Prior to joining Monash in 2008, his industry roles included Melbourne Editor of the National Times, leader writer at The Age and deputy editor of Time Australia; in television he was Executive Producer of The 7.30 Report (Victoria) and National Editor of The 7.30 Report. Philip’s work as a reporter included time on The Age‘s investigative reporting, feature writing and political teams. He was national and Asia Pacific correspondent for Time Australia, where he reported extensively from Canberra and also covered the stories of hope and despair in the emerging nations and economies of Australia’s neighbours, including the ethnic tensions and violence in places as diverse as Malaysia and New Caledonia.
Philip has won numerous awards as a journalist. These have included a Logie (best TV documentary), a Gold Walkley (best journalism), a Walkley (best application of journalism to the television medium), the Gold UN Media Peace Prize, the Golden Gavel award of the NSW Law Society, four national community television awards, including for best program, and numerous awards for multimedia and web design.
Here are some examples of his best work:
- Chubb, P. Power Failure: The Inside Story of Climate Politics under Rudd and Gillard. Melbourne: Black Inc, 2014.
This book is a major empirical study of climate and energy politics in the years 2007 to 2013. It reveals and analyses key factors, including the mediatisation of politics and the personalisation of leadership, which created a series of fiascos that have arguably left Australia in a reduced position after six years of effort to overcome the obstacles created by Australia’s carbon-intensive economy. The book examines the political strategies of prime ministers Kevin Rudd and Julia Gillard and the tenacity of fossil-fuel interests and their allies in business, politics and the media when their power is challenged. It is a dramatic study of leadership replete with new revelations. Using more than 75 interviews with key figures (including Gillard, Rudd and ministers Wayne Swan, Greg Combet and Penny Wong), freedom-of-information requests and old-fashioned “leaks”, the book provides what has been generally viewed as a persuasive account of success and failure in climate and energy policy, and of the strategies that leaders must use in future. The book was well reviewed.
As veteran political journalist and media scholar Andrew Dodd wrote in Inside Story:
Chubb’s book is unrelenting. I picked it up thinking Labor had good intentions but had messed up the implementation of climate change policy. By the time I put it down I was worn out, close to concluding that Labor was a basket case, a party unable to turn an overwhelming mandate into policy and incapable of ruling itself, let alone standing united against a carping opposition. But this is an important book because it methodically chronicles Labor’s failures and, in the process, serves as a how-not-to manual for anyone interested in social reform.
Power Failure has generated major scholarly and media interest, with extracts published in The Age, The Sydney Morning Herald and The Canberra Times. Australian literary hub The Wheeler Centre spotlighted the book in its Fifth Estate public seminar series, when host Sally Warhaft sought Chubb’s views on Australian leaders’ successes and failures in climate policy – and the strategies they must employ for the future. Chubb and the book featured at the 2014 Melbourne Writers Festival, when Fairfax Media senior reporter Adam Morton interviewed the author. Chubb also discussed Power Failure with ABC radio host Jonathan Green on Radio National Drive, and contributed to national commentary on the topic with the article ‘Carbon Pricing: How Labor Failed the Nation’, published in The Age in July.
- Sturgess, G. and P. Chubb, Judging the World: Law and Politics in the World’s Leading Courts. Sydney: Butterworths, 1988.
Scholarly and popular praise for Judging the World, which examined the relationship between law and politics, centred on its originality, wide sweep and all-embracing grasp of the subject matter. It was launched in Australia by then Governor-General Sir Ninian Stephen, who noted that it proceeded “not by dry dissertation but by the exciting and immensely demanding process of confronting judges worldwide with the problems that lie behind the outwardly serene façade of the justice systems of the world”.
Judges from 17 highest-level national and international courts were interviewed as part of the research process. These included the Supreme Courts of the United States, India and Canada; the High Court of Australia; the Court of Appeal and House of Lords in the United Kingdom; and the European Court of Justice and European Court of Human Rights. Sir Ninian concluded his assessment thus:
The authors modestly describe the book as a work of journalism. What a wonderful world it would be if all journalism reached these heights.
Judging the World has been cited in numerous refereed journals, was extensively reviewed in newspapers and magazines in several countries and gained considerable media attention, attracting astounding coverage in Ireland where it proved controversial. The book also achieved the rare distinction of being referred to in a joint dissenting opinion of Judges Bedjaoui, Ranjeva and Koroma of the International Court of Justice in the Maritime Delimitation and Territorial Questions between Qatar and Bahrain (Qatar v. Bahrain) in 2001.
- Chubb, P. One Destiny! The Federation Story. Melbourne: Global Vision Media, 1997 and 2001.
