Adele Ferguson receives the 2015 Monash/Virgin Gold Quill: Picture Mathew Lynn
An expose of the multi-million dollar financial advice scandal at the Commonwealth Bank has won Adele Ferguson the highest honour in Victorian journalism – the Monash Gold Quill.
The award was presented at the Melbourne Press Club’s annual Quill Awards dinner in Melbourne on Friday 20 March.
A total of 29 Quills were awarded to recognise the best journalism of 2014 in print, television, radio and online.
The Gold Quill carries a cash prize of $5000 provided by Monash University, the Press Club’s principal sponsor.
The award is shared with Four Corners producer Deb Masters and researcher Mario Christodoulou for the program ‘Banking Bad’, which encapsulated a two-year investigation by Ferguson, whose work appears in The Age, the Sydney Morning Herald and the Australian Financial Review.
The judges praised Ferguson for a “courageous, painstaking and tenacious exposure” of the financial advice scandal at Australia’s biggest bank.
“Her work … revealed a culture of greed, secrecy and corruption within the Commonwealth Bank that destroyed the life savings of many vulnerable Australians,” the citation said.
“The bank was forced to make a public apology and announce a $250 million-plus compensation scheme open to 400,000 customers.”
Ferguson’s investigation forced the Federal Government to abandon plans to water down regulation of the financial planning industry.
The fallout from the scandal – and Ferguson’s ongoing reporting – is now reverberating across Australia’s banking sector.
The Gold Quill judges were Melbourne Press Club CEO Mark Baker, Seven News presenter Jennifer Keyte, Monash University’s Associate Professor Philip Chubb and ABC News presenter Ian Henderson.