23 July 2009

He has reached the pinnacle of Australian investigative journalism thanks to his work on crooked cops and public figures, and now Chris Masters will receive acknowledgement of a different kind at a UQ graduation ceremony on July 24.

Mr Masters will receive a Doctor of Letters honoris causa at a 6pm ceremony which celebrates the achievements of students from areas as diverse as journalism, history and music.

Vice-Chancellor Professor Paul Greenfield said generations of Australians were familiar with Mr Masters’ work on the ABC program Four Corners.

His many stories filed for the program included The Moonlight State in 1987, which helped prompt the Fitzgerald Inquiry into Queensland police misconduct and associated corruption.

“Chris Masters is one of the country’s most respected journalists, having produced stories for Four Corners for three decades and earning five Walkley Awards – the highest accolade in Australian journalism,” Professor Greenfield said.

“His career has been marked by a dogged pursuit of the truth, despite the many obstacles thrown in his path.

“Twenty years after the tabling of the Fitzgerald report, an Honorary Doctorate for Chris Masters is a reinforcement for our students, graduates and staff of the importance of championing ethical behaviour and the truth.”

The Moonlight State is widely acknowledged as a catalyst in the fall of the then Queensland Government, with the Fitzgerald Inquiry netting more than 100 convictions, the jailing of a Police Commissioner and a change in Australian attitudes toward systematic corruption.

Mr Masters has published three books based on his investigative reporting: Inside Story (1992) Not For Publication (2002), and the controversial bestseller Jonestown in 2006.

Jonestown was named Biography of the Year by the Australian Book Industry Association in 2007 and also won the Harry Williams Award at the Queensland Premier’s Literary Awards in the same year.

His other honours include a Public Service Medal in 1999 and a Centenary Medal in 2003 for his service to Australian society in journalism.

Mr Masters retired from Four Corners in March and serves on the national board of directors for children’s cancer charity Redkite.

The 6pm ceremony will be held at the UQ Centre, St Lucia and recognises graduates from the Faculties of Arts and Social and Behavioural Sciences.

Earlier in the day at 2pm, prominent broadcaster, writer and former long-serving Labor minister the Honorable Dr Barry Jones AO will be the guest speaker at a Faculty of Science graduation ceremony.

Among his many honours, Dr Jones is the only person to have been elected to all four Australian Learned Academies: Technological Sciences and Engineering (FTSE) in 1992, the Humanities (FAHA) in 1993, Science (FAA) in 1996, and Social Sciences (FASSA) in 2003.

Media: Cameron Pegg at UQ Communications (07 3365 2049, c.pegg@uq.edu.au)