This vast cross-platform publishing project involved a book, multimedia project and multiple online outcomes. It was highly praised when launched at Old Parliament House, Canberra, by Australian High Court Justice and Governor-General, Sir William Deane. The National Archives was a partner organisation in the project, which developed three separate media outputs:
- A CD-ROM was published by Global Vision Media, Melbourne, in 1997, with a second edition published in 2001. As a ground-breaking, encyclopaedic, multimedia study of the politics of Australian Federation, One Destiny!centred on eight stories and eight pathways to Federation. The CD-ROM utilised the power of new media to tell these stories, including original text and games, contemporary film, music and hundreds of photographs, paintings and drawings from this formative period in Australian history. The Commonwealth, through the Curriculum Corporation, purchased a copy for all 12,000 schools in the country as part of the Discovering Democracy education program. At the centenary of Federation in 2001, the Commonwealth commissioned additional learning activities and purchased a further 12,000 copies of the second edition. Activities were designed to give students an understanding of the reasons for and against Federation, a working vocabulary of political terms and an outline of the processes involved. Each theme had its own slide show and narration by the animated figure of either Henry Parkes or Louisa Lawson, and offered educational activities such as interactive games and source libraries for further exploration. The Centenary Edition also featured extensive, printable teacher notes, a guide to using historical sources, a tools facility so students could take notes and collect material, and a link to the Discovering Democracy website.
- At the same time, Penguin commissioned the preparation of a book, which summarised the CD-ROM: Russell, R. and P. Chubb, One Destiny! The Federation Story, How Australia Became a Nation. Ringwood: Penguin, 1998.
- In 2002, the Commonwealth commissioned an interactive website (http://www1.curriculum.edu.au/ddunits/index.htm) – a further digital gateway to stories of Australian democracy based on the CD-ROM (second edition).
The project reviewed well. Civic Experts Group chair and eminent historian John Hirst wrote:
The One Destiny! CD-ROM is a commemorative Medal for the New Age: A disc which holds the story of our nation’s Foundation. It’s the exciting way to learn how the colonies federated and what sort of nation they made.
Governor-General Sir William Deane said:
The One Destiny! project talks directly to adults and children about issues that concern them but which they often know little about. This project will substantially increase the sum of knowledge in the community about Australia’s history and institutions.
- Chubb, P. and S. Spencer, Labor in Power. ABC TV, Sydney, 1993.
This acclaimed ABC television series, first broadcast in 1993, covered the 10-year rule of Labor in the period 1983 to 1993. The series brilliantly captured the mood of the time and the profound changes that took place. Somewhat prophetically, the series focused on the divisive and factional nature of the Labor Party, illustrated by the tumultuous relationship between Bob Hawke and Paul Keating. Their battle for leadership of the party was both public and personal, and the series captured the intricacies and inner workings of this relationship. The seeds of this leadership crisis are traced back to 1980 and the powerful factions behind the scenes of the party are explored in detail. Featuring more than 120 interviews with cabinet ministers, senior bureaucrats and staff advisers, Labor in Power offers a rare and comprehensive insight into who wields power in Australia, and how.
Chubb conceived the series, drew together and headed the team that produced it, conducted all the interviews and wrote the five one-hour episodes.
The series attracted massive publicity – literally thousands of reviews and general articles – with the consensus being it was a tour de force, arguably the best documentary of its type ever made in Australia. Chubb won a Gold Walkley for Best Journalism of 1993, a Silver Walkley for Best Application of Journalism to the Medium of Television and a Logie for Best Documentary. The series has been used as a text in a number of university political science courses.
Political scientist Robert Manne described the work as a tour de force:
Chubb is essentially a moralist. He has produced a fascinating investigation into the nature (and corruption) of power …
In The Weekend Australian, media columnist Errol Simper noted:
Philip Chubb’s Labor in Power could be the best documentary of its type to be made in this country.
- Chubb, P. Making the Switch. Community TV, Melbourne, 2007.
This was a 26-episode, half-hour television documentary series on practical sustainability produced for Australia’s community TV network (channel 31 in most states). It provided tips and inspiring case studies designed to increase awareness of steps people could take in their day-to-day lives to reduce their carbon footprint. The series went to air on the community network around Australia for six months in 2007 and was seen by up to 100,000 people each week. The series won three Antenna Awards for journalistic excellence, including Best National Program.
Simone Gandur, Director of the Department of Sustainability and Environment, wrote:
Just a short note to commend you formally on Making the Switch. It’s more important than ever that people are empowered with information on the everyday actions they can take to assist with climate change. Philip, I would always be happy to consider any proposal that you have.
- Chubb, P. Future Shots. Community TV, Melbourne, 2009–10.
