Vice-Chancellor's Fellow: Tony Walker
Tony Walker continues to be a working journalist having begun his career as an ABC Specialist Trainee (effectively a cadetship) in 1971 after graduating BA in 1968 in politics and international relations from the Australian National University. He attended the Monash law school 1965-66 before transferring to Canberra after deciding the disciplines of a law degree were not for him – and not for someone whose intention from a young age was to be a journalist. In his early career at the ABC he worked for the overseas broadcaster, Radio Australia, making programs and broadcasting from its Melbourne headquarters before re-locating to Canberra where he served as Radio Australia’s first Canberra correspondent and diplomatic correspondent for the ABC.
He transferred to The Age in 1976 and served in various posts, including defence and foreign affairs correspondent and chief of staff before being posted to China in 1979 for Fairfax newspapers. There began a long career as a foreign correspondent for both Fairfax and the Financial Times of London. This included, Beijing (1979-1983); Cairo (1984-1993); Beijing again (1993-1998); and New York (1998-1999). He returned to Australia as political editor for The Australian Financial Review (2000-2004) before being posted to Washington as the AFR’s North American editor. He returned to Australia in 2010 as the AFR’s international editor. He took advantage of redundancies offered in 2016 with an understanding he could return as a columnist for The Age and Sydney Morning Herald.
He is now writing fortnightly column for those papers, along with columns for The Conversation, among other writing assignments. In his lengthy career he has won a number of journalist awards, including two Walkley’s for commentary and the Paul Lyneham award for excellence in press gallery journalism. He is a published author, including a biography of the Palestinian leader, Yasser Arafat (Arafat: The Biography), and most recently a tribute to the golfer, Peter Thomson for MUP (The Peter Thomson Five). He is currently working on a road trip book about the rise of populism in Australia, or a more basic question: what ails the country? His interests these days include catching up on recreational reading (he is a fan of American crime writers: he has a particular affection for the late John D. MacDonald) and sporting pursuits, both as a participant and observer. He is an avid golfer and tennis player. He has a tribal affection for the Geelong Football Club. He divides his time between an apartment in Melbourne and Barwon Heads.