Alan Jones (radio broadcaster)
|Full name||Alan Belford Jones|
|Date of birth||13 April 1941|
|Place of birth||Oakey, Queensland, Australia|
|School||Toowoomba Grammar School|
|University||Kelvin Grove Teachers College
University of Queensland BA
University of Oxford (non-degree course)
|Rugby league career|
|Rugby league career|
|Rugby union career|
|Years||Club / team|
|Rugby union career|
|Alan Jones at 2GB|
Alan Belford Jones AO (born 13 April 1941, or possibly 1942 or 1943) is an Australian radio broadcaster. He is a former coach of the Australian National Rugby Union Team and rugby league coach and administrator. He has worked as a school teacher, a speech writer in the office of the Prime Minister Malcolm Fraser, and in musical theatre. He has a Bachelor of Arts from Queensland University, and completed a one-year teaching diploma at Worcester College, Oxford. He has received civil and industry awards.
Jones hosts a popular Sydney breakfast radio program, on radio station 2GB. Jones advocates mainly conservative views, and the popularity of his radio program has made him a highly paid and influential media personality in Australia. His on-air conduct has received adverse findings from Australia's media regulators, and he has frequently been sued for defamation.
Alan Belford Jones was born to farmer and coal miner Charlie Thomas (1906 – 1990) and former school teacher Elizabeth 'Beth' (née Belford) (1906 – 1982). Alan was the middle of three children, with an older brother, Robert Charles, and a younger sister, Colleen, both of whom would become school teachers like their mother and brother. Jones was raised on a dairy farm near Oakey in south-east Queensland, attending primary school at Acland State School, before transferring to Toowoomba Grammar School as a boarder.
After leaving school, Jones trained as a teacher at the Kelvin Grove Teachers College (now part of the Queensland University of Technology) in Brisbane. In 1961 he commenced his teaching career at a state primary school, Ironside Primary School in the inner suburbs of Brisbane. In 1963 he obtained a position at Brisbane Grammar School, a private secondary school for boys, where he remained until the end of 1969. Throughout this period he also studied part-time at the University of Queensland for a Bachelor of Arts degree, which he was awarded in 1967. Apart from his teaching duties at Brisbane Grammar, Jones additionally proved to be a highly successful sporting coach in athletics, tennis, and, later, rugby union.
In 1970, Jones was appointed Senior English Master at The King's School, Parramatta in Sydney. Again Jones was also heavily involved in coaching a number of sports with considerable success, including progressing to coaching the First XV rugby union side, which he took to the championship in an unbeaten season in 1974. At the end of the first term in 1975, following a meeting with the school's principal, Jones chose to resign from the school.
After leaving King's School Jones briefly moved to Canberra where he made a failed bid to win preselection to stand as a Country Party candidate for Federal Parliament. He then spent several years as the manager of a small airline in Quirindi in country New South Wales, where he also coached the local rugby team. During this same period, over 1976–77 while in his mid-30s, Jones spent time in England where he completed a one year educational studies diploma at Worcester College, Oxford. While at Oxford Jones won a University Blue for tennis.
In 1978, Jones returned to Sydney to run for the State Parliament as a Liberal Party candidate. After failing to win his seat in the election, Jones worked for some time as a speechwriter for the Liberal NSW Opposition leader, John Mason. In 1979 Jones was recruited as a speechwriter for the Liberal Prime Minister of Australia, Malcolm Fraser, so returned to Canberra for the position, remaining there until early 1981. He then moved back to Sydney after being recruited to be Executive Director of the New South Wales Employers' Federation, where he worked until he began his radio career in 1985.
In October 1985, Jones was awarded the Rostrum Speakers' Award as the Communicator of the Year.
Jones has never been married and has no children.
In 1974, a parent at The King's School, Parramatta, Doug Anthony, leader of the Country Party (now the National Party of Australia) in the Australian Parliament, offered Jones a position with the party in Canberra. In 1975, Jones sought party preselection as the candidate for the Federal parliamentary seat of Eden-Monaro, but lost the bid.
