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No Moore for Sydney

By Jonathan J. Ariel - posted Friday, 3 August 2012

Nominations for the office of Lord Mayor of Sydney will close in just a few days and many Sydneysiders are desperate for a quality candidate to run against the long in the tooth incumbent, Ms Clover Moore.

The fact is Sydney’s Town Hall currently lacks a great deal. It lacks leadership, gravitas, political savvy, administrative skill, the ability to attract business, jobs and tourists, and critically, the skills to connect with a broad section of the community.

Qualities Ita Buttrose, Australia’s first woman of business, has over the decades exhibited time and again.


Below is a speech a great many Sydneysiders would walk over hot coals to hear, but with the clock ticking towards 8th August, the day the door to nominations slams shut, their hope for change in Town Hall is slowly ebbing away. Here it is.

Good evening Ladies and Gentlemen,Who am I? And what am I doing here?

My name is Ita Buttrose and I’d very much like to begin with a little background about myself, before sharing with you what it is that I want to achieve as the Mayor of Sydney.

I started working at The Australian Women’s Weekly as a copy girl at the age of 15.  Over the years I grew into a journalist, editor of the Weekly at the age of 33, publisher, businesswoman and author. Under my editorship, but with a great deal of help from my wonderful team, I made the Weekly, per capita, the highest circulating magazine in the world.

My life in the world of print media included the creation of Cleo, working for Sir Frank Packer and his son, Kerry. They owned Australian Consolidated Press, a huge magazine and television empire.

I became Editor-in-Chief of Rupert Murdoch’s Daily and Sunday Telegraph, making me the first woman to edit a major metropolitan newspaper in Australia. I loved that job: especially the part of the job that required me to stand up to Rupert.


I also had a stint at Fairfax running the Sun Herald. That was not a happy period in my life.

Towards the end of what I call my “print media life”, I published Ita, a magazine for women over 40. Or as we used to say, “for the woman who wasn’t born yesterday”. Regrettably due to my pockets being too shallow to compete with the “big boys” and it’s always the boys, as if you didn’t know, coupled with what in hindsight seems like being ahead of the curve with respect to topics canvassed in the magazine, that venture didn’t last too long.

People over the years stop me and ask ‘Ita are you saddened or depressed by the failure of the magazine”? To which I always reply: “failing isn’t trying and not succeeding. Failure is never trying”.

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About the Author

Jonathan J. Ariel is an economist and financial analyst. He holds a MBA from the Australian Graduate School of Management. He can be contacted at

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