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Why Laurie Oakes called Julia Gillard a ‘pygmy’ at last night’s Walkey Awards


Last night, at the 55th Annual Walkley Awards, veteran television political reporter Laurie Oakes was honoured with the award for the most outstanding piece of journalism for his coverage of the Labor leaks during the federal election campaign.

In addition to calling Prime Minister Julia Gillard’s stance on WikiLeaks “ridiculous”, he also posed the question, with typical dry humour, “When did ‘leak’ become a four letter word?”

When talking about the event that scored him the award, the Nine Network Canberra press gallery journalist said:

“The leaks that made this story possible didn’t dominate the campaign, but they played a very big role in the campaign.

“I don’t think they should’ve.

“[But] there was nothing else, there were no issues, there was no policy inspiration, there were no ideas.

“We had two parties led by two political pygmies.”

Kerry O’Brien, who presented his final The 7.30 Report program after 15 years last night, won the Walkley for journalistic leadership.

Shirley Shackleton, a widow of one of the Balibo Five, won the Walkley Book Award for The Circle of Silence: A Personal Testimony Before, During and After Balibo.

More about the Walkley Awards.