Newspaper article Tweed Daily News (Tweed Heads, Australia)

Astute Political Observer Loving His Tweed Lifestyle

Newspaper article Tweed Daily News (Tweed Heads, Australia)

Astute Political Observer Loving His Tweed Lifestyle

Article excerpt

Byline: Nikki Todd dailynews.com.au

IN A small unit overlooking the magnificent waterways of Tweed Heads lives one of Australia's most well-known political commentators.

Alex Mitchell, whose illustrious career as a journalist began as a cadet at the Townsville Bulletin back in 1960, is still wedded to the job that took him around the world, interviewing leaders from Libya's Colonel Muammar Gaddafi to Ugandan tyrant Idi Amin.

Despite retiring from his role as a full-time reporter in 2007, he is still able to pick up the phone to speak to some of Australia's most powerful players, including the likes of former prime minister Paul Keating, whom he spoke to on the morning the Tweed Daily News interviewed him this week.

Mitchell's career, partly outlined in his memoir Come the Revolution (2011), is the stuff that movies are made of.

Starting off as a cadet at the 'Bully', Mitchell soon made his way across to Mt Isa, before heading down to join a young Rupert Murdoch in Sydney and Canberra.

He moved to London in the 1960s, where he worked at the Sunday Times and Granada TV's World in Action, breaking some of the biggest stories of the day, before following his heart and joining the Workers Revolutionary Party, Britain's largest Trotskyist party, where he worked as editor at its daily newspaper for 15 years.

Mitchell, with his partner Judith White, returned to Australia in 1986, when he took up work at the Sun-Herald, becoming political editor and a regular columnist, and served as the president of the NSW Parliamentary Gallery from 2001 until his retirement in 2007.

But old habits die hard, and despite officially hanging up his towel, Mitchell refuses to stop writing.

"I hate the 'R' word - retirement," Mitchell said this week.

"I refuse to retire like a lot of my friends and end up in a TAB or a pub. I don't like that kind of a life. So I am trying to keep up my journalistic life by writing pieces."

Mitchell is regularly published in some of Australia's most respected outlets, including The Drum on the ABC, Crikey and Justinian, as well as his own blog, titled Come the Revolution, the same title given to his memoir. …

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