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  1. #1
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    Vale : Peter Harvey

    Peter Harvey's voice of authority recorded changing times
    March 02, 2013

    Veteran journalist Peter Harvey dies after a long battle with cancer

    Peter Harvey: Newsman and a gentleman

    Peter Harvey, a fixture on Australian TV for 40 years, has died with his family at his bedside. He was 68.
    Source: Supplied

    THE voice of Peter Harvey, that deep baritone that for many Australians embodied authority and integrity, has described many things over the past five decades, from the brutality of war and famine to the cut and thrust of politics and the vanity of celebrity.

    Its owner was the type of reporter who could be relied upon to cover any story at all, a news director's dream who would tackle any issue with the same enthusiasm and professionalism, whatever the topic. And news directors frequently did throw him at anything, including a few years ago the trenches of Sydney Fashion Week and the near open warfare of bitchy designers, stylists and models.

    Harvey took the assignment as he did all others, without taking a backwards step, and his reporting on the premier fashion event - by a journalist who had witnessed the war in Vietnam in the late 1960s - was a highlight of Nine's bulletins that week. His deadpan delivery was the perfect counterpoint to the fashion world as he sliced it apart and served it to viewers. At one stage while waiting for the next catwalk parade, Harvey grabbed a chair for a break, sitting in the middle of a wardrobe area. Surrounded by the frenetic energy of designers and wardrobe assistants and a mob of beautiful and half naked models, Harvey was oblivious to it all.

    With his glasses perched on the end of his nose, the hardened reporter was instead lost in that day's cryptic crossword.

    Peter Harvey, who has died at the age of 68 after a battle with pancreatic cancer, had a career in journalism that would be the envy of any reporter. He was part of a generation of newsmen who travelled the world and made their mark overseas, but who then came home to become one of the most respected and trusted voices in Australian media.

    For many Australian's he was the voice of Canberra. His authoritative sign-off - "Peter Harvey... Canberra" - with its baritone delivery, became so familiar it was impersonated by comedians on the ABC's Late Show. Throughout the Keating and Howard years, Nine's formidable political team of Harvey and Laurie Oakes offered insightful and comprehensive coverage of federal politics and the policies affecting all Australians.

    "Peter Harvey was a fierce competitor when we worked for rival networks, and a valued colleague in the 13 years we were together in the Nine Network's Canberra Bureau," Oakes said.

    "He has been called 'a journalist's journalist' and there was truth in that, but he had the knack of explaining quite complex issues in language everybody could understand.

    "Peter was best known for his time in Canberra, where he covered politics with distinction and earned the respect of politicians from all parties. But he was extraordinarily versatile ... He was a talented broadcaster, able to ad lib material where most of us would need a script.

    "One of the things I most admired about him was the way he mentored younger colleagues. Peter's was a generous spirit. He's a real loss to journalism."

    One of those press gallery colleagues, The Australian's political editor Dennis Shanahan, recalled his first overseas assignment in an age when the press gallery travelled on the Prime Minister's VIP plane on overseas trips.

    "I remember crossing the tarmac at the RAAF base at Fairbairn and thinking how far I had come in my journalistic career," Shanahan said.

    "I mounted the steps behind the legendary Peter Harvey and was surprised to see the RAAF flight attendant come straight up to Peter, give him a bright "welcome aboard Mr Harvey" and usher him to the best seat in the media section. I was gobsmacked as she ducked back quickly and returned with his gin and tonic so that he could relax before take off.

    "I then realised just how much further I had to go with the idea of travelling with Prime Ministers."

    David Hurley, Nine's spokesman and longtime journalist and news executive at the network, described Harvey as "arguably the most versatile journalist ever employed by Nine."

    "He reinforced that point every other day. He covered everything from the Whitlam dismissal to war zones to flower shows and just about everything in between.

    "And every single story attracted his trademark accuracy, his wonderful lyrical scripts, his keen eye for quirky detail - and always , where appropriate , his tinder-dry humour. All delivered in that distinctive rich , burbling stentorian voice which made him an icon."

    Former Nine news director Peter Meakin, who jumped to Seven in the same role, describes Harvey as "a lot more than just that memorable voice".

    "He was a beautiful writer and he had incredible versatility," Meakin said of his former colleague.

    "A highlight every year he was in Canberra was his Autumn leaves report on the Today show, with Peter strolling through liquid ambers in Canberra celebrating the change in season. It became a minor institution, it was lovely.

    "And he was a lovely guy, a very human person. He will be remembered fondly by people on all networks, because he had friends everywhere."

    Nine's current news director Darren Wick said it didn't matter whether the story was a digger killed in Afghanistan or a tour by Lady Gaga, Harvey was "the authoritative voice".

    "There is nobody like him," Wick said. "He's the ultimate figure of integrity and trust for our viewers. He's fifty years of experience... you just can't replace that trust, credibility and that unique ability to tell a story.

    "He's a bloke who knew the right tone and could always find the right words, he had an amazing ability to take something complicated and condense it down to a simple message."

    Harvey started his trade on Sydney's Daily Telegraph where in 1964, aged 19, he won a Walkley Award. He was soon appointed Newsweek Magazine's Sydney correspondent and travelled to South Vietnam for the publication to report on the war there and by 1970 was based in London as a reporter for The Guardian where interviews included the pop artists Andy Warhol.

    Harvey was British reporter of the year in 1973, but returned to Sydney and joined the Nine Network in 1975, the perfect role for a journalist to provide the first draft of history.

    He reported on the November 11, 1975 dismissal of the Whitlam Government and covered federal election campaigns and the travails of prime ministers and opposition leaders. He reported from every continent visited by a serving prime minister, and filed reports from The Great Wall of China to the White House and Ten Downing Street and The Kremlin.

    In 1990 he was Nine's correspondent during the Gulf War and from his base in Saudi Arabia became the only Australian reporter imbedded with American Forces when fighting began. Harvey also reported on the people power revolution in the Philippines that toppled Ferdinand Marcos and elected Cory Aquino.

    Harvey was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer in October last year and announced his condition with typical aplomb.

    "Pardon the pun, but you can't cop this one lying down," he said in a statement. "You have to get up and fight it. I have no intention of going anywhere yet."

    In a piece he wrote for the Australian Women's Weekly in January, he was brutally honest about his situation.

    "I'm not kidding myself about how serious the threat from pancreatic cancer is," he wrote. "It's deadly serious, but I'm spending my time living in the day. Worrying about tomorrow is not only futile, it can steal today from me."

    Peter Harvey is survived by his wife Anne and children Claire and Adam.

  2. #2
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    Published on 2 Mar 2013
    Nine News Melbourne - Peter Harvey Tribute Report [2.03.13]:

    On Saturday, 2nd March 2013 Nine News veteran journalist Peter Harvey sadly passed away from pancreatic cancer at the age of 68.

    R.I.P Peter Harvey (1944 - 2013)

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