ABC Insiders host Barrie Cassidy announces retirement at Melbourne Quill Awards

Barrie Cassidy, the host of ABC Insiders, is to step down from the program after 18 years as the show’s face.

Cassidy made the announcement after he received the Melbourne Press Club’s Lifetime Achievement prize at the MPC’s annual Quill Awards.


Cassidy’s award came ahead of Anthony Dowsley and Patrick Carlyon of Melbourne’s Herald Sun winning the 2018 Gold Quill for their coverage of the Lawyer X scandal involving Victoria Police and their misuse of informers to convict organised crime figures.

In awarding the Gold Quill to Dowsley and Carlyon, the judges said their work “exemplifies the very best of modern-day journalism.

“The journalists’ tenacity helped overcome many often expensive legal obstacles before they laid out a complex trail of deceit in an engrossing and powerful narrative.”

In accepting his award, Cassidy said will remain with the program until June and continue to work with the ABC: “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.

“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.”

69-year old Cassidy launched Insiders in 2001 with an interview with then-Prime Minister, John Howard. Previously he had been the ABC’s Canberra correspondent having entered journalism in his teens as a sports writer after complaining to his local newspaper, the Chiltern Federal Standard in north-western Victoria, about the standard of its Aussie Rules coverage.

In the 1980s Cassidy spent five years working as press secretary for Prime Minister Bob Hawke despite the notoriously garrulous PM previously describing Cassidy as a “bloody pest”.

The Melbourne Press Club Board said in its statement it was unanimous in its decision to award Cassidy the 2018 Lifetime Achievement award, saying the prize was “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.”

The ABC is yet to announce a replacement for Cassidy.


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