About The Walkley Foundation for Journalism

The Walkley Foundation is at the very heart of the Australian media.

A champion of innovation and a respected thought leader, the Walkley Foundation generates vital discussion on the future of our rapidly changing industry and encourages journalism that enriches our communities.

The Walkley Foundation celebrates and encourages great Australian journalism, telling the stories of our nation and strengthening our democracy.

The centrepiece of our work is the Walkley Awards for Excellence in Journalism, which recognise and reward superlative Australian journalism. The awards’ association with the best in corporate Australia goes back to their inception in 1956 by Sir William Gaston Walkley, founder of Ampol Petroleum.

The award-winning stories, photographs and artwork have chronicled Australia’s people and events for nearly 60 years. To continue this crucial work, the Walkley Foundation, a non-profit company, needs the support of those like Bill Walkley who want to be associated with the best.

The annual Walkley Awards Gala Dinner is the Australian media’s night of nights, broadcast nationally. It’s a glittering black-tie event where Australia’s media stars mix with business and political leaders to celebrate outstanding achievement.

The Walkley Foundation hosts an exciting, year-round program of industry and public events, innovation showcases, training sessions and awards. It provides training for young journalists and anyone wanting to update their skills.

It publishes The Walkley Magazine, Australia’s leading media industry publication, and advocates vigorously for press freedom here and around the world, because a free press is a cornerstone of democracy and human rights.

Our Directors

Christopher Warren Avatar

Christopher Warren

Christopher Warren is a leading expert on the media and arts industries. As federal secretary of the Australasian professional association and trade union, the Media, Entertainment & Arts Alliance (MEAA) he writes extensively on freedom of expression for authors and creators and is a strong supporter of the development of long-form journalism.

Chris began his career at The Sydney Morning Herald. He is CEO of the Walkley Foundation and trustee of the $3 billion industry Media Super fund. He is immediate past president of the International Federation of Journalists.

Stuart Washington Avatar

Stuart Washington

Stuart Washington has reported from New York, Singapore and Cambodia in a career kickstarted as a police reporter for the Newcastle Herald. Award-winning work has included a lengthy pursuit of the villains at the centre of Australia’s largest superannuation theft and a feature that presaged the global financial crisis. The quality of his work has been recognised with a Knight Bagehot fellowship, giving him a one-year sabbatical at Columbia University. The period in New York allowed him access to some of the key characters in the GFC, and a unique perspective as a reporter.

Stuart is currently an investigations reporter for The Sydney Morning Herald.

Philippa McDonald Avatar

Philippa McDonald

Philippa is a senior reporter at ABC news and a national vice-president of the Media, Entertainment and Arts Alliance (MEAA). While Philippa is responsible for reporting major stories for ABC news in Australia from her base in Sydney, she has also reported for the ABC from New Zealand, the Pacific, India, China and throughout South East Asia. While she is currently primarily a news reporter at the ABC, Philippa has also worked across most of the ABC’s news and current affairs programs. 

Philippa has served on the ABC’s house committee and has been a strong voice for journalists during the recent consultation on “the Newsgathering Project” and she continues to advocate for journalists.

Gina McColl Avatar

Gina McColl

Gina McColl is a senior journalist and editor at The Age, with particular interests in policy, arts, culture, social trends and consumer issues.

Previously at BRW for 13 years, where she edited flagship issues and brw.com.au, Gina has been vice-president of the Media section of MEAA since 2007.

Quentin Dempster AM Avatar

Quentin Dempster AM

Quentin Dempster, 63, is a broadcaster, journalist and author with extensive experience in television and print. He is the current presenter of ABC 7.30 NSW. He started work as a cadet journalist on The Maryborough Chronicle, a Queensland regional daily, and moved to The Telegraph, a Brisbane afternoon daily where after police, courts and industrial rounds he became chief political reporter and columnist. He was Queensland president of the Australian Journalists’ Association from 1975 to 1984 and was awarded the AJA’s Gold Honour Badge for meritorious service in 1982. He joined the ABC in 1984.

Quentin is the author of several books: Honest Cops (1992 ABC Books), Whistleblowers (1997 ABC Books) and Death Struggle (2000 Allen and Unwin). On Australia Day 1992, Quentin was awarded the Order of Australia for services to the media, “particularly in the fields of journalism and current affairs”. In November 2002 he was honoured with a Walkley Award for the “outstanding contribution to journalism”. Quentin was a member of the Walkley Advisory Board from 2004 to 2010 and served as chairman from 2009-2010. He has also chaired the documentary judging panel for the Walkleys since its inception in 2011.

In 2014 he returned as chairman of the board. Quentin is married with two children and lives in Sydney.

Laurie Oakes Avatar

Laurie Oakes

Laurie Oakes is one of Australia’s foremost political commentators with a distinguished career in journalism that spans more than 30 years. His incisive political commentary and news-breaking ability has earned him the respect of peers and politicians alike. Renowned for his probing interviews and Canberra-shaking scoops, in 1997 he broke the travel rorts saga that ended the careers of three ministers and government staffers. In 2010 Laurie won the Gold Walkley and also the Walkley for Television Reporting for his coverage of Labor’s leaks during the election that year. In 1998 he won the Walkley Award for Journalistic Leadership.

Laurie graduated from Sydney University in 1963 with a Bachelor of Arts degree, joined The Daily Mirror the following year and in 1965 became state political roundsman. By the age of 25, he was Canberra bureau chief for The Melbourne Sun-Pictorial and provided political commentaries for the Seven Network’s Willesee at Seven. In 1978, Laurie started his own political journal, The Laurie Oakes Report. The following year he joined Network Ten, where he stayed for five years before moving to the Nine Network. For several years Oakes wrote about politics in The Age in Melbourne and The Sunday Telegraph in Sydney and provided political reports and commentaries to several radio stations. Today, he files reports for Nine News and Today and has become a highly regarded political author for his biography of Gough Whitlam.