Channel Nine political editor Laurie Oakes has announced his retirement, ending a 50-year career in journalism.
The 73-year-old made the announcement on Thursday afternoon, claiming he was slowing down and “It’s time.”
“I don’t think there’s anything special about Laurie Oakes,” he told 774 ABC Radio Melbourne.
“I’m a bit of a fixture, I’ve been in the same job for a good while, I’ve got a bit of experience and learned a few tricks over the years.”
Mr Oakes said he enjoyed the job, but it had taken its toll.
“I’ve loved every moment of being a political journalist. It’s a job that matters, it’s full of fascinating characters, full of high drama,” Oakes said.
“But it’s hard work and to do the job properly you have to live it, I’ve slowed down.”
“I’ll stay interested in politics but I’ll watch it from a distance like most normal people.”
The veteran journalist’s career has outlasted 14 Australian prime ministers, a highlight being his appointment as Canberra Bureau Chief for Melbourne’s The Sun newspaper, but he is best known for his career in television as Channel Nine’s political editor.
However, he said he had become disillusioned by the state of politics, summing up Australian politics as “a mess”.
“It’s a pretty big turn off for voters just the same and I’m a bit turned off by it too which makes this decision easier,” Oakes said.
Nine Network director of News and Current Affairs Darren Wick said in a 600-word memo to staff, Oakes’ decision to retire “marks a milestone for our News division, our Network and, frankly, for our nation.”
“It’s with immense pride, admiration and gratitude that we thank Laurie for this contribution to Nine,” Mr Wick said.
Oakes will officially retire on August 18, at the end of the next sitting fortnight.