Members Statements

Danny O’BRIEN (Gippsland South) (10:29): Next Wednesday 26 June will be a sad day for the Foster and Corner Inlet district when the final edition of the Mirror newspaper hits the stands. This saddens me as a local MP, as a citizen and particularly as a former journalist who started his career as a cadet at a similar small country newspaper. Owners Rab and Jenny Best have had the Mirror on the market for some time but unfortunately have received no genuine offers and have had to make the difficult decision to shut down the paper, which printed its first edition way back in 1890.

Rab himself started as a printer-compositor back in 1974 and took over as the owner of the paper in 1989. When I called in to say goodbye last Friday, Rab and I joked about the historical enmity between compositors like him and journalists like me: the old Printing and Kindred Industries Union versus the Australian Journalists Association – and, yes, I was a member of the AJA very briefly, but I was young and naive. I have had a great professional relationship with Rab and the various journalists he has employed in my time, most recently the delightful Kate Fooke.

The Mirror has been just that for the Corner Inlet community: a reflection of the people, towns, times, issues and debates for 132 years; a voice for a community; a leader; and a place of debate, interests, entertainment and of course local sport. I hold out hope that someone may step into the breach, but the demise of the local paper will be a very sad day for a proud community – a changing community but one that has always prided itself on putting locals first. I wish Rab, Jenny and Kate all the best for their future, and I thank them and all their predecessors for 134 years of service to the community.

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