Hedley Thomas has been named the 2022 Graham Perkin Australian Journalist of the Year for coverage of the criminal justice system published by The Australian and Sky News Australia.
The award was presented at the 28th Quill Awards for Excellence in Victorian Journalism at Crown Palladium on 24 March 2023.
Full judges' citation
'Hedley Thomas' exhaustive investigation into the 2013 murder of Shandee Blackburn shook Queensland's criminal justice system to the core.Through his podcast 'Shandee's Story', Thomas revealed the Queensland government's DNA testing laboratory had failed to properly test hundreds of crime scene samples, including Shandee's. His reporting forced the government to set up a commission of inquiry, which has resulted in a major overhaul of the lab, and the re-opening of cold cases. 2022 also saw the culmination of Hedley Thomas' years-long investigation into the 1982 murder of Lynette Dawson, with her former husband Chris convicted of Lyn's murder. All of this has been reporting in the fine Perkin tradition.
See full Perkin video, including speech from Michael Rowland
The winning entry
Hedley Thomas, National Chief Correspondent, The Australian, for coverage of the criminal justice system
'Shandee's Story', The Australian, March – December 2022
'The Teacher's Trial', The Australian, May – December 2022
'The Search for Justice', Sky News Australia, June 2022
Other 2022 Perkin award finalists
Adele Ferguson, Investigative Journalist, for investigation of fraud and misconduct in the health sector
Chris Reason, Chief Reporter, Seven Network, for coverage of the war in Ukraine
Read more about 2022 Perkin award finalists and their entries