2021 Shortlist

Join us on 14 October for our Awards Fundraiser and hear from a panel of shortlisted journalists and academic & MP Anne Aly.


Open category

ABC 7.30: Alex McDonald, James Elton, Kirsten Robb and Paul Farrell
A team nomination for a portfolio of current affairs programs and online stories that lifted the lid on the conduct of high-profile state and federal government ministers and their roles in awarding hundreds of millions of dollars in government grants, triggering a series of investigations and inquiries.
ABC pages: Alex McDonald | James Elton | Kirsten RobbPaul Farrell
Background Briefing: Alex Mann and Kevin Nguyen
Alex and Kevin were nominated for The Base Tapes: an investigation into the inner workings of an infiltrated neo-Nazi paramilitary group called The Base. The coverage revealed for the first time how The Base’s US leaders actively targeted young Australian men for recruitment.
The Base Tapes
ABC pages: Alex Mann | Kevin Nguyen
Exposed: Caro Meldrum-Hanna, Dunja Karagic, Jaya Balendra, Patrick Begley and Sue Spencer 
A team nomination for this investigation into the fatal 1979 ghost train fire at Sydney's Luna Park, which unearthed troubling new evidence of a coverup and police corruption. The series led the NSW coroner to consider launching a fresh coronial inquest; meanwhile, a police strikeforce has been established to reinvestigate the cause and origin of the fire, with a historic $1 million reward offered. A vote for a special commission of inquiry has also passed the NSW upper house.
Exposed on ABC iView
ABC pages: Caro Meldrum-Hanna | Patrick Begley | Julia Barilla
Christopher Knaus 
A Sydney-based Guardian Australia reporter, Christopher was nominated for his consistent reporting throughout the year on whistleblowers from Bernard Collaery and Witness K to Richard Boyle. 
Christopher's Guardian page
Louise Milligan 
Nominated by Richard Ackland for her "Inside the Canberra Bubble" Four Corners report and the online article that led to Christian Porter's infamous defamation caseLouise is an author and journalist who has won three Walkleys and six Quill awards and  the 2019 Press Freedom Medal. She has reported on the law and crime since the start of her career. 
Louise's bio
Linda Mottram 
Nominated for drawing attention to the plight of translators in Afghanistan, Linda is currently the presenter of ABC radio's current affairs flagship PM. During her 30 year career as an ABC foreign correspondent she covered wars, assassinations, refugee crises, and political upheavals.
Linda's ABC page
Mario Christodoulou 
Mario was nominated for coverage of the death of Tristan Naudi, a 23-year-old chef’s apprentice, who suffocated while being held down by four police officers in Lismore. In his final moments doctors warned he could not breathe.
Mario's ABC page
Paul Gregoire 
Paul is a journalist who writes about social justice issues and infringements upon civil liberties. Currently, he writes for the Sydney Criminal Lawyers website. He was nominated as the 'sole voice telling the stories of the impact of the overreach of terrorism and surveillance powers and the harms caused by aggressive policing' by David Shoebridge MLC.
Paul's Sydney Criminal Lawyers page
Samantha Maiden
A Walkley Award winner for her coverage of federal politics, Samantha is political editor for news.com.au. She was nominated for her exclusive report revealing Brittany Higgins' rape allegation, which dominated the headlines for months and set off multiple inquiries and investigations into workplace culture and mass rallies across Australia.
Samantha's news.com.au page

Young journalists

Amber Schultz
Nominated for her coverage of Australia’s fractured disability support system, Amber is an Associate Editor at Crikey. She has been shortlisted for two Young Walkley Awards and was the 2021 Mumbrella Young Writer of the Year. Her work has seen real impact: within days of publication of a piece about a young woman whose complaint had been ignored, a three-person taskforce was launched to reinvestigate the claims, while the subject of another piece had their stolen funds returned. 
Amber's Crikey page
Kate Allman
Nominated for "consistently endeavouring to engage Australians with deeper issues and the less-reported side of critically important debates", Kate is a multimedia journalist and an Associate Editor at LSJ. Over the year, she covered topics including the plight of gig economy workers; the legality of vaccine mandates; unfair treatment of asylum seekers; the release of the Brereton report and resulting veteran suicides; and a law reform review into potential judicial bias. She also produced a video educating Australians about their rights in a police search.
Kate's LSJ page
Kishor Napier-Raman
Kishor is a federal politics reporter for Crikey, based in the Canberra press gallery. He was nominated for coverage including an in-depth piece on Australia's involvement in the 1973 Pinochet coup - which remains far more opaque than America's, due to ongoing attempts to suppress information. He has also covered the Christian right's attempt to push for the Religious Discrimination Bill and broken numerous stories on the plight of Afghan civilians who helped the ADF and our moral obligation to assist them.
Kishor's Crikey page

The Kafka

  • Anastasia Palaczusck for separating two fully vaccinated parents from their new born baby after an emergency C-section despite negative Covid tests and then tweeting a day later that she would be going to the Tokyo Olympics despite a year long plus travel ban separating Australians from their families overseas.
  • John Barilaro for defamation proceedings and use of Fixated Persons Unit on Friendlyjordies.
  • Alex Hawke, the Minister for Immigration, for his creative defence of the Migration Amendment (Clarifying International Obligations for Removal) Bill 2021. This Bill would give the minister a broad unchallengeable power to withdraw a person’s refugee status recognition and allows the government, where it had cancelled the visa of a refugee but could not send them back to their country of origin because they would face persecution there, to detain them indefinitely. Hawke said “This is an important change which will further improve our ability to ensure that we uphold Australia’s non-refoulement obligations. It is essential that Australia sends a strong message that we are committed to upholding human rights, and that we remain steadfast in our commitment to these treaties and their underlying principles.” Quite some authoritarian spin! 
  • Clubs NSW for demanding via lawyers that an ex-employee whistleblower, facing financial ruin over court costs, stop crowdfunding to finance his court case and return donations already received or face further court action.
  • Commonwealth DPP Sarah McNaughton for diligently pursuing a range of perverse and anti-democratic prosecutions against a range of whistleblowers, including Richard Boyle and Witness K.