The ABC’s Indonesia correspondent Tim
Palmer was a thoroughly deserving winner of the Gold Walkley last night
and Crikey tipped it within 15 hours of this magnificent story going to air on January 5 when we wrote:

Last night’s fabulous 10 minute 7.30 Report
story on Tim Palmer’s world exclusive journey from Jakarta to ground
zero, the flattened town of Lapung on Sumatra’s west coast, was what we
predict will be the Gold Walkley winning effort for 2005.

Tim
was apparently a bit upset with the suggestion he’d framed the story to
win a Walkley. It wasn’t meant to be a criticism. The harrowing journey
that had him three days ahead of any other television journalist to the
worst affected areas after the tsunami had to be told.

A couple of News Ltd journalists were muttering later that they thought The Courier Mail’s Hedley Thomas should have won the Gold Walkley for his Dr Death coverage, but there really is no comparison.

Thomas
started looking at Dr Death after he was named in the Queensland
Parliament and then he discovered his earlier “gross negligence”
conviction through Google. Sure, he took the yarn a long way and helped
force a Royal Commission, but it doesn’t compare with Palmer’s gut
instinct decision to head straight to Aceh to tell the world what
happened at ground zero.

Stories that throw up technical,
physical and cultural challenges in foreign disaster zones are that
much harder than the classic telephone and internet office
investigation back in Australia. That’s why Four Corners, led by reporter Sally Neighbour, deserved to win the international journalism Walkley for The Kilwa Incident, an expose on Anvil Mining’s complicity in a massacre in the Democratic Republish of Congo.

Thomas
was a deserving winner of the Walkley for best news report but it was
always going to be Palmer’s Gold. Don’t wait for Piers Akerman to
congratulate the ABC’s best performing foreign correspondent. Palmer
cleaned up Akerman in the press council last year as you can see here.