Chris Kenny

Chris Kenny (born 1962) is an Australian political commentator, author and former political adviser. He is currently a columnist for The Australian newspaper as well as the host of a weeknight current affairs program, The Kenny Report, and weekly media program, Kenny on Media, on Sky News Australia.[1][2][3]

Media careerEdit

Kenny initially studied Wildlife and Park Management in South Australia and worked for the National Parks and Wildlife Service as a firespotter and park assistant before switching his studies to a BA in journalism in 1984. His first journalism job was at the Murray Pioneer in Renmark before he worked for the Adelaide newspaper The News, ABC The 7.30 Report, Channel 10 and Channel 9 in Adelaide.[4] He also wrote columns for The Advertiser, Sunday Mail and Adelaide Review.

In 2000 he left the media to work as Director of Strategic Communications for South Australian Liberal Premier John Olsen, before serving as chief of staff to Olsen's successor as premier, Rob Kerin.[5] Kenny was appointed media advisor to foreign minister Alexander Downer in 2002 and became his chief of staff in 2006. After the defeat of the Howard Government, Kenny worked as a columnist for The Advertiser, as a television reporter for the Adelaide edition of A Current Affair, and as a talkback radio host for 5AA.

In January 2009, Kenny was recruited as chief of staff to then-opposition leader Malcolm Turnbull. Kenny was Turnbull's chief of staff during the Utegate scandal but has written that he had no contact with Turnbull's mole Godwin Grech,[6] resigning when Turnbull subsequently lost the Liberal leadership. After leaving Turnbull's office, Kenny wrote opinion pieces and analysis for The Australian, ABC The Drum and appeared as a commentator on Sky News. In 2010 Kenny was appointed General Manager, External Affairs, for transport giant Asciano, but left at the end of the year to return to media work.[7]

Kenny has two weekly columns in The Weekend Australian and relinquished his weekly column for Adelaide's Sunday Mail. He has hosted afternoon and evening talkback radio on Maquarie Radio filling in for hosts such as Ben Fordham, Steve Price and Ross Greenwood, as well as hosting his own weekly Friday Feedback show until March 2019.

Kenny has appeared on ABC TV programs such as Insiders and Q&A alongside politicians and community figures. He has been a vocal critic of ABC expansionism and alleged bias.[8] Kenny also argued from July 2011 that Julia Gillard could not recover as prime minister, that Labor would lose and that Kevin Rudd could limit the extent of those losses. He clashed on television with former Labor leader Mark Latham over this analysis but was proven correct when Labor did return to Rudd and still lost the election.[9]

Since 2013, Kenny has hosted Viewpoint and Friday Live on Sky News Australia, which are both opinion programs. Friday Live finished on 12 December 2014, replaced by a second weekly edition of Viewpoint.[10] Prior to these formats, Kenny hosted Saturday Agenda.[11]

In September 2013, the ABC program The Hamster Decides broadcast a photoshopped image of Kenny having sex with a dog. At the end of 2013, Kenny launched defamation action against the ABC program involved and one of its hosts, Andrew Hansen. In April 2014, the managing director of the ABC apologised to Kenny for the incident, and expressed regret for "the delay in making this apology".[12]

Following the 2014 Sydney hostage crisis Kenny criticised[13] the #illridewithyou campaign and the refusal of many to accept the Islamist motivation of the siege. Kenny had been at the Lindt Chocolat Café, the scene of the hostage crisis, only minutes before it unfolded.[14]

in 2020, Kenny referred to the Australian public broadcasters ABC and SBS as the "enemies of the people".[15]

Indigenous voice to governmentEdit

In November 2019, it was announced that Kenny would be one of 20 members of the Senior Advisory Group to help co-design the Indigenous voice to government set up by Ken Wyatt, the Minister for Indigenous Australians. The Group is co-chaired by Wyatt, Marcia Langton and Tom Calma.[16] Kenny has previously criticised Langton as being “aggressive” towards “perceived ideological enemies”.[17]

Personal lifeEdit

He is a keen Australian rules football follower, having played at Reserve Grade level for SANFL clubs Norwood and West Adelaide.[citation needed] In 2014 he was appointed an official ambassador of the Adelaide Crows AFL club.[18] Kenny is the cousin of political journalist Mark Kenny and he supported his sister Therese Kenny's unsuccessful campaign as the Liberal candidate for Torrens in the 2018 South Australian state election.[19]

Published worksEdit

  • State of Denial (Wakefield Press, 1993, ISBN 978-1862543003) about the 1992 collapse of South Australia's State Bank
  • It Would be Nice if There was Some Women's Business: The Story Behind the Hindmarsh Island Affair (Duffy & Snellgrove, 1996, ISBN 978-1875989102) about the Hindmarsh Island bridge controversy
  • Chapter One, "The race card" in The Forgotten People – Liberal and conservative approaches to recognising Indigenous peoples (Melbourne University Press, 2016 Edited by Damien Freeman and Shireen Morris)[20]
  • Adelaide Crows chapter, Heartfelt Moments in Australian Rules Football, (Connor Court, 2016. Edited by Ross Fitzgerald ISBN 9781925138948)[21]


  1. ^ "Chris Kenny, Paul Murray in Sky News revamp". The Australian. 17 December 2014. Retrieved 16 June 2015.
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  4. ^ "Behind the Media: Stephen Brook", podcast[time needed]
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  7. ^ "Turnbull hires Downer's former top adviser". Australian Broadcasting Corporation. 7 January 2009. Retrieved 7 March 2014.
  8. ^ Kenny, Chris. "Looking for Budget Cuts? Try the ABC". The Australian. Archived from the original on 3 March 2016. Retrieved 27 February 2014.
  9. ^ "Rudd is Labor's last chance" by Chris Kenny, The Australian, 25 July 2011
  10. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 21 January 2015. Retrieved 29 January 2015.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  11. ^ Knox, David (26 June 2013). "SKY News adds Friday Night Live edition". TV Tonight. Retrieved 22 April 2016.
  12. ^ Benns, Matthew (14 April 2014). "ABC boss Mark Scott apologises to The Australian's Chris Kenny over Chaser skit depicting him having sex with a dog". The Daily Telegraph.
  13. ^ Hashtag for an imaginary backlash
  14. ^ Sliding door tragedy of the Lindt cafe in Sydney's Martin Place
  15. ^ Kenny, Chris (20 June 2020). "Enemies of the people reveal their true colours". The Australian. Retrieved 22 July 2020.
  16. ^ "Voice Co-Design Senior Advisory Group". Ministers Media Centre. 8 November 2019. Retrieved 1 February 2020.
  17. ^ Remeikis, Amy (8 November 2019). "Chris Kenny added to group working on Indigenous voice to parliament". the Guardian. Retrieved 1 February 2020.
  18. ^ "Club Ambassadors" Archived 20 October 2014 at the Wayback Machine, Adelaide Football Club
  19. ^ Jeffrey, James (3 March 2015). "Cop the boots – That sinking feeling". Retrieved 8 November 2016.(subscription required)
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