Peter Fray is the founder and editor-in-chief of PolitiFact Australia, an adjunct professor in media and politics at Sydney University and the former editor or editor-in-chief of the Sydney Morning Herald, The Canberra Times and The Sunday Age. He is also the former publisher of the Herald and The Sun-Herald, a non-executive board director of Choice and an adviser to the Australian Literacy and Numeracy Foundation and Macleay College journalism school. He produces theatre (The Hansard Monologues; The Blue Angel Hotel) and is hatching new projects in both the new and 'old' media space. Over a 30-year journalism career he has been a deputy editor, news editor, foreign correspondent, political reporter, religious affairs writer, features editor, gossip columnist and rural reporter. He is a performed playwright and co-author of the non-fiction book, The Vanishing Continent, Australia’s Degraded Environment. He is a member of the Australian Institute of Company Directors. PolitiFact Australia is the realisation of a long-held ambition to bring fact-checking to Australia.
The latest Truth-O-Meter items from Peter Fray
"With such a regulatory superstructure, it’s hardly surprising that Australia’s ranking in the World Economic Forum’s global competitiveness index has fallen from 12th to 21st; and that [the] ranking for government regulation has fallen... from 68th to 128th over the past six years."
Recent stories from Peter FrayThe art of promise stretching: are we being served?
Multi-year spending promises have become a fixture of public debate. It's easy to see why: making a "$10 billion promise" (realised over 10 years) sounds more impressive than promising to spend $1bn a year over the next decade. A related trend is to push promises — and the bulk of the proposed spending — out beyond the election and budget cycle. For instance, the Coalition has (now, at least) committed to the new school spending deal over four years; the previous government promised six. But are these deep horizon promises serving the interests of voters? Do they understand what's being promised and when it will be delivered? And are journalists asking the right questions? We asked media and political scholar Rod Tiffen to examine the issue — and suggest how journalists might improve the situation. The unity ticket that never was
Christopher Pyne turned the government’s "be neither seen nor heard" media strategy on its head this week, appearing on what seemed like every radio station and television program in the country. Deals Pyne previously said he would honour will now be renegotiated – he described them as "inequitable", "incomprehensible", "over-regulated" and "not legally binding". We've given him a Full Flop. But there's a bit more to be said. Mailbag: new parliament, old debates and a diplomatic rift
Ring the bells (or perhaps the alarm) - the 44th parliament is underway! Bronwyn Bishop is getting comfy in the speaker’s chair, Section 94A is getting its requisite workout, and the witty repartee is flowing fast across the chamber. Repealing the carbon tax, turning back the boats and raising the debt ceiling have been high on the government’s agenda, but it has all been somewhat overshadowed by revelations of Australia’s spying activity on our northerly neighbour Indonesia. There was still time for some old debates, however. This is what you've been telling us.A short (ish) history of carbon wrangling: part 1
If the government abolishes the carbon price, as it wants to do before Christmas, it will make Australia the only jurisdiction in the world to have dismantled a carbon market. It would also bring about the end of an extraordinarily policy journey; from a bipartisan commitment to an emissions trading scheme in 2007 to the cutting room floor of 2013. Unsurprisingly, the carbon price has been one of the most fact-checked subjects in PolitiFact Australia’s short history. Our work might help put the coming days into some perspective.Farewell to the comeback kid: Rudd's hits and misses
For some in the parliamentary press corps it may well be a case of ‘so long, and thanks for all the leaks’. But when an emotional Kevin Rudd announced his retirement from politics yesterday we suspect few could honestly say they didn’t feel the paradigm shift. Rudd has been a momentous figure in Australian politics — even when he wasn’t the prime minister, he was often the story. Today we say farewell to the twice-blessed Kevin the only way we know how.Mailbag: Fires, female representation and the forty-fourth parliament
Get your popcorn: Australia’s 44th parliament kicks off on November 12. We look forward to it. Here's a PolitiFact Mailbag to tide you over as we prepare to separate the facts from the spin in post-new-paradigm Australia.Chatter about climate change: we are not home alone
The New South Wales bushfires have ignited, so to speak, new chatter about the nature of climate change and what we should do about it. Chatter seems more apt a term than debate or discussion because, as is custom, the focus has been on moralising and misrepresenting, rather than dealing with the facts. We looked at a recent example here. By way of perspective and comparison, we thought it useful to see how the Truth-O-Meter in the US is faring with the same issues. An Abbott-inspired outbreak of truth? We had a look
PolitiFact doesn’t seek to answer the question, ‘which side of politics lies more?’, but from time to time we do like to monitor the truth. With the election done and dusted (aside from seats won by the Palmer United Party) we thought it useful to compare Truth-O-Meter results pre- and post- election. Immediately after the US presidential election in 2012, PolitiFact US noted an outbreak of truth. Has the same trend happened here?Boats, sex and carbon tax: what you're telling us
Many thanks for your comments and feedback on social media and email. Here’s a quick selection from our latest e-mailbag. There’s been plenty of comments about the new government and its plans and not much — not yet, anyway — about the new Labor leader and his team. Hopefully that will change: aren’t we all a bit tired about hearing about Kevin Rudd and Julia Gillard? Obviously we need to get fact-checking on the new opposition.Welcome Bill, here's what you said, now what will you do?
Only time will tell whether Bill Shorten lives up to his promise not to be relentlessly negative as opposition leader. His statement of positive intent recalled that of then prime minister Julia Gillard at the beginning of the previous parliament: "This term of parliament is not an opportunity to re-fight the election, vote after vote, bill after bill," she said. "This is a time for consensus not confrontation, debate not destruction." We know how well that turned out. But let’s not be relentlessly negative. By way of welcome, we thought it useful to revisit how we’ve rated Shorten over the past few months.
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PolitiFact Australia wants to help keep our politicians honest. We fact-check the accuracy of claims by elected officials and other influential people in the Australian political debate.
We research and rate statements with our Truth-O-Meter. Its goal is to reflect the relative accuracy of a statement. The meter has six ratings, in decreasing level of truthfulness:
TRUE - The statement is accurate and there's nothing significant missing.
MOSTLY TRUE - The statement is accurate but needs clarification or additional information.
HALF TRUE - The statement is partially accurate but leaves out important details or takes things out of context.
MOSTLY FALSE - The statement contains an element of truth but ignores critical facts that would give a different impression.
FALSE - The statement is not accurate.
PANTS ON FIRE - The statement is not accurate and makes a ridiculous claim.