This was an environmental film challenge for school children designed to encourage them to share their energy saving stories. It ran twice, in 2009 and 2010. Partners included Sustainability Victoria, Melbourne Water, Victoria’s Department of Education, Film Victoria, ANZ, Veolia and others. The challenge was a huge success and in its two years it received 170 entries from 65 schools and a circulation of 750,000. The challenge culminated in awards nights held at the Australian Centre for the Moving Image at Federation Square. Hundreds of excited schoolchildren attended the events on each occasion they were held.
Anita Roper, CEO of Sustainability Victoria, said:
I love Future Shots. The insight it provides into the environmental preoccupations of our children is priceless. Their films are funny and scary and everyone should see them. I take them with me when I give talks to corporates.
- Chubb, P. ‘Earth and Fire: The Struggle for Australia,’ Time Australia, 28 November 1988.
This 25,000-word cover story on the then environment debate was illustrated by famed Australian artist Arthur Boyd. The articles examined the politics of the environment at the national level. The Hawke Labor government had developed an election-winning political strategy addressing the concerns of Australians for the way their environment was being managed. This strategy was successful in the big mainland state capitals, but provoked angry and confused responses in rural and regional Australia. The articles were based on interviews, not just with Prime Minister Bob Hawke and Environment Minister Graham Richardson, but even more notably with local people in areas of Australia as diverse as the Far North Queensland rainforests, Shark Bay in Western Australia, Aboriginal land 1500 kilometres inland from Port Hedland in WA and the Lemonthyme Forest near Launceston in Tasmania. The cover story became a study of the pressures endured by regional and rural Australians as their way of life and sense of home came under unexpected attack. Stories of local heroism in the face of overwhelming odds from Canberra emerged as common.
As artist Boyd wrote:
Philip Chubb saw all the issues with an inner eye.
The cover story won the United Nations Media Peace Gold Prize for 1988.
- Chubb, P. & W. Bacon, ‘Fiery Politics and Extreme Events,’ in E. Eide, R. Kunelius and V. Kumpu (eds), Global Climate – Local Journalisms. Bochum/Freiburg: Projektverlag, 2010.
Having joined the academy, in 2009, Chubb became the Australian representative in a group of 20 international media scholars known as MediaClimate, centred in Scandinavian countries. The network provides comparative, transnational monitoring, analysis and evaluation of how journalism covers climate change in different parts of the globe. The work has been funded by UNESCO and the Norwegian and Finnish governments, and published two books to which Chubb contributed chapters on the Australian experience. Global Climate was the first book.
- Chubb, P. ‘Really, Fundamentally Wrong: Media Coverage of the Business Campaign against the Australian Carbon Tax,’ in E. Eide & R. Kunelius, Media Meets Climate. Gothenburg: Nordicom, 2012, pp. 179–95.
This is the second MediaClimate project so far. The chapter concerned news media representations of the business response to the carbon tax proposals of the Australian Government between February and July 2011. It examined the relationship of this coverage to the United Nations Climate Change Conference held at Durban of the same year.
- Chubb, P. and C, Nash, ‘The Politics of Reporting Climate Change at the Australian Broadcasting Corporation,’ Media International Australia 144 (2012): 37–48.
This cited and peer-reviewed journal article explored the way the ABC covered the tour in 2010 of British climate denier Christopher Monkton. A comparison is made with the national broadcaster’s coverage of the contemporaneous tour of a major American supporter of climate change science, James Hansen. MIA is ranked as a top-tier international academic journal in the ERA rankings.
Philip is also a past-president of the Australian Journalists’ Association (now MEAA) and is an AJA Gold Honour Badge holder.
Since joining Monash, Philip’s work has also included:
- Popular media. Philip has been featured speaking on media and climate change. Outlets have included television, online and print publications.
- Scholarly conferences. He has delivered papers at many national and international conferences studying media and climate change, including conferences in Perth, Aarhus (Denmark), Berlin, Hamburg, Bergen, Cape Town, Hobart, Sydney and others.
- International collaborations. He was the Monash coordinator of a world-first consortium of European and Australian universities collaborating to teach environmental reporting and promote staff and student mobility. The project was called the Global Environmental Journalism Initiative (GEJI) and Monash’s partner universities overseas have been in the UK, Denmark, Finland and Greece.
- He has run workshops for journalists from nine Asian and Pacific countries on climate change coverage and constraints operating in their own countries.
- Teaching collaborations. He has provided input into English language courses on the development of Australian environmentalism and media and climate change at universities in Denmark and Finland. He has also devised and managed online debates between students in Australian and Scandinavia on the subject: media coverage of climate change science. More than 200 students participated in these debates over two years.
- Curriculum Development. He has devised and taught a number of units, including one called Environmental Journalism.. The unit is centred around the reporting of and writing about climate change. He also assists students with opportunities for financially-supported student exchanges with partner universities (UK, Denmark, Finland and Greece).
Vice-president of the Melbourne Press Club.