In an industry of constant change, AAP remains relevant. Over the past two months we have covered, a Federal Budget, dual citizenship issues in parliament, a Cardinal in court, the Logies, some major sporting events, and much more. Here are the AAP wins for May and June 2018, and the people who made it happen. Read on...
The biggest domestic story of the year came in late August when the sitting Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull was ousted in a Liberal Party vote and replaced by former Treasurer Scott Morrison. But Morrison was not behind the challenge that came from the right wing of the Liberals headed by Home Affairs Minister Peter Dutton. It was an eventful week in Parliament when talk of a challenge saw Turnbull throw open the leadership of the party. His narrow victory was not enough to quell the challenge and by the end of the week he’d been rolled by the Dutton camp but the party room then threw its support behind Morrison instead of Dutton. The AAP Canberra Bureau didn’t miss a beat covering every moment of this major developing story as it happened. And of course the image team had dramatic pictures of the events as they unfolded.
The challenge seemed to stem from the Liberals disastrous performance in the July 28 Super-Saturday by-elections when the ALP and independents comfortably won the 5 seats up for grabs. Turnbull remained the country’s preferred PM up until his departure and Morrison immediately took over that mantle ahead of Opposition leader Bill Shorten who nevertheless now looks certain to win government at the next election to be held anytime between now and May next year.
September ended with another huge story when the ABC suddenly sacked chief executive Michelle Guthrie only half way through her five year contract. The issue then back-fired on ABC chairman Justin Milne when he was forced to resign over allegations of editorial interference when he suggested certain journalists be sacked. Kristin Ferguson is the acting ABC chair as the debacle continues to play out.
The Banking Royal Commission has continued in Melbourne and Brisbane with News Extra’s Megan Neil leading the coverage, although some hearings were held in Darwin, with Greg Roberts on the spot. An interim report that recommended a series of actions was handed down in late September.
Food contamination became an issue when needles were found in strawberries on supermarket shelves. A series of copycat crimes saw needles found in a series of different fruits around the country. Eventually the federal government announced new harsh penalties for food contamination.
July 4 marked the 100th anniversary of the WWI Battle of Hamel - the famous Sir John Monash-led victory with Australian and US troops fighting together under Australian command - with London’s Miranda Forster there for AAP.
The Australian population passed 25 million recently and the Planning desk provided a package of content.
And Broadcaster Alan Jones was ordered to pay a record defamation payout of $3.7 million over comments he made about a Queensland family in relation to the 2011 Lockyer Valley floods
The world waited anxiously as 12 boys and their soccer coach were freed after being trapped for more than a week in a flooded cave in northern Thailand. Former AAP staffer now Thailand stringer Paul Ruffini was on the sport to cover the rescue by an international team of divers including Richard Harris from Australia. Paul filed great words, images and video live from the scene.
Another former AAP staff and now Cambodia stringer Luke Hunt covered the trial of film-maker James Ricketson who was found guilty of espionage and sentenced to six years jail. Luke was busy covering the trial for many weeks and filing images throughout. Ricketson was granted a royal pardon and returned to Australia in mid-September.
In late September an earthquake and devastating 3-metre tsunami hit Indonesia’s Sulawesi Island leaving more than 1200 dead. The tragedy followed earlier earthquakes in Lombok, Indonesia which killed at least 35.
On the Donald Trump front - the US President met Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin in Finland in July. And in August Trump’s former lawyer Michael Cohen pleaded guilty to tax fraud, and his former campaign chairman Paul Manafort was found guilty of tax fraud.
Elsewhere, there was another mass shooting in the US, this time in Jacksonville Florida; a motorway bridge collapsed in Genoa, Italy killing 22; former cricketer Imran Khan won Pakistan’s presidential elections; and Boris Johnson quit as UK Foreign Secretary after PM Theresa May won cabinet agreement for her Brexit plan.
The company reporting season kept the new leaner Finance team busy with the likes of Rio Tinto, BHP, Qantas, TabCorp, Commonwealth Bank, and Wesfarmers all announcing annual profits.
Fairfax, and the first full-year results for Domain after the spin-off from Fairfax Media in November 2017, was another who reported results before also announcing the business would merge with the Nine Network - creating a new larger media group to be called Nine.
