The Melbourne Press Club’s annual Quill awards are usually a lively affair and last night Friday night at The Hyatt was no exception. Sadly, the organisers still think it’s appropriate to take cash from a pokies company so the winners once again collected cheques provided by Tattersall’s.

There was a strong theme about Queensland and Victorian police corruption, given that Chris Masters was the guest speaker and The Australian’s Tony Koch picked up the Journalist of the Year award for his campaign to have sergeant Chris Hurley charged over the death of Mulrunji Doomadgee on Palm Island.

Koch used his speech to blast the Bracks government for failing to have a royal commission into Victorian police corruption and claimed there were strong parallels between the Bjelke-Petersen and Bracks governments.

At one level this has an element of truth but it seems highly unlikely that Victoria is suffering from the same widespread or brazen corruption of Joh’s time. No Victorian minister has yet diverted a highway to go past his son’s TAB as Russ Hinze did.

The full list of winners Quill winners is here.

The biggest surprise was The Ballarat Courier’s John Ditchburn collecting the award for best cartoon. Apparently none of the big boys bothered to enter.

I was staggered to see Glenn Milne had the chutzpah to turn up. Presumably he entered his Peter Costello broken leadership deal story again, but, as with the Walkleys, it didn’t win.

Press Club President John Trevorrow and MC Peter Mitchell both laboured the point that Glenn and I were in the same room throughout the evening and then Mitchell made us shake hands shortly after dinner was served, something the gossip columnists have lapped up.

It wasn’t a set-up but at least there now won’t be any carry on in the lead up to next year’s Walkleys. Whilst it would be nice to have the $65 physio bill paid, it’s clearly time to move on.

That said, I was very tempted to have a word with Dame Elisabeth Murdoch last night when she was sitting six seats away at the opening night of Geoffrey Rush’s new play Exit The King at The Malthouse Theatre.

Both John Howard and Rupert Murdoch won’t want to finish up like Geoffrey’s Rush’s character – a fading king clinging to an ever-shrinking empire in his final days.

If anyone happens to be in New York next week, I’m still looking for a proxy to fire a few questions at Rupert about the $16 billion peace deal with John Malone at the special shareholders meeting on April.

Drop us a line to [email protected] but we’re not expecting anyone to push Rupert off the stage.