An Open Letter To Readers From Amy McQuire


Dear NM reader,

I’ve always had a great respect for New Matilda, especially because it is one of the only media outlets in Australia consistently reporting from a human rights perspective.

That’s why I was excited to join NM’s growing team earlier in the year.

Aside from my respect for the work of past editors, I was also excited to join the publication because of the desire of new editor Chris Graham to significantly boost coverage of Aboriginal affairs, and continue its role in breaking the silence around the human rights abuses being perpetuated against Indigenous West Papuans, our nearest neighbours.

That’s been a big part of my role since coming aboard, and I’ve been keeping a close eye on attacks on land rights around the country as well as the ongoing epidemic of deaths in custody and the racial tensions not every media outlet is prepared to talk about.

I feel New Matilda is one of the only places in Australia that reports on these issues consistently and accurately.

Aside from Aboriginal affairs and West Papua you’ll also see me filing regularly on climate change. In an age when political hacks want to debate the science of climate change, it’s important for publication like NM to take a fiercely independent and pro-science stance.

If you’re a regular reader you’ve probably seen my bylines filling the front page of the website, largely because NM runs on a shoestring, and we can only afford two full-time journalists.

We do a lot with limited resources, but we want to do even more, so please help fund us today.

Prior to joining New Matilda, I edited Tracker Magazine, the largest Aboriginal affairs publication in the country, which was funded by the NSW Aboriginal Land Council.

The magazine had a mandate from the 23,000 members of the NSW land rights network to be politically robust and report the issues Aboriginal people wanted reported – land rights, sovereignty, treaty, culture and heritage, deaths in custody.

Blackfellas also wanted us to hold government to account.

Unfortunately, after we ran a front page critical of Tony Abbott (specifically that Aboriginal Australia had overwhelmingly rejected him at the federal poll), the NSWALC bowed to pressure from the NSW Liberal government, who warned it would hurt the board's chances with the Abbott government.

In addition to that, it was revealed a Liberal-affiliated lobbyist hired by NSWALC had given advice warning the magazine was too politically biased. This was all for advocating for the rights of Aboriginal people.

The closure of Tracker drummed into me the importance of independent media. I truly believed an Aboriginal organisation like NSWALC would be a good environment for advocacy-based journalism. I was wrong.

New Matilda is now one of the few places in the media landscape that is able to deliver investigative journalism, breaking news and analysis on the most misreported issues in Australia – from Aboriginal affairs to asylum seeker issues, to higher education reform and West Papua.

But to stay truly independent we rely on the support of our readers.

By supporting New Matilda you not only help promote independent media, you also hold us accountable.

Please help us fund quality journalism by subscribing today.

For those unable to provide financial support you can always just share our stories. At the end of the day that’s why we write – to get the word out on matters of significant public interest that the mainstream media won’t pay attention to.

From the rest of the team I hope you enjoy the end of the year and have a safe holiday,

Amy McQuire.

Senior Journalist,
New Matilda.

A Darumbul woman from central Queensland, Amy McQuire is the former editor of the National Indigenous Times and Tracker magazine.