He was best known to most people, other than Fremantle Dockers supporters, as a political writer for The Australian. His blog posts and "Sketch" pieces were masterpieces of astute, but not often savage, observation of the quirkiness of politicians, and sometimes others. This from December last year is a favourite of mine, while this from just two months ago is another.
His obituary appears in today's Australian . The online version includes links to some of his pieces, including another favourite of mine, a description of his meeting with Bob Dylan .
To finish, a quote from a more reflective piece :
...it's simply impossible to dwell on the minutiae of politics or much else when the fragility and caprice of life comes along to kick you square in the solar plexus.
I've been reading more of Matt's columns and blog posts (once I start it's hard to stop). Here are a couple of other pieces.
This criticises criminal investigation methods in Perth (but the general points are surely applicable to other towns and cities).
This describes some predictions of his, eg that Kevin Rudd was foolish to challenge Kym Beazley for the ALP leadership last year, which left him with egg on his face. Extract:
Unkind readers will be able to produce a much longer litany of silly things spouted in this space: the aforementioned bung predictions were simply plucked off the top of my head. Perhaps I’ve got a few things right, too. Surely not.
That’s the fun and privilege of being a paid know-all. Were your local MP prone to get things wrong as often as your average pundit, they would quickly be hounded out of public life.
There are all sorts of columns and columnists: thought-provoking, pointy-headed, partisan, quirky, authoritative, evangelical, clever, barracking, specialised, cautious, outrageous, inspiring, weighty, humorous, hectoring, provocative, shambolic, mocking, rambling, reactionary, personal, predictable, self-indulgent, angry, moving, pointless, profound, insightful, balanced, persuasive, strident, nitpicking, satirical, outlandish and downright boring. I’ll leave it to you to categorise these scribblings but, in case you’re interested, I’m content with the small but sweet victory of readers starting at the headline and staying through until the final sentence.What more could any writer (or blogger), no matter which of the above words might apply to their work, wish for?