Dr Mumbo

When a cartoonist and a premier collide, there can only be one winner

To the second year of the Kennedy Awards, at Royal Randwick, recognising journalism in NSW and remembering crime reporter Les Kennedy.

And there were a number of memorable moments.

Not least of which was the Xbox auction battle between The Daily Telegraph’s cartoonist Warren Brown and NSW premier Barry O’Farrell.

Referencing the Tele’s now infamous Hogan’s Heroes front page, Brown promised from the stage: “If you think Anthony Albanese looks good as Sergeant Schulz, just wait for Monday’s Telegraph…”

Sensibly, O’Farrell bowed out of the bidding and Dr Mumbo understands Brown picked up his Xbox for just over $300.

Meanwhile, the NSW Premier had his own observations about how the press would report the feat if he managed to walk on water across Sydney Harbour.

  • The Tele’s headline would be “O’Farrell dodges bridge toll”.
  • The AFR would go with “O’Farrell avoids big business”.
  • And the Sydney Morning Herald’s choice would be “Coffee prices up in Stanmore”, suggested O’Farrell.

What felt like the longest speech of the night came from Trent Dalton, who paid gushing tribute to Weekend Australian Magazine editor Christine Middap, and just didn’t seem to want to leave the stage. As Dr Mumbo later overheard in the men’s bathroom: “That went on as long as one of his features.”

And the evening also had something of a Sarah Murdoch moment, when Seven’s Ann Sanders announced the winner of young journalist of the year as APN’s Jessica Grewal, while the screen showed Rick Morton from The Australian as the winner. Grewal made it to the stage before the mistake could be straightened out. Host Ellen Fanning later told the audience that Grewal would be receiving the consolation prize of tickets to the premiere of Strictly Ballroom.

But the most moving moment of the night came when Ten’s legendary crime reporter Harry Potter, who retired three years ago, took the stage to receive the inaugural lifetime achievement award, and shared details of his current health battles, leaving former colleague Sandra Sully close to tears as the audience gave him a standing ovation.

Another marvellous moment came when the Newcastle Herald’s Joanne McCarthy won the big award of the night for her reporting on the Catholic abuse scandal. Taking the stage, she acknowledged the bravery of Kate McClymont from the SMH in her reporting on corruption in the former NSW Labor government, and chalked up both of their victories as wins by women over the boys’ clubs.

The event also raised a significant amount for charity Red Kite and the Aboriginal Medical Service.


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