In 1978, he was the candidate for the July 1978 by-election for the NSW state seat of Earlwood for the Liberal Party of Australia, formerly held by deposed Liberal leader Sir Eric Willis. He lost what had been considered a "safe seat". Jones again contested the seat for the Liberal Party at the 1978 New South Wales state election held in October. The ALP candidate was returned with a greater majority.
In September 1979, Jones stood for Liberal preselection for the Federal Division of North Sydney, placing third in the ballot. The winning candidate, Peter Solomon was later disendorsed, but Jones did not re-contest the ballot in March 1980, with John Spender taking preselection and winning the seat.
In 1986, Jones nominated for the Liberal preselection for the Federal Division of Wentworth in Sydney, but was a late withdrawal from the ballot; the preselection and seat was won by future Liberal leader Dr John Hewson.
Rugby football coaching
1982 was the beginning of Jones' association with semi-professional rugby, firstly appointed as (part-time) manager of the NSW Rugby Union team. The next year he served as coach for the Manly Rugby Union team, winning the competition for the first time in 32 years.
In February 1984, Jones replaced Bob Dwyer as coach of the Australian Rugby Union national team (the Wallabies). Jones coached the Australian team for 4 years with 86 victories from 102 matches including 23 victories in 30 Tests. When he took the team on it included Mark Ella, and it soon recruited Peter FitzSimons and James Black, both Manly players, and Nick Farr-Jones. Also in 1984, Australia's national team, the Wallabies, won the Grand Slam victories over England, Ireland, Wales and Scotland, and a Barbarians side made up of the best players of those countries and France.
In 1985, Jones was awarded Coach of the Year from the Confederation of Australian Sport.
The 1986 Bledisloe Cup victory against New Zealand in New Zealand was the first time that had been achieved in 39 years. In 1988, Jones was made a Member of the Order of Australia for his service to Rugby Union football. In 1989, Jones was elected to the hall of fame of the Confederation of Australian Sports for his contribution to sport as the Australian rugby union coach.
In October 2007, Jones signalled his interest in coaching the Wallabies after Queensland Rugby Chairman Peter Lewis suggested to the media he be the right person for the job. "If Peter Lewis and the Queensland Rugby Union – who have played a major role in Australian rugby for many years – are of the view I am the person who can make that contribution then I am obligated to put my hand up and say, 'Well if that is the case, I'm available'."
The Australian Rugby Union (ARU) on 14 December 2007 ruled Jones out of the coaching position, instead appointing New Zealand Crusaders coach Robbie Deans. ARU Chairman Peter McGrath however left the door open for a future position for Jones, saying there would "always be a place" for the former coach and radio broadcaster.
In 1990 Jones replaced Warren Ryan as coach of the Balmain Tigers rugby league football club, without accepting a fee. Balmain had been quite successful, including coming runners-up in 1988 and 1989 in the New South Wales Rugby League premiership, but with Jones in charge they struggled despite his claims upon appointment that "Balmain are sick and tired of coming second". It was while coaching Balmain that Jones was dubbed with his best known nickname, the 'Parrot', by comedian Greig Pickhaver in his role as sports commentator H.G. Nelson, although Jones has never approved of the name.
Jones coached Balmain from 1991 to 1993 with these results: 1991 – 8 wins, 12th place; 1992 – 10 wins, 10th place; 1993 – 5 wins, 12th place. At the end of the 1993 season he reapplied for the coaching role, offering a new business plan to the board, but when it was rejected he resigned. He was soon after appointed as the Manager of Football Operations with the South Sydney Rabbitohs rugby league club, also without a fee.
Radio and other media
In 1985, Jones joined the Sydney AM radio station 2UE as the morning show host after long-time host John Laws left for 2GB. Laws returned to 2UE in 1988 to again host the morning show, so from March of that year Jones was moved to the breakfast slot from 5.30am to 9.00am. On changing to the breakfast show, Jones first adopted the program's long-time opening and closing theme music, "Gloria" by Laura Branigan. By the mid-1990s Jones' audience share in the Sydney market was up to 22%, giving him the largest radio audience in Sydney, and, including his transmissions into regional and interstate markets, possibly the largest radio audience in Australia.
