Laurie Oakes (born 14 August 1943 in Newcastle, New South Wales) is a retired Australian journalist. He worked in the Canberra Press Gallery from 1969 to 2017, covering the Parliament of Australia and federal elections for print, radio, and television.
Oakes in 2014
|Born||14 August 1943|
Newcastle, New South Wales, Australia
|Occupation||Retired Journalist and Author|
|Years active||1969 - 2017|
Oakes was born in Newcastle, New South Wales, the son of Wes and Hazel Oakes. His father worked for BHP as an accountant. When Oakes was six years old, his father was transferred to Cockatoo Island, a small island off the coast of Derby, Western Australia, where there was an iron ore mine. He began his schooling at a one-teacher school with only 20–30 children. Oakes later moved back to New South Wales and attended Lithgow High School. He graduated in 1964 from the University of Sydney while working part-time with the Sydney Daily Mirror.
At the age of 25 he was the Melbourne Sun's Canberra Bureau Chief and while working for that paper he began providing political commentaries for the TV program, Willesee at Seven. In 1978 he began The Laurie Oakes Report, a televised political journal. In 1979 he joined Network Ten and worked there for five years. He has since written about politics for The Age in Melbourne and the Sunday Telegraph in Sydney. He commentated for several radio stations.
In 1980 he obtained a draft copy of the Australian federal budget, before it was delivered in Parliament.
In 1997, Oakes used leaked documents to report on abuse of parliamentary travel expenses, which ended the careers of three ministers, several other politicians and some of their staff. More recently he used leaked documents showing the Rudd Government ignored warnings from four key departments about its Fuelwatch scheme.
Oakes has been a weekly contributor to various Publishing and Broadcasting Limited (PBL) owned media outlets, including the former Channel 9 television program, Sunday. He has also been a regular reporter for Nine News. He wrote a weekly column for The Bulletin magazine until it ceased publication in January, 2008. Oakes now writes for news.com.au publications.
He announced his retirement date as 18 August 2017.
In a 2004 interview, Oakes said: "My personal politics are pretty much in the middle, I would think. I've voted both ways at various times. I don't know if perceptions about my politics influence whether people will be interviewed. [Paul] Keating used to boycott the program every now and again; not because he thought I was a Liberal but because he thought I wouldn't toe the line. Paul believed in rewards and punishment."
In 1998 Oakes won the Walkley Award for journalistic leadership, and again in 2001 for television news reporting. He claimed the Gold Walkley in 2010 for his reporting of Labor leaks during the federal election campaign. In 2010, Oakes won the Graham Perkin Australian Journalist of the Year award.
- Oakes, Laurie; Solomon, David, 1938- (1973). The Making of an Australian Prime Minister. Melbourne Cheshire. ISBN 978-0-7015-1711-3.
- Oakes, Laurie (1973). Whitlam PM : a biography. Angus & Robertson. ISBN 978-0-207-13015-1.
- Oakes, Laurie; Solomon, David, 1938- (1974). Grab for power : election 74. Cheshire. ISBN 978-0-7015-2046-5.
- Oakes, Laurie (1976). Crash through or crash : the unmaking of a Prime Minister. Richmond, Vic. Drummond. ISBN 978-0-909081-07-2.
- Oakes, Laurie (1984). How will I vote? : your guide to politics and government in Australia. Dove Communications. ISBN 978-0-85924-353-7.
- Oakes, Laurie (2008). Power plays : the real stories of Australian politics. Hachette Australia. ISBN 978-0-7336-2365-3.
- Oakes, Laurie (2010). On the record : politics, politicians and power (1st ed.). Hachette Australia. ISBN 978-0-7336-2700-2.
- Oakes, Laurie (2013). Remarkable times : Australian politics 2010-13 : what really happened. Sydney, N.S.W. Hachette Australia. ISBN 978-0-7336-3197-9.
- Laurie Oakes reflects on 50 years of Australian political journalism, In the Black, 1 March 2016. Retrieved 8 November 2017.
- Williams, Brett (December 2009). "To live and breathe politics" (PDF). Police Journal. Police Association of South Australia: 26–27, 47. Retrieved 18 May 2012.
- "2010-2013: A unique time in politics". 702 ABC Sydney. Retrieved 4 November 2013.
- "Laurie Oakes - Political Editor". 9 News. ninemsn. Archived from the original on 9 September 2010. Retrieved 23 February 2010.
- Grattan, Michelle (19 August 1980). "Government orders Budget leak inquiry". The Age. Google News Archive. p. 1. Archived from the original on 24 January 2013. Retrieved 23 February 2010.
- Farr, Malcolm; Watts, Bradd (23 June 2008). "Federal police hunt for Laurie Oakes fuel leak source". Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 23 February 2010.
- "9News - Latest news and headlines from Australia and the world". www.9news.com.au. Retrieved 3 August 2017.
- "Laurie Oakes - Opinions and Comments - Herald Sun". www.heraldsun.com.au. Retrieved 3 August 2017.
- Carmody, Broede (3 August 2017). "Laurie Oakes, veteran political journalist, retires aged 73". Retrieved 3 August 2017 – via The Sydney Morning Herald.
- Steve Dow (2 October 2005). "Interview with Laurie Oakes". Sydney journalist
- "Laurie Oakes wins the Gold Walkley". The Spy Report. Media Spy. 10 December 2010. Archived from the original on 14 December 2010. Retrieved 10 December 2010.
- Publisher, Master. "Graham Perkin Australian Journalist of the Year honour roll - Melbourne Press Club". www.melbournepressclub.com. Retrieved 26 July 2018.
- Meade, Amanda (18 April 2011). "'Chuffed' Oakes to be inducted into the Logies hall of Fame". The Australian. Retrieved 1 May 2011.
- Nic Christensen (12 August 2011). "Laurie Oakes to present Andrew Olle lecture". The Australian.