Cartoonist leads Walkley Awards boycott over fossil fuel sponsorship

Australia’s national journalism awards are tainted by their association with the fossil fuel industry, says cartoonist Jon Kudelka.

Australia’s most prestigious awards for journalism, the Walkley Awards for Excellence in Journalism, were established by Ampol Petroleum founder Sir William Gaston Walkley in 1956.

Ampol’s business model is intrinsically connected to the ‘era of global boiling’ as a result of its extraction of fossil fuels and contribution to human-induced climate change. It recently began sponsoring the Walkley Awards again after a hiatus.

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Richard Watts is ArtsHub's National Performing Arts Editor; he also presents the weekly program SmartArts on Three Triple R FM, and serves as the Chair of La Mama Theatre's volunteer Committee of Management. Richard is a life member of the Melbourne Queer Film Festival, and was awarded the status of Melbourne Fringe Living Legend in 2017. In 2020 he was awarded the Sidney Myer Performing Arts Awards' Facilitator's Prize. Most recently, Richard was presented with a Lifetime Achievement Award by the Green Room Awards Association in June 2021. Follow him on Twitter: @richardthewatts