Annual awards

Since 2019 we have recognised journalists working in Australia who produce excellent work promoting civil liberties and holding governments to account. Each year the awards are announced at our gala Annual Dinner.

This year entries close on 20 August 2023. Please include PDF copies of print articles you would like the judges to consider. Links to podcasts etc will also be helpful.

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, documentary film 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 


Nino Bucci & Christopher Knaus - This series of stories detailed officials from the Department of Home Affairs demanding independent researchers alter a report critical of counterterrorism powers. The powers allow individuals to be imprisoned for a crime they had not committed. The series detailed the government's attempts to cover the report up.

 Eden Gillespie - Eden broke the news that Brisbane Watchhouse officers were consistently racist and sexist which forced the Queensland government to investigate. Eden paid tribute to the bravery of officer Steven Marshall and said whistleblowers, including journalists, need protection and have the right to protect their sources.

 Peter Dutton - extraordinary skill and commitment to spread misinformation and disinformation for his own political purpose and advancement. His masterful use of deliberate fear mongering and the age old tactic of a flat out lie saw Mr Dutton rocket to the top of the judges list this year.


Michael Roddan - nominated for his detailed examination of the politics underpinning attacks on state-based integrity commissions in South Australian and Queensland and then moving to examine what was happening at that time in the federal sphere. Over a series of six articles Michael undertook a forensic investigation that involved speaking with a wide range of sources drilling down into the politics driving the responses to integrity in each of these jurisdictions. 

Amber Schultz wrote a series of fourteen stories for Crikey on the role of the public trustee and guardianship arrangements across a number of states. This  powerful set of stories involved serious, forensic research which unveiled multiple problems with the public trustee. Amber said it was very rewarding to speak to a community of vulnerable people and be able to expose the systematic wrongs happening to older people within this group. 

Former prime minister Scott Morrison for the most cynical and hypocritical political play for 2022 (& perhaps more). The pressure placed on public servants to leak the story of an ongoing turn back of a boat from Sri Lanka broke caretaker convention is a tawdry act earning Mr Morrison the 2022 Kafka Award.

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]. Attach articles as PDF documents. Please make sure you tell us which category you are entering/nominating.  This year nominations close at 11.59pm on 20 August, 2023! Watch our news page for more.