2017 Quills: The Gold Quill

The Fairfax Media & ABC Team have won the 2017 Gold Quill for coverage of Chinese influence on Australian politics.

Judges' comments

"This powerful and forensic investigation by Fairfax Media and the ABC cut to the heart of one of the biggest issues of our time: the manipulation of Western democracies by totalitarian regimes.It exposed the alarming extent of clandestine Chinese Government meddling in Australian politics – and laid bare the extent to which both the Coalition and Labor have been compromised at the highest levels by Chinese political donations.

The courageous and tenacious work of the Fairfax Media/Four Corners team led by The Age’s Nick McKenzie revealed that the Chinese company that bought the Darwin Port had signed a secret $880,000 contract with former trade minister Andrew Robb beginning the day he quit parliament.

The team also revealed that high profile Labor Senator Sam Dastyari had tipped off a billionaire Chinese donor that he was under surveillance by intelligence agencies - and that the senator had contradicted his party's and his country's policies on the South China Sea, then lied about doing so. Dastyari had no choice but to resign.

The reporting changed the national debate about Australia’s relationship with China and will result in foreign agents registration legislation, new espionage laws and a ban on foreign donations."

The winning entry

Power and Influence, ABC Four Corners

China's Operation Australia, The Age Online

ALP takes 'illegal' tobacco donations from big Chinese cigarette importer, The Sydney Morning Herald

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