Veteran Journalist Kerry O'Brien Is All Class As He's Inducted Into Logies Hall Of Fame

The broadcasting legend's speech had the crowd on their feet.

At the 61st annual TV Week Logie Awards our very own Waleed Aly introduced O'Brien as a broadcaster who "didn't have a career, he had a vocation".

Adding that O'Brien "doesn't need to be in this Hall of Fame... this Hall of Fame needs him", Aly called the former host of 'The 7.30 Report' and 'Four Corners' as one of the reasons Hall of Fames were invented in the first place.

Proving Waleed right, O'Brien took to the stage to accept the honour with an incredible speech that covered the freedom of the press, the repeated cuts to the ABC, climate change and the Uluru statement.

Covering all that with class and decorum and he still managed to slip in a dig at Karl Stefanovic.

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Admitting he was pleased "not to be receiving this award posthumously," O'Brien spoke about his "natural home" at the ABC.

"The pursuit of excellence wasn't just permitted, it was expected," he said. "As the importance of journalism became more and more obvious to me, absolutely fundamental to a healthy democracy despite its many imperfections -- that's the many imperfections of journalism as well as democracy -- it also added more meaning to my life."

O'Brien at one point referenced the recent AFP raids on the ABC saying, "Even the Federal Police, some of whom have themselves leaked to us in the past, have seen fit to raid the place.

"Yet as I sat here tonight and watched nomination after nomination after nomination for the ABC, including for Most Popular category which rely on a public vote, I felt so much better about the place."

READ MORE: ABC Launches Legal Action Over AFP Raids

O'Brien said he was proud to call himself a journalist adding, "Yet, we, the journalists, have to share the responsibility for the great failures of our time.

"A time of enormous challenge, failures of politics, failures of journalism. Failures of society in the end. For instance, 40 years after powerful evidence first kicked in that human-caused climate change threatened the world with a disaster, we still stuck with drab, dishonest arguments that will come with great cost to future generations and we the journalists have not cut through the fake news effectively."

Finally, O'Brien spoke to the country's failures to Indigenous Australians, slamming systemic racism.

"I was first personally exposed to the awful racism this country is capable of when I visited Alice Springs more than 45 years ago and, sadly, you don't have to go too far to see it still today."

"We all have an opportunity together in this term of the federal parliament to make a genuine effort to understand and support what is embodied in the Uluru statement from the heart. A remarkable document forged in unity by more than 250 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders leaders representing the oldest surviving culture on the face of the Earth... And yet we other Australians are mostly ignorant of it."

We like to be seen as one nation made up of many parts. Now it is time to prove it.

Finally, O'Brien took a moment to thank his family, especially his wife Sue Javes. Jokingly he mentioned he shouldn't say just how much she had helped him over the years, "As Karl Stefanovic had said here a few years ago, because it would probably cost him a couple of million."

O'Brien's incredibly powerful speech left the entire room on their feet with a standing ovation.

Featured image: Nine Network.