Barrie Cassidy Leaves Insiders – Receives Lifetime Achievement Award
Acclaimed ABC journalist Barrie Cassidy has revealed he will step down from presenting Insiders in June, but will continue to contribute to the ABC. He made his announcement at tonight’s Quill Awards for Excellence in Journalism while accepting the Melbourne Press Club’s Lifetime Achievement Award.
Cassidy helped create the flagship political discussion program and has hosted it since its first episode in July 2001.
“I have genuinely loved every minute of Insiders and have always admired and respected the panelists I’ve worked with, and all those on staff who made it happen,” Cassidy says. “I’ll be here for the federal election before leaving Insiders in June. I then plan to take a break and reboot later in the year.
“I’ll continue to contribute to the ABC – hopefully in quite a substantial way — but recently I’ve come to the view that while I’m at Insiders I’ll never really know precisely what that might be. And I do want to do other things before I run out of motivation and energy.”
Director, ABC NEWS, Gaven Morris said, “I’ve worked with Barrie for over 20 years and his hunger for new ideas and to always push the act along has never waned. It says a lot that in its 18th year Insiders remains the must-see political program of the week and Australia’s most watched morning show.
“Barrie is straight up and down, honest and thoroughly decent. It has been a privilege and a pleasure to have him at Insiders. While we’ll miss him in that post, he’ll continue to make an important contribution to ABC NEWS.
“In the meantime, he’ll play an integral role in our coverage of the upcoming federal election – which will be the 14th federal campaign Barrie has covered, starting in 1977. And we’ll now begin the process to fill his very large boots.”
The Melbourne Press Club Board was unanimous in its decision to award Cassidy the 2018 Lifetime Achievement award “in recognition of his outstanding contribution to Australian political journalism”.
“Barrie is one of the finest reporters and broadcasters of his generation,” said MPC Chief Executive Mark Baker. “His work on Insiders has transformed the landscape of political journalism.”
Cassidy said he was “genuinely thrilled” to be given the honour.
“Other political reporters like Laurie Oakes, Michelle Grattan and Nikki Savva have won it so I’m humbled and stoked to be in that company,” he said. “And I’m very conscious of the fact that I’m the first person from the ABC to win it.”
Accolades for Cassidy included praise from former Prime Ministers Bob Hawke, for whom Cassidy was media advisor from 1986-91, and John Howard, who was the guest on Insiders’ first episode.
Bob Hawke: “He’s even-handed and that’s what I like about him more than anything, I think. I’d say, well done son, you’ve been an outstanding member of the ABC team.”
John Howard: “Barrie Cassidy has been an enduring part of Canberra journalism for as long as I can remember. I enjoyed being interviewed by him. A true professional. He always does his homework.”
Laura Tingle: “The short Barrie compliment is one that you crave, and I value that more than I value so many other compliments because this is a man who knows politics.”
Kerry O’Brien: “When we started the national 7.30 Report back in 1995 there was only one choice for our Political Editor and that was Barrie Cassidy. Same story with Insiders… It’s now the undisputed go-to program for political discourse in this nation.”
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