Alan Ramsey

Alan Graham Ramsey (born 3 January 1938) is an Australian columnist and former writer for The Sydney Morning Herald. He first started working in journalism in 1953, for Frank Packer who then owned Sydney's Daily Telegraph. He gained experience working for small newspapers in Mount Isa and Darwin before joining Australian Associated Press. For AAP, Ramsey worked as a correspondent in Port Moresby and London before being appointed as a correspondent to travel with the first contingent of Australian combat troops to Vietnam in 1965. Returning to Australia, he was appointed by The Australian to cover federal politics in Canberra in February 1966.

Alan Ramsey
Born (1938-01-03) 3 January 1938
Laura Tingle
(m. 1980; separated 2012)

During a parliamentary debate in 1971, Ramsey shouted out from the press gallery of the House of Representatives, "You liar!" directed at then Prime Minister, John Gorton. Ramsey has subsequently told how he felt compelled to speak out because Gorton's speech contradicted "one particular crucial part" of what Gorton had said in a prior interview in his office between the two.[1] Hansard faithfully reported his clearly audible interjection which was a blatant breach of parliamentary rules. Realising his error, Ramsey quickly conveyed his gravest apology both to the House and most particularly to the Prime Minister, which apology Gorton graciously accepted while inviting the Labor Party Opposition to withdraw its motion that Ramsey be immediately arrested by the House's Serjeant-at-Arms. [2]

He wrote for a number of other publications before becoming a speechwriter for Australian Labor Party leader Bill Hayden until 1983. He wrote the national politics column for the Sydney Morning Herald from 1986 to 2008. He retired in December 2008. He released a selection of over a decade of opinion pieces for the Herald in his 2009 book A Matter of Opinion. He was a member of the board of the Whitlam Institute but resigned, along with another director, subsequent to the November 2002 forced resignation of founding director Peter Botsman (who had been targeted by fellow director Mark Latham after a falling out between the two).[3]


  1. Attard, Monica. "Alan Ramsay(sic) :: Sunday Profile". ABC Sunday Profile. Australian Broadcasting Corporation. Archived from the original on 3 October 2016. Retrieved 28 August 2016.
  2. "John Gorton: He did it his way" by Ian Hancock's authorised biography.
  3. Ramsey, Alan. "No mercy in this bovver boy's payback". Sydney Morning Herald. Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved 28 August 2016.

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