The soccer World Cup in Russia was decided with France emerging as 4-2 winners over Croatia.
Tennis writer Darren Walton was in the UK for the Wimbledon tennis tournament from July 2-15 and then headed to Carnoustie in Scotland to cover the British Open golf. By late August he was in New York for the US Open tennis.
Queensland sent Billy Slater into State of Origin retirement with a win in the final match, although NSW took the series 2-1. A fine effort from AAP’s league writers covering the series, and the images, graphics and visual explainers were all high class.
Elsewhere in footy the AFL and NRL finals saw the West Coast Eagles and Sydney Roosters emerge as premiers. Again plaudits to the sports team for the excellent text coverage and again to image, graphics and video for the fine visual components.
The Wallabies lost the Bledisloe Cup with two straight losses to NZ, followed by a narrow win against South Africa in Brisbane, and then losses to Argentina on the Gold Coast and South Africa at home. The Rugby Championships continue until October 7.
- Australian golfer Jarrod Lyle, 36, after a long battle with cancer.
- Soldier, Senator and US Presidential candidate John McCain, 81
- Former UN Secretary General and Nobel Peace prize winner Kofi Annan, 80
- US Soul legend Aretha Franklin, 76
WHAT’S COMING UP
The highlights are expected to be the Royal tour with Harry and Meghan through NSW, Victoria and Queensland and the Invictus Games which will feature the Royal couple.
Federal parliament will sit during the final two weeks of the month.
The Victorian state election will be held on November 24 with the Andrews Government slight favourites to be returned to power.
The new PM Scott Morrison will have a busy month with a series of international events that he’s expected to attend including the G20 in Buenos Aires, APEC in PNG and ASEAN in Singapore.
Federal Parliament will sit for the final time in 2018 in the last week of November and the first week of December.
The world will celebrate the 100th anniversary of the end of World War One on November 11 with major events expected in Europe and around Australia.
December and January
A mid-year financial review is expected around early-mid December - and that could also lead perhaps to a mini-budget from the Morrison Government.
And Adelaide will host a COAG meeting on counter-terrorism in mid December.
AAP will provide strong coverage of the colour and fun of the Christmas and New Year holiday period.
And January sees a series of celebrations that AAP covers well each year including all the colour and drama of New Year's Eve, the activities around Australia Day including the Australian of the Year nominees and winners and the Australia Day Honours list of recipients.
The busy AGM season continues through October when many companies including the big banks (Westpac, NAB and the ANZ) will hold their AGMs.
The Australian Cricket team will play two Tests against Pakistan in the UAE. Michael Ramsay from the Melbourne sports desk will cover the action.
In footy, the A League season will start and the Rugby Championships will draw to a close while towards the end of the month the Wallabies will head to Europe for their Spring Tour.
In motorsport, the Bathurst 1000 will be a feature on October 7.
The other highlight In October will be the start of the Spring Racing Carnival with the Everest in Sydney, the Caulfield Cup and the Cox Plate providing the excitement leading into the Melbourne Cup Carnival. Winx will be aiming for an unprecedented fourth straight Cox Plate victory on Oct 27.
In footy, the A-League will continue, the Asian Champions League will kick-off, the Wallabies will be on their Spring Tour and in Rugby League Australian will play a Test match against NZ.
In Cricket, South Africa are on a short tour of Australia (5ODIs and 1 T20) before India arrive for some T20s and a four Test tour.
And in golf the Australian Open will be played at The Lakes club in Sydney from Nov 15-18.
December and January
Australia’s first cricket Test against India will be played in Adelaide (Dec 6-10) followed by Perth (Dec 14-18) and then the traditional Boxing Day Test in Melbourne (Dec 26-30) and the New Year’s Test in Sydney (Jan 3-7). India play three ODIs before Sri Lanka arrive in January for two Tests - a day/night match on the Australia Day weekend and in Canberra in the first week of February.
The other feature on Boxing Day is the Sydney to Hobart Yacht Race, which should be wrapped up before the new year begins.
And as usual AAP will provide strong coverage of the summer of tennis around Australia and NZ. All the lead-up tournaments will point towards performances at the Australian Open at the end of the month.
In January the Magic Millions Race Day will take place at the Gold Coast Turf Club.
And the Tour Down Under cycling event will be held around South Australia from mid-late January.