Annual awards

Since 2019 we have recognised Australian journalists who produce excellent work that promotes civil liberties and holds governments to account.

In evaluating nominations our judges consider:

  • The origins and development of the story
    (was it an exclusive, did it bring to light new information or a new viewpoint?)
  • The resources available in developing the story
  • Research and creativity applied in developing the story
  • Accuracy, balance and an ethical approach
  • The quality of writing, verbal communication and/or technical and production skill
  • Public impact or benefit of the story
Eligibility criteria
  • Open to an article or series of articles, or a radio, television or podcast presentation, promoting civil liberties
  • Nominations must have been published or broadcast in Australia between 1 July and 30 June for the relevant year
  • For the young journalists category, the journalist must turn 30 after 30 June of the year of the award

Following the success of our journalism awards, in 2021 we introduced a new award:

  • The Kafka award for the most egregious public statements or acts offensive to civil liberties and human rights. This could recognise the year's most cruel and inhuman government act of the year; the most authoritarian political leader of the year; or indeed the most unhelpful media commentary by a public figure.

Previous winners


Open category

Young journalists

The Kafka 

2021 Paul Gregoire - 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.
View the full 2021 shortlist
Kate Allman - nominated for 'consistently endeavouring to engage Australians with deeper issues and the less-reported side of critically important debates'. Clubs NSW for demanding via their lawyers that an ex-employee whistleblower facing financial ruin over court costs stop crowd funding to finance his court case and return donations already received - or face further court action. 

Kate McClymont and Jacqueline Maley of the Sydney Morning Herald for their piece on the Dyson Heydon affair

Luke Henriques-Gomes of the Guardian for his series on the Robodebt debacle 

2020 shortlist:

  • Kate Allman
  • Osman Faruqi
  • Hannah Ryan
  • Pallavi Singhal + Angus Thompson
  • The Wigs

Richard Ackland whose commentary on human rights and civil liberties over many years has been consistently marked by knowledge, dry wit, and style

Paul Farrell for his investigative work over several years with The Guardian, Buzz Feed, and ABC 7:30, especially his treatment of civil libertarian issues

2019 shortlist:

  • Kate Allman
  • Steve Cannane
  • Paul Farrell, 
  • Bernard Keane
  • Laura Murphy-Oates



Submissions for all our awards should be made to [email protected]. This year nominations close at 11.59pm on 15 July, 2022! Watch our news page for more.