Nick McKenzie & Richard Baker

Print/Text News Report

The Age

Nick McKenzie and Richard Baker’s thorough investigation into corruption among Customs officers at Sydney Airport is a commendable addition to their long list of exposés. They revealed the names of corrupt officers and the crime figures to which they were allegedly linked. Their  reports led the Customs and Border Protection Service to pledge an internal review of culture, management and leadership.

In a separate investigation, McKenzie and Baker uncovered “inappropriate links” between more than a dozen officers at Victoria Police and high-ranking members of bikie gangs, claiming that this practice was compromising the safety of undercover officers and informers and jeopardised police investigations.

An award-winning journalist, Richard Baker has been working in The Age’s investigative unit since 2005, previously holding the position of state political reporter. Nick McKenzie works with The Age’s investigative team and also reports occasionally for Four Corners and 7.30.

This is the third Walkley Award shared by Baker and McKenzie. They previously won for investigative journalism in 2011 and business reporting in 2012.

Nick and Richard’s Winning Work:

“Airport in grip of drug trade”

“Smuggled guns/when good guys go bad”

“Bikie infiltrate police/With friends like these”

Print/Text News Report award sponsored by


 This extraordinarily detailed and tenacious reporting about corruption in Australia’s Customs service not only exposed precise cases of foul play, but forced politicians and agency chiefs to launch investigations and a taskforce. So accurate was the reporting – and so sensitive – the two  reporters agreed to hold their initial report for a month to allow the Australian Federal Police to complete their own investigation into a drug importation racket. McKenzie and Baker broke the news, wrote the definitive behind-the-scenes feature and developed new lines of investigation by chasing down leads. It was investigative reporting at its very best: uncovering secrets, and with lasting impacts that benefit the public. – Judges’ comments