Jones' program has remained little changed over time, as a mixture of opinion pieces, interviews, talkback, and commercial endorsements. His on-air popularity has made him a highly paid and powerful media personality. Jones uses his program to advocate largely conservative views, and he has been described as one of the most influential broadcasters in Australia. Throughout his time on radio Jones has frequently been referred to as a 'shock jock' due to the style of his presentation, although he personally rejects this term.
In January 1993, the International Year of the World's Indigenous People, Jones described the choice of Aboriginal Australian Mandawuy Yunupingu as Australian of the Year as "ridiculous" and suggested Yunupingu had been granted the award because of his "colour or ... history". Later that year, prominent Aboriginal Australian Charles Perkins and Jones clashed in a live TV and radio debate. Jones said Australians are "getting no say when [Aboriginal people] say this is [their] nation; it's not, it's Australia's nation ... [Average Australians] are being asked to pay taxes to fund people who are seeking title to productive land to which they've made no contribution to its productivity". Perkins called Jones racist and a redneck and commented "You've sat on your white bum at 2UE in Sydney all your life so you wouldn't know what goes on out there".
On seven occasions between 1990 and 1997, Jones was awarded by Commercial Radio Australia the title Australian Radio Talk Personality of the Year. In 2001 Jones was awarded the Centenary Medal and the Australian Sports Medal, both being awarded for his contributions to sport and the broadcasting industry.
In 2002, Jones switched to 2GB as breakfast announcer, reportedly also taking a financial interest in the station.
In 2008, Jones' audience numbers began to fall, with competition from ABC Radio 702, although he retained his number one position. In 2011, Jones had an audience share of 19.2 per cent, still the largest for a radio commentator in Sydney. In 2012 Jones retained the largest share, with 18.5% of the Sydney radio audience, although this represented an average number of listeners of just 151,000 out of a listening audience of 469,000 and a possible Sydney audience of 4.1 million, and was down from 185,000 in 2006 despite an increase in population. In February 2013, his audience share dropped to 15.4%.
Jones' first regular position in the media was writing a column called "The Way I See It" for the Quirindi Advocate newspaper from November 1977 until February 1978. From 1988 until 1990 Jones wrote a regular column for the Sydney Sunday tabloid The Sun-Herald, but did not appear following a petition by staff calling for his removal as a contributor. This followed Jones' publication of a column predicting an oil crisis, in which a large amount of material had been taken from Frederick Forsyth's novel The Negotiator without attribution or indication that their source was a work of fiction. Jones was later hired by the Sun-Herald's rival paper, The Sunday Telegraph, where he wrote a one-page column titled "To the Point" until 1995.
Since the 1980s, Jones has frequently been the subject of profile pieces in newspapers and magazines throughout the country, which have ranged in style from complimentary to investigatory and critical.
At the end of January 1994, Jones debuted in his own Network Ten program, Alan Jones Live, intended to be similar in purpose and content to the American program Larry King Live. Proving to be a ratings failure, it was cancelled in April 1994 after just 13 weeks on air. In March 1995, he began a segment making editorial comment on the Nine Network's Today breakfast show. Jones continued to present this 7.15am editorial on Today until it was eventually cancelled in June 2007.
Jones has been a participant in national debates for some decades. A former candidate for Liberal Party of Australia preselection, and former adviser to Liberal Prime Minister Malcolm Fraser, Jones is a noted supporter of conservative politics in Australia. He has nonetheless at different times criticised or joined forces with Australian politicians from across the party-political spectrum to lobby for political causes.
Jones says he does not believe in significant human induced climate change and has been critical of Government policy to use the Australian taxation system as a means of reducing carbon emissions. Since the 2010 Australian Federal Election, Jones has been critical of Prime Minister Julia Gillard's decision to introduce a price on carbon claiming that this was breaking a pre-election promise.
Jones, a Sydney-based broadcaster, has criticised Sydney Lord Mayor Clover Moore's efforts to close lane ways and parking areas in the city of Sydney to cars. Jones says that this unduly inconveniences long-distance commuters and adversely affects city based businesses. On 29 June 2011, Jones said of the Lord Mayor of Sydney ... "put her in the same chaff bag as Julia Gillard and throw them both out to sea" and about Greens leader Bob Brown ... "The woman's [Gillard] off her tree and quite frankly they should shove her and Bob Brown in a chaff bag and take them as far out to sea as they can and tell them to swim home." In February 2011, Jones asked Gillard on-air how she felt about being called "Ju-liar" and that "...[people]...are saying that we've got a liar running the country" following the reversal of her pre-election pledge not to introduce a new carbon tax. He also criticised her for being 10 minutes late for his program. These comments attracted condemnation from critics, including ABC Television's Jonathan Holmes of Media Watch.
