Nine Network's Laurie Oakes to retire

Bruno Cirelli
Agosto 3, 2017

Oakes joined Channel Ten in 1975 and five years later went to the Nine Network where he became an institution for his interviews with political leaders.

Laurie Oakes (left) has announced his retirement after 52 years of political journalism.

'I'll stay interested in politics, but I'll watch it from a distance'. I've been in the Canberra press gallery for 48 and a half years.

"I've been the Nine Network's political editor since December the 1st, 1984 - the day of that year's federal election. And I'm about to turn 74".

Oakes graduated from Sydney University in 1964 with a Bachelor of Arts, joined the Sydney afternoon newspaper the Daily Mirror and took over state political rounds in 1965.

Laurie Oakes was inducted into the Logie Hall of Fame in 2011.

But he famously gave "poor old John" Howard a "bit of a shock" by being leaked the then Treasurer's budget in 1980.

After meeting a contact in a carpark he was handed the budget speech, given just 15 minutes to look over it and so read the entire thing into a recorder.

"That evening Mr Howard was at home with toddler daughter Melanie on his lap watching cartoons on TV".

'Then the news started and I came up blowing every detail of his Budget speech'.

Oakes developed a reputation as a fearless reporter who set the agenda and was never afraid to put the cat among the political pigeons. He broke the news of the the Kirribilli leadership pact between then Prime Minister Bob Hawke and rival Paul Keating and recently made global headlines when he chose to air a supposedly off-the-record speech of Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull parodying U.S. President Donald Trump.

Kim Beazley said he "burnished the reputation of all journalists" while Tony Abbott said he'd been the king of the press gallery for as long as anyone could remember.

Even the politicians he held to account paid tribute to Oakes in a tribute on the Nine News website.

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