Publisher ACM has launched an election newsletter with a difference - The Echidna.
With its tagline "Sharp and close to the ground", The Echidna will be the refreshing start to the day for keen election watchers and also for those weary of the same old, same old of politics.
Published each weekday morning, the newsletter will feature the wit and insight of celebrated Australian writer Garry Linnell and the whimsical cartoons of Fiona Katauskas.
Linnell is a Walkley-award winner and former editor of The Bulletin and the Daily Telegraph, editorial director for Fairfax and he has also been a successful commercial radio host.
These days a fulltime author, Linnell has jumped at the chance to return to daily writing.
As he tells it, election campaigns can be a drag. That is, unless you lean in on the daily stunts, outlandish campaign promises and those unpredictable moments of absurdity.
"In the past couple of years we've had to cope with a global pandemic, the effects of global warming and a Russian president with global ambitions," Linnell said.
"And now they're inflicting a federal election campaign on us?
"The echidna is a pretty unconventional animal and we aim to be the same. We plan to make you smile - but we also want to make you think."
Joining Linnell is freelance cartoonist Katauskas, whose work has been published in leading publications around the country.
Katauskas has been a Walkley Awards finalist and her work frequently appears in the Behind the Lines exhibition of Australia's best political cartoons.
A keen political observer, Katauskas is excited by the chance to occupy a place in subscribers' daily routines - and hopes to enjoy some back-and-forth with newsletter readers.
"With all the fat cats, dog whistles and general monkey business, election campaigns can be pretty beastly affairs," Katauskas said.
"But if you're after a bit of spiky to keep you in the picture (drawn with a quill pen!) then The Echidna is the only political animal you need."
As well as Linnell and Katauskas' take on the quirky of the campaign, the newsletter will provide readers with "need to know" stories from the political trail.
ACM's editorial director Rod Quinn said the Canberra federal political team would take readers of The Echidna right to the heart of the election contest.
"Our chief political correspondent Karen Barlow leads an outstanding team of 10 reporters and analysts in Canberra. We will be following the key players around the country and exposing, analysing and explaining the policies, the posturing and the pork-barrelling.
"We will also be aiming for those exclusive stories that will make the ACM network and our mastheads such as The Canberra Times, the Newcastle Herald and The Examiner in Launceston a must-read during the campaign."
"More than 7000 of our readers responded to our recent election survey to tell us the issues that are important to them. Our team will be pursuing those issues with candidates and leaders on behalf of ACM's constituents - the people of regional Australia.
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