporter’ David Hicks after more than five years of incarceration in Guantánamo Bay. Clearly desperate to find telling details for their stories, Australia’s intrepid correspondents went beyond the call of duty to offer such revelations as:

Sydney Morning Herald, Quite a trip, quips man in orange:

[The Government] would not officially tell us what movie David Hicks watched on his flight to Adelaide — it took a leak for Fairfax Media to learn that he viewed the mobster flick The Departed.

We know that Hicks cracked a wry joke about the extraordinary journey that took him from Guantanamo Bay to Adelaide, via Tahiti for a refuelling stop. "He did make the rather amusing comment there are not too many prisoners who get a world trip between stretches", Hicks’s civilian lawyer for the past two years, David McLeod, said after the plane landed.

The Courier-Mail, Cereal, radio for Hicks:

Public outrage grew yesterday after Hicks was returned from Guantanamo Bay on a luxurious private Gulfstream jet, once used by tennis ace Lleyton Hewitt.

AdelaideNow, Hicks’ in-flight movie revealed:

[Hicks’ lawyer, David] McLeod said Hicks peered out the window just before landing and remarked how the recent rains had turned his home city green and asked whether the drought had broken.

Apparently, Hicks’ career change from Islamic terrorist to aspiring ecologist means he now takes an interest in global warming rather than global destruction.

Thanks to Bill Leak

Ninemsn.com.au, Hicks flies home in first class style:

He was flown home in a specially chartered Gulfstream G550, a $25 million jet with leather seats usually reserved for celebrities and executives.

From a choice of more than 15 ‘latest release’ in-flight movies, Hicks watched Martin Scorsese’s Academy-award-winning crime thriller The Departed.

First-Class Terrorist: Inside Hicks’ $500,000 Luxury Flight Home

Hicks was offered the plane’s standard menu, which includes a choice of chicken or beef dishes.

News.com.au, Lonely David finds it’s hard to make friends in jail:

David Hicks was finding it hard to make friends yesterday after being forced to eat his first breakfast in jail completely alone.

We at New Matilda believe that the hacks didn’t go far enough. We want to know what Hicks is having for afternoon tea, what he’s wearing under the alluring orange jumpsuit, and whether he’s a Lynx or an Old Spice man. But we don’t stop at superficialities we demand to know whether he shakes or stirs his Manhattans, is he a big- or little-endian when it comes to hard-boiled eggs? Most of all, we want to know what’s going on in Hicks’s head and in his heart of darkness. So, in a world-wide exclusive, we present the following:

David Hicks Was Surprised That:

Gerard Henderson had written about nothing else but David Hicks for five years.
No one had found Osama bin Laden, yet.
Kylie and Nick Cave had split.
Port Adelaide had won the AFL Grand Final in 2004.
Meg Lees hadn’t ‘kicked on’ as a politician.
‘The Glass House’ had been canned.

David Hicks Was Not Surprised That:

Finland had won last year’s Eurovision Song Contest.
Alexander Downer didn’t greet him at the airport.
Peter Costello does the Macarena.
Half of the ABC was running for pre-selection in the next election.
Nicole and Tom had split.
Amanda Vanstone was going to Rome.

Things David Hicks Was Disappointed About:

Australian broadband speeds.
Eddie Jones had resigned as coach of the Queensland Reds.

José Borghino


New Matilda is independent journalism at its finest. The site has been publishing intelligent coverage of Australian and international politics, media and culture since 2004.