60 Minutes Australia is a popular Australian version of the newsmagazine television show that airs in the United States. The Australian version of the show airs on the Nine Network, certain segments also airs on the New Zealand version on the show. The show airs special investigative reports on current concerns and affairs.
It first began airing in Australia in 1979 under the direction of executive producer Gerald Stone, with the reporters Ray Martin, George Negus and Ian Leslie at the helm.
The show is now the leading current affairs program in Australia and has a long track record of excellence and awards built up over the three decades the show has been on air. Currently celebrated reporters Liz Hayes, Allison Langdon, Tara Brown, Charles Wooley, Liam Bartlett and Sarah Abo are tasked with the investigation, analysis and uncovering of important issues affecting Australians.
They have been responsible for some shocking revelations over the decades. He show has been very influential in Australia and is regularly talked about and referenced in other news media. The show has won many awards over the course of its history, including five Silver Logies, a special achievement Logie and nominations for an additional six Logie awards.
The TV show was inducted into the TV Week Logie Hall of Fame in 2018.
Reporters on 60 Minutes
Current reporters on 60 Minutes Australia include Liz Hayes, who has been on the show since 1996, Charles Wooley who originally worked on the show between 1993-2005 and returned in 2009. Tara Brown who started her position on the show in 2001 and has remained on the show ever since, Liam Bartlett who did a stint on the show between 2006 and 2012 and returned in 2015. Allison Langdon who started on the show in 2011 and the most recent addition, Sarah Abo who joined 60 Minutes in 2019.
Reporter Tara Brown was famously caught up in the controversial child abduction case in Lebanon during a report where they tried to smuggle a child home to his mother out of Lebanon. She was initially sentenced to twenty year of imprisonment and hard labour, and was only released after 60 Minutes paid a substantial sum of money to the father involved in the case to get him to drop the charges.
Liam Bartlett is a highly awarded journalist who began his career in Perth and even won the Churchill fellowship to study journalism.
Syrian born Sarah Abo is the shows latest rising star, a journalist who covered the Royal Commission into Child Sexual abuse, the Paris Climate Conference and the 2014 FIFA world cup.
There are also a number of guest reporters who regularly join the show for special reports, such as Ellen Fanning who was on the show full time between 1999 and 2000 and returned from 2009 for guest reports. Peter Overton who worked full time between 2001 and 2009 and has made guest appearances ever since. Karl Stefanovic who has made guest appearances since 2005, Ray Martin who was a full time reporter between 1979 and 1984 and returned in 2010, Georgie Gardner who has guest reported since 2014 and Tom Steinfort who made contributions in 2018.
There are also a number of past correspondents who have previously appeared on the show such as the likes of Jana Wendt, Jeff McMullen, Jennifer Byrne, Mike Munro, Tracey Curro, Paul Barry, Peter Harvey and Michael Usher. Past commentators on the show include Paul Lyneham and Peter Harvey.
Controversies surrounding 60 Minutes
60 Minutes Australia has been embroiled in a number of controversies since its inception with some high profile scandals and controversies being widely reported on in the Australian media. Recent major controversies include problems that arose during a 2016 reports when a new crew can under attack in a district of Stockholm known at Rinkeby, which is dominated by immigrants. The crew had rocks thrown at them and one camera-man’s foot was run over as he tried to prevent the vehicle from leaving the district. The program published the report in which Liz Hayes reported that there were now ’55 declared no-go zones in Sweden’.
In the same year the show was also caught up in a controversy that saw reporter Tara Brown and eight other people including Nine Networks staff members David Ballment, Stephen Rice and Ben Williamson arrested for child abduction allegations in Beirut. The show allegedly paid a sum of $115,000 to a child abduction recover agency which has been widely discredit – the agencies agents have been arrested all over the world. The recovery mission involved the shows team waiting in a park car on the street before they snatched the children from their grandmother and nanny and drove away.
The group were apparently going to be charged with armed abduction, purveying threats and physical harm which would have involved a sentence of twenty years in prison and hard labour. The team were released after Nine paid a substantial sum of money to the father of the children. The report was the centre of a great debate surrounding the ethics of journalism and was a huge embarrassment to 60 Minutes.
The show has more recently been the target of criticism over a report that centred around a 12 year old boy with autism. The segment showed 12 year Shaun, who has a severe form of non-verbal autism in a way that the peak body for autism in Australia states was undignified and raised concerns about the fact that the boy was unable to consent to being shown at his most vulnerable. On the other side of the fence some people argued that severe autism needs to be more regularly represented in the media.
The show has also come under fire from the Crown Casino who went to the extraordinary length of taking out newspaper ads to refute claims made by the show and hit out at them for being deceitful. This was in response to a report which claimed the Casino was linked to Asian gangs, money laundering and fast tracked visa applications. The report stated that the casino supported junket operations and contributed to serious, organised crime.
Their recent Meghan Markle ‘takedown’ segment was also poorly received and involved major backlash for the show for a report that was widely perceived as bullying. Their recent report on shark attacks, which was purportedly to help reduce hysteria around shark attacked was also criticised for the inflammatory promotional language around the topic, which many argued did exactly the opposite of their stated aim and would actually increase hysteria.
The show has also reported on many controversies and scandals in its time. Recent examples include a report on Bayer herbicides – the pharmaceutical company refuted any claims of harm. They have also recently investigated the disappearance of William Tyrell, the damaging effects of the modeling industry on young models, the possibility that Ivan Milat had accomplices, a world famous con man and his advice for avoiding scams and shocking allegations about the conduct of Australian soldiers who fought in Afghanistan who allegedly committed acts that would be considered war crimes. The show also investigated the false imprisonment of a man who was accused and convicted of raping his fiancé.