"Tony couldn't seem to get the idea that a feature for <em>The Bulletin</em> had to be fair and balanced".

"Tony couldn't seem to get the idea that a feature for The Bulletin had to be fair and balanced". Photo: Getty Images

Prime Minister Tony Abbott may be the most famous of the old alumni who will gather with Rupert Murdoch on Tuesday night to mark the 50th anniversary of The Australian.

Mr Abbott will attend in his capacity as Prime Minister but the newspaper has proudly and often claimed him as one of their own.

In fact, he only arrived at The Australian after encountering problems as a feature writer with the Packer-owned magazine The Bulletin.

Mr Abbott's misadventures with a typewriter came to a head in 1988 when his editor, David Dale, asked him to rewrite an article five times.

"Tony couldn't seem to get the idea that a feature for The Bulletin had to be fair and balanced," Dale said on Monday. "I told him if he kept going like that he had no future on the magazine."

Mr Abbott went on to work briefly in a concrete factory before joining The Australian as an editorial writer.

On Tuesday night – the 50th anniversary of the first issue – Mr Abbott and Opposition Leader Bill Shorten will join hundreds of Murdoch favourites, editorial executives, past and present management, and Australians from politics, business, the arts, education, sport and indigenous affairs at a celebratory dinner at Sydney's Hordern Pavilion.

The newspaper started cheering its golden jubilee on April 2 with the words: "The Australian launched on Wednesday, 15 July, 1964, with Rupert Murdoch promising it would be a newspaper of impartial information and independent thinking; tied to no party and to no state, only guided by its faith in Australia and the country’s future.

"Fifty years later, The Australian continues to deliver on this promise. It reports fearlessly, holds governments and institutions to account, and has consistently argued for big policy changes whose implementation have benefited the nation, and its people, enormously."

For past and present editorial and advertising staff at The Australian who were not invited to the Hordern Pavilion dinner, the company plans a finger food celebration at Paddington Town Hall on July 26.