Renowned Political Editor Laurie Oakes retires

The TV journalist is stepping down after 50 years.
Political Editor Laurie Oakes

After five decades, Nine News Political Editor and Walkley Award-winning journalist Laurie Oakes has announced his retirement.

The 73-year-old has decided to call time on what has been a remarkable career with his last day of work set for August 18.

“To pinch an election slogan – it’s time,” Laurie says of his decision to walk away from what he loves most.

“I’ve been reporting politics since 1965. I’ve been in the Canberra Press Gallery for 48 and a half years.

“I’ve been the Nine Network’s political editor since December the 1st, 1984 – the day of that year’s federal election. And I’m about to turn 74.”

In 2011, Laurie’s outstanding contribution to the Australian television industry was recognised when he was inducted into the TV WEEK Logie Hall of Fame.

“I am addicted, I confess that,” Laurie said in his acceptance speech at the time.

“And here I am being honoured with membership of the Logies Hall of Fame for mainlining my drug of choice for 47 years and doing it for more than 30 years in full view of the television camera. I’ll be pushing small packets of journalism at the afterparty.”

Jana Wendt with Laurie at the TV WEEK Logie Awards.

Some of Laurie’s most notable stories include: the Kirribilli leadership pact between Bob Hawke and Paul Keating; staring down Julia Gillard at the Press Club over the Kevin Rudd Coup and the leak of the entire 1980 Federal Budget.

“The story that caused the biggest stink, I suppose, was in 1980 when the entire Budget was leaked to me two days before then Treasurer John Howard was due to deliver it,” Laurie recalls.

“Three ministers lost their jobs over that, and the Prime Minister’s chief of staff resigned.”

While the veteran reporter admits the time off will take some time getting used to, he is looking forward to focussing on his other passions.

“Now I’ll be able to devote more time to reading crime fiction,” he says.

“That will be my equivalent of a methadone program.”

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