The glitterati of Victoria’s media gathered at the Grand Hyatt on
Friday night for the annual Melbourne Press Club Quill Awards and it
was another classic night of drinking, gossip and catching up with old
friends – and enemies.

Channel Ten’s Martine Griffiths took out the Gold Quill for her
security footage showing the Bali Nine unstrapping all that heroin from
their bodies. In her speech, she thanked her two Indonesian fixers and
revealed that the security tape was handed over at 4am in a KFC car
park, a revelation that sparked plenty of chortles amongst hacks about
whether any cash had changed hands.

Still, whatever the circumstances, it was a great get and everyone else has shamelessly stolen the footage ever since.

It was a great night for The Age and the highlight for me was
Chistian Catalano picking up the Young Journalist of the Year award for
a series of stories including revelations about who had bought shares
in the Tattersall’s float.

As we’ve been remarking for six years, it is completely inappropriate
for a giant poker machine company to dish out cheques to journalists,
so it was good to see the chief sponsor of the Quills cop some embarrassment for a change.

Being Crikey, you never get through a media awards night without
running into someone with a bone to pick, but this year was arguably
more polite than usual. There was even a pleasant conversation with
Kerry O’Brien, despite his earlier anger about a couple of Crikey items.

That said, one Herald Sun hack had a determined go in the early
hours of Saturday morning about my history of bridge burning, which
concluded along the lines of: “You didn’t invite me to your wedding and
I didn’t invite you to mine, so I don’t think it’s right to say we were
really that close and besides, I never actually wrote anything about
you in the first place.”

Talk about thin-skinned hacks. Even Andrew Bolt came to our wedding cocktails in October 2000!

Whilst we last year dubbed The Australian‘s Chris Dore “the
drunkest man at the Walkleys”, he was behaving impeccably on Friday and
didn’t seem to take the sledge too badly. Given my awful headache on
Saturday after arriving home at 4am, it’s surprising Strewth didn’t declare yours truly “the drunkest man at the Quills”.

I’m too old for all this, so the wagon has been mounted for the next few weeks – at least.

Check out a full list of the winners here.

Peter Fray

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