Crikey front page from 21 February 2007.
Type of site
Political commentary
FoundedSeptember 1999; 24 years ago (1999-09)
OwnerPrivate Media Pty. Ltd.

Crikey is an Australian online news outlet founded in 1999. It consists of a website and email newsletter available to subscribers.


Stephen Mayne

Crikey was founded by the activist shareholder Stephen Mayne, a journalist and former staffer of then Liberal Victorian premier Jeff Kennett.[1] It developed out of Mayne's "" website, which in turn developed out of his aborted independent candidate campaign for Kennett's seat of Burwood. Longstanding Crikey political commentators/reporters have included the former Liberal insider Christian Kerr (who originally wrote under the pseudonym "Hillary Bray"),[2] Guy Rundle, Charles Richardson, Bernard Keane, Mungo MacCallum and Hugo Kelly.

In 2003, Mayne was forced to sell his house to settle defamation cases brought by the radio presenter Steve Price and the former Labor Party senator Nick Bolkus over false statements published about them by Crikey.[3]

Staff of Treasurer Peter Costello banned Crikey from the 2005, 2006 and 2007 budget 'lock ups' in which financial journalists are shown the federal budget papers some hours in advance so that their publications can report the budget in depth as soon as it is released. The grounds were that Crikey was not considered to be part of the "mainstream media".

Private Media Partners

On 1 February 2005, it was announced that Stephen Mayne had sold Crikey to Private Media Partners, a company owned by the former editor-in-chief of The Sydney Morning Herald, Eric Beecher, for A$1 million. Under the agreement, Mayne has occasionally written for the email newsletter.[4]

Under Private Media Partners' stewardship, the publication had aimed for a more "professional" style by avoiding the use of in-house nicknames and other idiosyncrasies of the original Crikey. In February 2006, The Age reported that a co-founder and writer, Hugo Kelly, had been sacked on the grounds of professional misconduct, but Kelly maintained that Crikey had folded to political pressure and it had "no guts".[5]

In 2022, following a war of words in which Crikey invited media proprietor Lachlan Murdoch to sue, Lachlan Murdoch commenced defamation action against Crikey for an article by Bernard Keane that suggested that "Murdoch" was an “unindicted co-conspirator” in the January 6 United States Capitol attack.[6] On 21 April 2023, Murdoch dropped legal proceedings against Crikey.[7] In response, the chief executive of Private Media which owns Crikey, Will Hayward claimed victory, saying the decision amounted to a "substantial victory for legitimate public interest journalism... We stand by what we published last June, and everything we laid out in our defence to the court. The imputations drawn by Murdoch from that article were ridiculous."[8][9]

See also


  1. ^ "Multimedia Media Exchange" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 26 April 2012.
  2. ^ Brown, Susan (4 July 2004). "Crikey! Name behind column comes clean on dishing dirt". The Age. Melbourne. Retrieved 23 August 2009.
  3. ^ Shiel, Fergus (7 May 2003). "Legal web snares Crikey publisher". The Age. Melbourne. Retrieved 22 August 2009.
  4. ^ Carbone, Suzanne (3 February 2005). "Mayne finds a million reasons to sell". The Age. Melbourne. Retrieved 22 August 2009.
  5. ^ Westerman, Helen; Urban, Rebecca (16 February 2006). "Crikey! You've got to watch what you say". The Age. Melbourne. Retrieved 22 August 2009.
  6. ^ Meade, Amanda (24 August 2022). "Australian media Lachlan Murdoch accuses Australian news site Crikey of using legal threat to attract subscriptions". The Guardian.
  7. ^ Meade, Amanda (21 April 2023). "Lachlan Murdoch drops defamation proceedings against independent Australian publisher Crikey". The Guardian. Retrieved 21 April 2023.
  8. ^ Heath Parkes-Hupton (21 April 2023). "Lachlan Murdoch drops defamation case against Crikey publisher". ABC News Australia. Retrieved 26 April 2023.
  9. ^ Amanda Meade (21 April 2023). "Lachlan Murdoch drops defamation proceedings against independent Australian publisher Crikey". The Guardian. Retrieved 26 April 2023.