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Cover image: A Few Things Before the End by Sean O’Beirne

CRAIG COTTER: Well, obviously Callum Loake as editor, he’s a new cultural fit for us, and we’ve acknowledged that. Callum’s come up from more of a marketing background, communications background, and he’s made a really significant contribution in those areas, with a youth approach and a more aggressive approach —

INTERVIEWER: But that, that’s not —

CRAIG COTTER: Neil, what I’m not denying, and I say this to everyone listening, is that on this occasion he did make an error of judgement in the heat of the moment and a judgement that was not correct.



A NEW generation of a few brave warriors is keeping the Anzac tradition alive in the Middle East, while numbers of Anzac veterans continue to tragically dwindle here at home.

Sun-Mail 24/4


It started TEN minutes late! But now it’s amazing. #dawnservice


CRAIG COTTER: Obviously a lot of people were upset by the graph, and doing a graph, any sort of graph, in any form, showing any projected decline in veteran numbers, living veteran numbers, was obviously not a correctly judged decision. And I think Callum has a lot of reflecting to do, and this has caused him stress, and he and his family have suffered a great deal of stress. But he’s a very talented young man, and while his choice of story on this occasion was poor, I think he will take that on the chin and I think this will be a very significant learning experience for him going forward.


Given your stance perhaps you will be very happy when Australia has become an Islamic republic!
Keith, Wynett

I say to you people that the veterans of Iraq and Afghanistan will continue to march even if no-one comes to see them.

TO THE SUN-MAIL: The Anzac spirit will survive your dishonest, dishonorable, disgraceful attack.
True Blue, Kepp Point


CRAIG COTTER: Well, obviously it was Callum himself who made the decision to run a story like that on the front page, and the editorial, and that was a mistake, and he has come forward and indicated that to the board. But what I would just say, Tony, is that witch-hunts conducted against any one individual seem to me to be pretty unhelpful at this stage.


Incredible to reflect on the amazing history of our country. #dawnservice


TO ‘TRUE BLUE’ (SUN-MAIL 26/4): Isn’t Mr Loake entitled to his opinion? And isn’t the best defence against growing Muslim extremism surely to defend our wonderful diversity?
Robyn, Jerillee


For all those who think it’s a trumpet it is actually called a BUGLE. #dawnservice


THE PRIME MINISTER: Yes, yes I did. And in terms of attacking the Anzac tradition in this country, I was just very surprised that anyone would do that.


CRAIG COTTER: Obviously on the graph, Virginia, we’ve always said that was insensitive and I strongly condemn it, I condemn it in the strongest possible terms, and it’s the sort of thing that should never have even been considered as news.


but you notice no one marches for wars of the nineteenth century

i think that kids should do it even if all the old people are gone because its tradition :)

why do we even have to care about this

is gallipoli even in australia

hey diDo45 we could be being invaded right now and you wouldnt know FAIL


What the minority will never understand is that the Anzac spirit lives on in the hearts and minds of ALL Australians.
Russell, Sinnon Park


INTERVIEWER: So do you know how many Anzac veterans are currently still alive?

CRAIG COTTER: I’m not even going to get into that, Jon. I think it’s offensive to even start to do that sort of calculation, obviously.


INTERVIEWER: Did you think the story was wrong?

THE PRIME MINISTER: Mate, I thought it was disgusting.


this year instead of watching the footy like everyone else I went bowling. you know in respect of the fallen

I think we should have a day for other people not just anzacs

hey I killed some turkish people


Now Mr Loake is being hounded by the media dogs and is pleading to be left alone. Isn’t it time to stop blaming the victim and confront the fact that depression in the workplace is a significant factor in our community?
Heather, Toonang North

Irrespective of what you think about this war, or that war, or any war, Anzac Day is not the time to question the commitment of the individuals who gave their lives and that is where our thoughts should always be.
Colin, Yerrondale


CRAIG COTTER: My point is that obviously Callum is suffering from an illness and this is more an occasion for concern than anything else.


— Pressure has been positive.

— Forced to become more proactive.

— Fresh look at our subscription base.

— Getting out more free copies.

— Finding those high-repeat pick-up spots.

— Out of adversity, that’s when you learn.



He targeted the old. The most vulnerable. And that is what is unforgivable.
Gary, Calabra


CRAIG COTTER: It’s always been pretty obvious to us that there is a line, with respect to our values, and if you work for us, and it becomes apparent that you’ve stepped over that line, then there is no place for you, you will be condemned as is appropriate and you will be removed. And that is our commitment to the community.


There’s always one, isn’t there?
Don, Gap Hill



All enquiries: [email protected]

I understand that the stories and editorial which appeared in the Sun-Mail on Anzac Day, and which were commissioned by me as editor, and for which I take complete and sole responsibility, have caused deep pain and distress to many persons in the community.

Today, I say unequivocally: I am sorry. I apologise for the hurt and distress that I have caused. I apologise to the Australian and New Zealand Army Corps veterans of World War One, World War Two, the Korean War, the Emergency Operation in Malaya, the Vietnam War, the First and Second Iraq Wars, and the War Against Terrorism in Afghanistan. I would also like to additionally apologise to all of their families and loved ones, and to anyone else who was offended or adversely affected by any of the stories that I published. I would also like to apologise to APCP Media Partners and the directors and shareholders of Congon Limited.

I have for some time been suffering from a significant stress and depression-related condition. I am now receiving the appropriate care at the appropriate institutions. I would like to take this opportunity to thank the doctors, nurses and staff at The Groves Private Hospital, who do such a fantastic job and have given me and my family so much wonderful care and are just total professionals.

This has been an important time for me to reflect on what really matters. My wife and my two boys have been incredibly supportive and understanding of me, and if there’s one thing I’ve learned through this whole experience it’s that the most important thing in the world is family.

My dad, who suffered from chronic back pain all his life, taught me to always stand up and admit when I did something wrong. And that is what I have done today. I hope, after an appropriate period, to rejoin the community in a responsible lead role within the news media. But the journey for me now is very much about understanding the past, looking to the future, and healing.


This story is an extract from Sean O’Beirne’s new book A Couple of Things Before the End, published this month by Black Inc.

A Couple of Things Before the End is available now at Readings.