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The Walkley Foundation has condemned and expressed deep regret for racist views expressed by the founder of its major awards Sir William Gaston Walkley in a newspaper column in 1961.

“His views do not reflect the values, views and ethics of the Walkley Foundation. We apologise for the deep hurt and offence these statements will have caused for journalists and the broader community,” the board of directors said in a statement today.  

“As an ethical organisation, we must call out the mistakes of the past.”

The Walkley Awards, Australia’s premier awards for journalism, were initiated by Walkley, who was also the founder of Ampol, in 1956. The 68th awards will be presented on November 23.

The board also acknowledged recent concerns, spearheaded by cartoonists, about Ampol’s current sponsorship of the Walkley Awards. “We recognise their concerns about fossil fuel sponsorship and hope to welcome them back as entrants in future years,” the board said.

The Walkley Foundation is in the final stages of formalising a revised sponsorship policy which will be announced shortly.

“The Foundation has a responsibility to show leadership in the journalism community. It will continue to pursue excellence in all its activities and actions to ensure they reflect a modern and diverse Australia,” the board said.


Media Enquiries:

James Gorman, Communication Manager, the Walkley Foundation 

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