All media: Public Service Journalism
This five-month investigation was driven by the crowdsourced evidence of more than 4000 people who contacted the ABC after an audience call-out. Accounts from families and carers soon built a picture of systemic problems within the industry, including understaffing, untrained staff, drugging of residents with dementia, and a dysfunctional regulatory and complaints system.
Following Four Corners’ interview with then-minister Ken Wyatt, and reporters subsequently seeking responses from nursing homes, the regulator and complaints agency, Prime Minister Scott Morrison announced the Royal Commission into Aged Care Quality and Safety the day before part one of “Who Cares?” aired. The ABC expects crucial policy and regulatory changes will flow from the royal commission.
Anne Connolly has worked at the ABC’s 7.30, Media Watch, Four Corners, Background Briefing and Investigations unit over the past 20 years. She was named 2019 Journalist of the Year at the Kennedy Awards and this win brings her Walkley Award tally to five, including the 1999 Gold Walkley.
Mary Fallon has worked on more than 50 programs for Four Corners. Previously, she was a nonfiction book publisher and health and science writer. This is her fourth Walkley Award.
Patricia Drum has been a researcher and producer for ABC current affairs programs and documentaries, including Four Corners, The Killing Season and Hawke: The Larrikin and the Leader. She is co-author of The Killing Season Uncut. This is her first Walkley Award.
This was a brilliant story to crowdsource, using the ABC’s reach and resources by gathering stories from across the country. Generations to come will thank Anne Connolly, Mary Fallon and Patricia Drum for shedding light on the scandalous treatment of the elderly in Australian nursing homes and forcing an inquiry that will lead to dramatic changes. This entry is the very definition of excellence in public service journalism.