Louise Milligan is the author of Witness, The Brutal Cost of Seeking Justice and Cardinal, The Rise and Fall of George Pell.
Her work investigating the history of Catholic Cardinal George Pell - the third most senior figure in the Vatican - for the ABC TV 7.30 program and in Cardinal broke massive international news and led to Louise being a witness in the committal proceeding of Cardinal George Pell. That experience is documented in excoriating detail in Witness, along with the accounts of complainants of sexual crimes who also became witnesses in other trials.
As an investigative reporter with the ABC TV Four Corners program, Louise was finishing Witness as she began investigating complaints against politicians including former Attorney-General Christian Porter that resulted in her Four Corners stories Inside the Canberra Bubble and Bursting the Canberra Bubble. The first of those stories is what inspired rape complainant Brittany Higgins to come forward and helped turn the nation’s attention to the issues for women working in Parliament House. When she attended the Women’s March for Justice in March this year as a journalist, there was a spontaneous standing ovation for Louise. That morning, Mr Porter had announced defamation proceedings against the ABC and Louise - he ultimately walked away from that case.
Louise has reported on the law and crime since the start of her career when as a young reporter she was a High Court correspondent for The Australian newspaper. Her Four Corners story about sexual assault complainant Saxon Mullins, I Am That Girl, also documented in Witness, led to widespread reforms of NSW consent laws.
Her Four Corners story Boys Club about the toxic culture at St Kevin’s College and the mismanagement of sexual crime against one of its students led to the departure of the principal and leadership team of the school within a week of broadcast. Since the story in February 2020, nine teachers have left the school due to inquiries set up because of Boys Club.
Some of the other big stories Louise has reported on including many months working in Australia and Indonesia on the lead-up to and coverage of the executions of Bali 9 members Andrew Chan and Myuran Sukumaran, the first interview with the husband of murdered Irish-Australian woman Jill Meagher and the Essendon supplements saga.
Louise has a keen interest in stories involving human rights and has also reported extensively on failures in health care and disability care. She relishes her role at Four Corners in being able to shine light in dark places. She has also written from a first-person perspective about autism as she has a teenage autistic son.
Both her books and her television reporting have won Louise many awards over the years, including three Walkleys, six Quill Awards, including the Gold Quill - the highest honour in Victorian journalism. Louise was also awarded the 2019 Press Freedom Medal for her work defending sources who came from a community profoundly betrayed by the Catholic Church.
Full list of Awards:
- 2019 Press Freedom Medallist, Australian Press Council
- Walkley Book Award, 2017, for Cardinal
- Victorian Premier’s Literary Awards People’s Choice prize for Witness, 2021.
- Davitt Award for best non-fiction crime book for Witness, 2021
- Shortlisted for Stella Prize for Witness, 2021.
- Melbourne Press Club Quill Award for Boys Club, Four Corners, 2021
- Two Walkley Awards, for I am That Girl, Four Corners, 2018
- Melbourne Press Club Quill Award and Gold Quill (the highest award in Victorian journalism) - George Pell Investigation, 7.30, ABC TV, 2017
- Melbourne Press Club Quill Award for After the Game, Four Corners, ABC TV, 2018
- Melbourne Press Club Quill Award for Emergency Intervention Removes Disabled Young Man From Prison, 7.30, ABC TV, 2018
- Melbourne Press Club Quill Award for I Am That Girl, Four Corners, ABC TV, 2019
- Australian Sports Commission Award for After The Game, Four Corners, ABC TV, 2017
- Sir Owen Dixon Chambers Law Reporter of the Year, 2017
- Melbourne Prize For Literature Civic Choice Award, 2018