ABC’s Quentin Dempster retrenched after 30 years

2014-11-28_2348Veteran journalist Quentin Dempster has been let go by the ABC as part of the broadcaster’s job cuts.

Dempster, who had been a vocal opponent of ABC cuts to 7:30 and Lateline, was told by ABC Director of News Kate Torney his position would go.

Dempster has been with the broadcaster for 30 years, most recently as host of 7:30 NSW -but he has been involved with versions of the show since 1987.

He signed off last night telling viewers, “Thank you for your support, story ideas and constructive criticism over all this time. It has been an honour to work with Australia’s great and unique public broadcaster.”

ABC Director of News Kate Torney said: “This is a huge loss. Quentin is much loved and highly respected by audiences and colleagues alike. He has helped shape the ABC, on and off screen, over more than three decades.

“The public is aware of Quentin’s outstanding track record as an award winning journalist. What they don’t see is his commitment behind the scenes in mentoring, encouraging and guiding colleagues. He is passionate about the craft and role of journalism and is always keen to share his experience with those around him.

“He will be much missed. On behalf of the broader ABC family, I wish him and his family all the best for the future.”

Quentin joined the ABC in 1984. His reporting of the Fitzgerald Inquiry and the Wood Royal Commission, and their aftermath, are exemplars of the fearless and forensic journalism which has earned Quentin the respect and admiration of his peers and the gratitude of his viewers.

His deep understanding of the mechanics of government and his extensive contacts on all sides of politics have always put 7.30 NSW, in all its incarnations, on top of the issues in NSW and ahead of the pack in reporting on them. In recent years his contributions online have also added further depth to the ABC’s coverage of NSW politics.

Quentin’s tremendous contribution to the ABC, and to journalism generally, is reflected in the many honours he has won, including an Order of Australia for services to the media and a Walkley Award for Most Outstanding Contribution to Journalism.


  1. Pertinax: “There’s reason why ABC salaries have been growing at 8% a year meaning that they now make up $561m out of the ABC’s $1b budget.”

    If that worries you, then don’t ever look at the financial reports of other major companies. You might end up terrified…

    (Hint: $561m out of $1.22b is ~45%, which is definitely on the low side of average…)

  2. TasTVcameraman

    I thought it would be smart to ask people who want to leave to go first, but that runs the risk of letting some staff go who know things, how to produce Great TV.

    Sorry to see him go, but I just wonder was it bgecause of his outspoken views on redundancies.

  3. So valuable that 1995 he was cast aside for the national 7:30 Report and assigned to just hosting 30 minutes of content on Friday evening for 20 years.

    This is because the ABC’s labour practices meant that he wasn’t made redundant, couldn’t be reassigned as a reporter nor could his hours or salary to be reduced. Leaks last year revealed his salary to be $300k p.a. and that he was spending a lot his time doing corporate speaking for himself. Recently he has been writing op-ed and campaign for increased ABC funding.

    It is hardly surprising that Dempster is against the redundancies. But Dempster is a part of the reason that State 7:30 Reports have been axed so that he and others can finally be made redundant.

    There’s reason why ABC salaries have been growing at 8% a year meaning that they now make up $561m out of the ABC’s $1b budget. With money also increasingly being…

  4. Very little of the media shine a light on state politics and it is a real shame to see the loss of Dempster and the dismantling of local, regional and state based news on the ABC.

    While in NSW we do have Fairfax to provide another voice, the same can’t be said in most of the other states.

    I hope Tony Abbott is happy.

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