The Australian Financial Review has been "Keeping 'em honest for 60 years", an ockerish headline for an esteemed business publication on its anniversary day. The very first issue of the then-weekly paper, formerly subtitled "A Sydney Morning Herald Publication", was published on August 16, 1951, with a journalistic scoop – "Projected Rise in Bond Rate to 3¾ per cent" – and a cover price of one shilling.
Today's edition, for posterity, bears the headlines: "The Value of Liberal Patronage: a cool million"; "Boards boost dividends, buybacks"; "Miners dig deep to battle carbon tax"; and "China grabs food group". Inside, Nobel laureate economist Michael Spence, chairman of the World Bank Commission on Growth and Development since 2006, warns that "natural resource wealth is volatile and impermanent"; Michaela Whitbourn plays on NSW Premier Barry O'Farrell's appearance with officers at HMAS Sydney in support of arts and culture tourism; and Treasurer Wayne Swan faces the challenge that US and Europe present in returning the budget to surplus.
"In its early days, the Financial Review served the investment community predominantly but gradually broadened its perspective to embrace a suite of issues, including tariff reform and trade practices reform, but also Australia’s need to become more aware of its own region," writes international editor Tony Walker in an editorial titled 'Critical voice in the evolution of modern Australia'. "The newspaper pushed for recognition of China, expressed early scepticism about the Vietnam War and was ahead of its time in acknowledging Japan’s importance to the Australian economy."
Reflections on politics, big business, personal greed, converging technology, economic regulation, energy, tax, and final word from the 'Chanticleer'... the fortunes of the AFR retracted 11.3% on paper last year, but the online paywall looks here to stay and an app is on its way.
Girl With a Satchel