Lifetime achievement award for the departing Barrie Cassidy

Barrie Cassidy at the Quill Awards.

For political junkies who are addicted to ABC TV’s Insiders, Sunday mornings will never be the same after Barrie Cassidy steps down.

Cassidy has announced he will depart the show he has hosted since its inception 18 years ago on June 9, but will continue to contribute to the ABC.

With his usual sense of impeccable timing, he made the announcement last Friday night at Melbourne Press Club’s Quill Awards for Excellence in Journalism, where he received the Lifetime Achievement Award for his outstanding contribution to political journalism in a career spanning more than 50 years.

Cassidy said: “Other political reporters like Laurie Oakes, Michelle Grattan and Nikki Savva have won it so I’m humbled and stoked to be in that company. And I’m very conscious of the fact that I’m the first person from the ABC to win it.”

He’ll work on the upcoming federal election, his 14th federal campaign, before taking a break to “reboot” later in the year.

“I have always admired and respected all of the panelists that I’ve worked with, and all those on staff who made it happen, particularly the longest-serving EP, Kellie Mayo,” he said.

“But I am convinced after 18 years that it’s time to give somebody else a go. I could list half a dozen within the organisation who could do it well … but I won’t.”

Cassidy also won the Keith Dunstan Quill for Commentary for his work on Insiders Extra. An ABC spokesperson told IF it is too early to speculate on his successor.

Tributes flowed from former Prime Ministers and colleagues. Bob Hawke said: “He’s even-handed and that’s what I like about him more than anything, I think. I’d say, well done son, you’ve been an outstanding member of the ABC team.”

John Howard: “Barrie Cassidy has been an enduring part of Canberra journalism for as long as I can remember. I enjoyed being interviewed by him. A true professional. He always does his homework.”

Kerry O’Brien: “When we started the national 7.30 Report back in 1995 there was only one choice for our political editor and that was Barrie Cassidy. Same story with Insiders… It’s now the undisputed go-to program for political discourse in this nation.”

The ABC’s Matilda Marozzi was named Young Journalist of the Year after her reports on underpayment in Melbourne’s hospitality industry led to several Fair Work investigations and a Labor government pledge to criminalise wage theft.

ABC journalists and teams picked up awards for business news reporting, radio journalism, reporting on disability issues and long-form television feature journalism.

Adele Ferguson, Lesley Robinson, Nassim Khadem and Lucy Carter, The Age/ABC Four Corners, Mongrel Bunch of Bastards, which revealed what can happen to small businesses targeted by the ATO.

Jane Lee, ABC Background Briefing, Death of Jeremy Hu, the story of the international student fatally bashed in a Chinatown alley

Amy Bainbridge and Rachael Brown, ABC Radio AM, Insurance Industry Reports, which told of two women who were harshly treated by insurance companies, triggering the intervention of a Senator in one case and prompting the backdown of a major insurer in the other.

Louise Milligan, Mary Fallon, Sashka Koloff and Lucy Carter, Four Corners, I Am That Girl, which led to a review of the laws of consent.

Rachael Lucas, ABC Gippsland, Access to Fashion