Phil Dickie Ė brief biographical details
Phil Dickie was born at the tail end of the baby boom (1955) in the bayside area of Brisbane. He went to Canberra to study forestry but ended up editing a student newspaper. On being eventually expelled into the workforce he worked for the public service and freelanced for a motorcycle magazine.
The Courier-Mail said "Donít call us, weíll call you" in response to a 1982 application to return to Queensland and write about something other than motorcycles so he went to Nambour instead and subjected the Maroochy Shire Council to an unusual degree of scrutiny. The Courier-Mail then offered him a job writing about motorcycles and the Sunday Mail, not then under very tight or consistent editorial control, allowed him to write about just about anything.
In late 1986 a delve into Brisbane brothel ownership turned into a series of articles which fingered police up to assistant commissioner level with involvement in franchising vice and organising crime. The articles, together with an ABC Four Corners program, forced the government to call an inquiry which ran for two years and heard revelations of police corruption all the way up to the Commissionerís office and political corruption all the way up to the Premierís suite. The inquiry brought down Sir Joh Bjelke-Petersen a few months short of his 20th anniversary in office. The electorate, now educated, ended 30 years of conservative rule at the next available opportunity.
Phil Dickie received Australian journalismís highest award, a Gold Walkley, for the work leading to the Fitzgerald inquiry and his bestselling book, The Road to Fitzgerald, remains required reading on investigative journalism in universities around Australia.
Following the inquiry, Phil Dickie became a special advisor to the newly formed Criminal Justice Commission, researching more or less organised crime. Four years on, with the CJC committing itself to a traditional rather than effective response to crime, Phil Dickie left to pursue a career as a freelance journalist, commentator, consultant and house husband.
Among other endeavours, Phil Dickie has taught a course in investigative journalism, investigated dubious property marketing practices for the State government, and established a reputation for environmental writing and consulting.
He also wrote The Sunday Mail column "Watching" which was innovative for Queensland in not being about him or guided by popular prejudice. This column was (intentionally) highly upsetting to the trade of authority and lasted three and a half years longer than the author expected.