Jones has called for consideration of expanding Australia's irrigation and dam systems. He opposed the Iemma Labor Government's plan to privatise the Snowy Mountains Scheme in 2006, and in 2011 he broadcasted from Mildura from where he criticised the Gillard Government's Murray-Darling Basin Plan, saying "we're seeing policy made without any consultation with people who are the stakeholders – the farmers".
Jones has been a campaigner against Coal seam gas mining in prime agricultural regions in Australia. Jones said on ABC Television that "...no-one can be serious when they talk about food security and the great opportunities for us in Asia when our prime agricultural land is being surrendered to mining." In October 2011, Jones addressed the National Press Club on the issue.
Jones is noted for his support of charity organisations and charitable causes. As well as financial contributions, Jones has regularly made personal appearances and given talks to support organisations which he backs. Jones is also well known for providing support to individuals, such as listeners who contact him through his radio show, and for giving personal, professional, and financial assistance to friends and acquaintances, especially young elite sportspeople.
In 2004, Jones received a Queen's Birthday Honour of an Officer of the Order of Australia (AO) partly for his service to the media and sports' administration, but also helping many charities. These organisations included Youth Off The Streets, the Children's Hospital, Starlight Children's Foundation, the Sir Edward Dunlop Medical Research Foundation and the Heart Research Institute.
Court actions and tribunal findings
Throughout his time as a radio personality Jones has been the subject of a number of court and tribunal investigations.
Jones has been involved in numerous defamation cases arising from his outspoken comments on radio. These have included:
- 1990: Jones in his role with 2UE was ordered by a court to pay over $55,000 damages for defaming David Parker, a former councillor of the NRMA, the NSW Motorists' organisation; 2UE was also ordered to pay $80,000. Parker was defamed during the NRMA election campaign in October 1986.
- 1994: Jones and 2UE were sued in November by Don Mackay, president of the NRMA, alleging that Jones made a false imputations against him.
- 1998: Jones claimed on-air that rugby league referee Bill Harrigan was biased. Harrigan sued Jones for defamation and, in 2001, was awarded damages of $90,000.
- 2002: Jones and 2UE settled out of court a defamation claim by Detective Chief Inspector Deborah Wallace, a NSW police officer. Jones defamed Wallace during five broadcasts in 2001.
- 2008: Jones was found to have defamed Australian Olympic Committee chief John Coates in comments Jones made regarding Coates' handling of an incident involving rower Sally Robbins' performance at the 2004 Olympics.
- 2011: Jones was sued in December by health bureaucrat Terry Clout over comments made by Jones in March 2009.
Others involved in defamation proceedings with Jones have included Aboriginal woman Mary-Lou Buck, Lola Scott (previously the highest-ranking female NSW police officer), Rockdale mayor Shaoquett Moselmane, Aboriginal leader Pat Dodson, the rugby league judiciary, liquidator Ian Ferrier and his twelve partners, Racing NSW's chief steward Ray Murrihy, rugby union chief John O'Neill (about $50,000), former Herald letters editor Geraldine Walsh (about $100,000) and QC Bob Stitt (about $50,000).
- London incident
On 6 December 1988, Jones was arrested in an underground public toilet on Broadwick Street in the Soho area of London. He was taken to the Mayfair police station and charged with 'outraging public decency' and 'committing an indecent act'. Jones' friends rushed to his support, and when the case was heard in the Marlborough Street Magistrates' Court the next day The Crown withdrew the more serious charge, with Jones pleading not guilty to the lesser charge of committing an indecent act. The authorities ultimately did not present any evidence to support either charge, and the second charge was also later dropped, with Jones' lawyers winning ₤70 in costs. Jones read a prepared statement when he first appeared back on his radio show on 16 January 1989, saying "I am and always was innocent of the charges levelled against me". Jones has avoided talking about the incident ever since, although it is frequently raised by his opponents or those looking to highlight alleged hypocrisy in his comments.
