Walkleys announce “revised sponsorship policy” in light of climate protests

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The board also apologised for racist comments that Walkley made in 1961

Last week, cartoonist Jon Kudelka published a blog post on his website titled Why I’m not entering the Walkleys this year. Kudelka cited the close ties that fossil fuel company, Ampol, has with the awards as the reason for his decision. 

The Walkley Awards were launched in 1956 by Ampol Petroleum founder Sir William Gaston Walkley, after a partnership with the Australian Journalists’ Association. The full history of Ampol’s connection with the awards is detailed on the Walkleys website.

As well as founding the fossil fuel giant, racist comments that Walkley made in a column for The Sydney Morning Herald in 1961 have resurfaced.

“His views do not reflect the values, views and ethics of the Walkley Foundation. We apologise for the deep hurt and offence these statements will have caused for journalists and the broader community,” the board of directors said in a statement.  

“As an ethical organisation, we must call out the mistakes of the past.”

The Walkleys board also addressed the concerns of Ampol’s current sponsorship of the Walkley Awards. The connection has sparked a protest from media personalities, who are refusing to enter the awards or withdrawing their entries for this year’s awards. 

See Also: Media personalities withdraw 2023 Walkleys entries in protest of fossil fuel sponsorship

Those writing on social media that they were joining the protest include Greg Jericho, Rachel Withers, Fiona Katauskas, First Dog On The Moon, Mat Golding, and Glen LeLievre.

“We recognise their concerns about fossil fuel sponsorship and hope to welcome them back as entrants in future years,” the board said.

“The Foundation has a responsibility to show leadership in the journalism community. It will continue to pursue excellence in all its activities and actions to ensure they reflect a modern and diverse Australia.”

The Walkley Foundation said that is in the final stages of formalising a revised sponsorship policy, which will be announced shortly.

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