Miranda Devine, one of Australia’s most polarising newspaper columnists, is switching from Fairfax back News Ltd in a further blow to the Sydney Morning Herald which lost commentator Annabel Crabb to the ABC just months ago.
Devine will produce two columns a week which will run across News Ltd’s metro papers nationally.
Daily Telegraph editor Garry Linnell said: “Miranda originally joined the Daily Telegraph as a police reporter in 1989. She went on to become an assistant editor and a twice-weekly columnist who forged a reputation as one of the most widely-read and influential writers in the country.
“She is the latest addition to our powerful stable of opinion writers who set the local and national agenda.”
Devine’s columns tend towards conservative on both political and social issues. Last year she wrote a controversial column on blame for the Black Saturday bush fire disaster in which she suggested: “”it is not arsonists who should be hanging from lamp-posts but greenies”. The Australian Press Council dismissed complaints about the comment piece.
Asked about her new salary, Devine told today’s Media section of The Australian: “It was never about the money.”
Meanwhile, The Daily Telegraph is to stage a debate on Wednesday night which will see Prime Minister Julia Gillard and Opposition Leader Tony Abbott both appear but not debate directly with each other. the public forum will take place at Rooty Hill RSL in Western Sydney in front of 200 undecdied voters. it will also be aired on Sky News.
Linnell said: “We believe this debate could well signal a turning point in the campaign. Several key marginal seats are in NSW, and it is those swinging voters who are about to become the ultimate power brokers in this country. This debate is about bringing politics back to the people.”