- Early contempt of court charges
In 1992, Jones was rebuked by the New South Wales Independent Commission Against Corruption for attacking former State Minister Dr Terry Metherell during evidence in an inquiry relating to Metherell's appointment to a government job.
Also in 1992, Jones and radio station 2UE were found guilty of contempt of court after the trial of former police officer John Killen was aborted following Jones' interview with a former Drug Enforcement Squad officer. Killen was facing a charge of conspiracy to pervert the course of justice when Jones conducted the interview and alleged that police had suffered from false accusations. The station was fined $77,000 and Jones $2,000.
- Cash for comment affair
Between 1999 and 2000, the Cash for comment investigation was conducted. Jones had been accused of contracting to have personal commercial support in exchange for favourable "unscripted" comments, principally for Telstra and Qantas, during his radio show. The independent Australian Broadcasting Corporation TV show, Media Watch, was heavily involved in exposing these practices. The Australian Broadcasting Authority finally decided that disclosure had to be made, hence the "Commercial Agreement Register" at the Jones portion of his station's web site. (Jones was investigated along with John Laws from 2UE).
In April 2004, another scandal broke after it was revealed the Chairman of the Australian Broadcasting Authority, David Flint, who had headed the cash for comment inquiries, had sent a stream of admiring letters to Jones. This called into question the impartiality of Flint, and the then Federal Minister for Communications, Daryl Williams, was embroiled in media speculation as to the future of Flint. With an inquiry imminent, Flint resigned. In an appearance on the ABC's Enough Rope, John Laws accused Jones of placing pressure on Prime Minister John Howard to keep Flint as head of the ABA, made comments that many viewers took to imply a sexual relationship between Jones and Flint and broadly hinted that Jones was homosexual like Flint, who is openly gay.
- Cronulla riots
In December 2005, in the lead-up to the Cronulla riots, Jones used his breakfast radio program to read out and discuss a widely-circulated text message that called on people to "Come to Cronulla this weekend to take revenge... get down to North Cronulla to support the Leb and wog bashing day". Media commentator David Marr accused Jones of inciting racial tensions and implicitly encouraging violence and vigilantism by the manner of his responses to callers even while he was verbally disapproving of them taking the law into their own hands.
On 10 April 2007, the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) found that the broadcaster 2GB and Jones had broadcast material (specifically comments made by Jones between 5–9 December 2005) that was likely to encourage violence or brutality and to vilify people of Lebanese and Middle-Eastern backgrounds on the basis of ethnicity. During his on-air rebuttal of the ACMA findings on 10 April 2007, Jones stated that by referring to his show as "Breakfast with Alan Jones", the ACMA had little credibility as his show was actually known as "The Alan Jones Show". However, the 2GB website prior to this broadcast clearly showed the Jones program as being "Breakfast with Alan Jones", this was changed after the broadcast of Jones' rebuttal to be "Alan Jones Show".
David Flint again defended Jones by appearing on Jones' morning show "to support his friend and to condemn the process that found him guilty. He told 2GB listeners that the vigilante movement existed at Cronulla long before Jones began broadcasting and that the ACMA findings amounted to a classic case of shoot the messenger. He said the complaints process was flawed because, unlike the Press Council, Jones could not face or question his accusers".
His comments about "Lebanese males in their vast numbers" hating Australia and raping, pillaging and plundering the country, about a "national security" crisis, and about the undermining of Australian culture by "vermin" were reckless hyperbole calculated to agitate and excite his audience without providing them with much in the way of solid information.
Jones appealed the decision, but in October 2012 the NSW Administrative Decisions Tribunal dismissed his appeal, and upheld his conviction for inciting hatred and for vilification of Muslims.
Jones apologised on-air for his remarks on 6 December 2012. However, on 12 December the Tribunal ruled that this apology was "an inadequate statement of wrongdoing" and ordered him to apologise again, prescribing the words he was to read.
- Contempt of court charges
Jones was found guilty of breaching the Children's (Criminal Proceedings) Act 1987 (NSW), by broadcasting the suppressed name of a juvenile witness in a murder trial.
The deputy chief magistrate, Helen Syme, criticised Jones for not issuing an on-air apology to the boy he had named, and said that Jones' offence was "serious". The magistrate placed Jones on a nine-month good-behaviour bond and fined him $1000.
In February 2008, Jones lost an appeal against his conviction, but Jones's criminal conviction was quashed the following month. The judge presiding over the appeal, Judge Michael Finnane, said: "While it was no excuse from liability in law that Mr Jones relied on The Daily Telegraph, the fact that he did, to some extent ameliorates the seriousness of the offence." The judge confirmed Jones' guilt but dismissed the charge and annulled the conviction, saying it was "an honest mistake".
- Kovco comments
In October 2007, NSW State Coroner Mary Jerram considered referring Jones and The Daily Telegraph to the NSW Supreme Court for comments about the inquest into the death of Private Jake Kovco. Jones said that assisting counsel John Agius had tried to persuade Kovco's mother into refusing a jury inquest, comments which Jerram said could prejudice the inquest. No charges were brought against Jones.
- Military trial commentary
An episode of ABC's Media Watch was devoted to Jones' pre-trial comments on the charging of three Australian soldiers serving in Afghanistan. The commentators believed that if the case had already been convened, Jones' comments would have been in contempt of court. The charges against the soldiers were eventually dismissed at a pre-trial hearing.
- Breach of radio standards
On 25 November 2011 the Australian Communications and Media Authority found that Jones had breached the commercial radio code of practice in his reporting of environmental issues. His reporting was found to lack accuracy and failed to allow other viewpoints to be heard. A decision on the penalty for this breach was reserved.
- Climate change commentary
On 15 June 2012, the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) found that Jones had breached the commercial radio code of practice in his reporting of environmental issues. This related to his claim that "human beings produce 0.001 per cent of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere". ACMA chairman Chris Chapman said that the watchdog was not penalising the licensee of 2GB, but was working with it to improve procedures. On 18 October 2012 ACMA ordered Jones to undergo factual accuracy training and employ a fact-checker.
Jones responded to these claims on 19 October 2012 claiming that he had mistakenly claimed the 0.001 to be of all "carbon dioxide in the atmosphere" where it should have been "all gases in the atmosphere" and that he had repeated the correct and undisputed figure of 3 percent numerous times later that week and offered a correction.
Jonestown: The Power and the Myth of Alan Jones (Allen & Unwin) is an unauthorised biography of Jones by Australian journalist Chris Masters. Masters began Jonestown in 2002 after profiling Jones for an episode of the current affairs program Four Corners. The book won the Australian Book Industry Awards, Australian Biography of the Year 2007. It reported on Jones' term as Senior English Master at The King's School, Parramatta and an incident in London in 1988 for which charges were ultimately dropped.
"Died of shame" controversy
In a September 2012 speech at a Sydney University Liberal Club social function, Jones stated that Prime Minister Julia Gillard was a liar, and as a consequence her father had recently "died of shame". The remarks relating to Gillard's father were condemned from all sides of the political spectrum by politicians, media and social media outlets. Jones held a press conference and said he "got it wrong", and wanted to apologise to the Prime Minister both publicly and in person. Julia Gillard refused to receive a call from Jones for an apology, and there was considerable media speculation regarding his sincerity. Both the Prime Minister's Labor colleagues and Liberal figures including Opposition Leader Tony Abbott criticised Jones for his remarks.
Labor Party figures sought to associate Tony Abbott and the Liberal Party with Jones' remarks, leading to counteraccusations that they were seeking to "gain political capital" from the affair. Many sponsors pulled advertising from Jones's show, followed by lobbying campaigned through social media to have the remaining advertisers boycott the program. On 7 October Jones' employer, the Macquarie Radio Network, announced that it would suspend all advertising on the Alan Jones show on 2GB to protect its advertisers from pressure being applied through social media activism. Jones called the campaign "cyber bullying". More than 80 sponsors boycotted Jones' program, including Telstra, Woolworths, Toyota, Mercedes-Benz and Coles. Macquarie Radio estimated the boycott cost the station between $1 million and $1.5 million, and some advertisers said they will never return.
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- Cookies must be enabled. | The Australian
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