Richard Carleton

Last updated

Richard Carleton
Born(1943-07-11)11 July 1943
Bowral, New South Wales, Australia
Died7 May 2006(2006-05-07) (aged 62)
Beaconsfield, Tasmania, Australia
Education Sydney Grammar School
Alma mater University of New South Wales
OccupationTelevision 60 Minutes journalist
Years active1967−2006
Notable credit(s)
This Day Tonight
The Carleton-Walsh Report
60 Minutes
Spouse(s)Sharon Carleton
ChildrenOliver Carleton, James Carleton, Jennifer Carleton

Richard George Carleton (11 July 1943 7 May 2006) was a multi-Logie Award winning Australian television journalist.



Carleton was born in Bowral, New South Wales. He was educated at Sydney Grammar School and graduated from the University of New South Wales. He was the third of four children - Joffre, Graeme, Richard and Joanne.

Bowral Town in New South Wales, Australia

Bowral is the largest town in the Southern Highlands of New South Wales, Australia, about ninety minutes south of Sydney. It is the main business and entertainment precinct of the Wingecarribee Shire and Highlands. At the 2016 census, the population of the Bowral area was 12,949.

New South Wales State of Australia

New South Wales is a state on the east coast of Australia. It borders Queensland to the north, Victoria to the south, and South Australia to the west. Its coast borders the Tasman Sea to the east. The Australian Capital Territory is an enclave within the state. New South Wales' state capital is Sydney, which is also Australia's most populous city. In September 2018, the population of New South Wales was over 8 million, making it Australia's most populous state. Just under two-thirds of the state's population, 5.1 million, live in the Greater Sydney area. Inhabitants of New South Wales are referred to as New South Welshmen.

Sydney Grammar School grammar school in Sydney, Australia

Sydney Grammar School is an independent, fee-paying, non-denominational, day school for boys, located in Darlinghurst, Edgecliff and St Ives, which are all suburbs of Sydney, Australia.

Television/journalism career


In the 1960s he was a reporter on This Day Tonight as well as being the presenter of ‘State of the Nation’, both on the ABC. He continued these roles until he left for a role on 2GB Radio in 1976, followed by what began as a lifelong love of travelling and researching overseas, producing films in Indonesia (including being the only journalist to be allowed to visit the newly "integrated" East Timor) and the Middle East. Carleton joined the BBC in London in 1977 for the Tonight program, before returning to Australia in 1979.

This Day Tonight (TDT) was an Australian Broadcasting Commission (ABC) evening current affairs program from 1967 to 1978.

The Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC) is Australia's national broadcaster founded in 1929. It is currently principally funded by direct grants from the Australian government, but is expressly independent of government and partisan politics. The ABC plays a leading role in journalistic independence and is fundamental in the history of broadcasting in Australia.

2GB radio station

2GB is a commercial radio station in Sydney, Australia broadcasting on 873 kHz, AM. In 2010, 2GB held 14.7% of the total radio ratings share, making it the most widely listened-to radio station in Sydney.

Carleton is probably most famously known for a comment made to the incoming federal Australian Labor Party leader Bob Hawke in 1983: "Mr. Hawke, could I ask you whether you feel a little embarrassed tonight at the blood that's on your hands?" [1] [2] which was a reference to the alleged involvement of Hawke in the resignation of former Labor leader, Bill Hayden. The question outraged Hawke, who criticized Carleton for his "damned impertinence". [3]

Australian Labor Party Political party in Australia

The Australian Labor Party is a major centre-left political party in Australia. The party has been in opposition at the federal level since the 2013 election. Bill Shorten has been the party's federal parliamentary leader since 13 October 2013. Since the party's defeat in the 2019 federal election, Bill Shorten has signalled his resignation and will be replaced with a new leader. The party is a federal party with branches in each state and territory. Labor is in government in the states of Victoria, Queensland, Western Australia, and in both the Australian Capital Territory and Northern Territory. The party competes against the Liberal/National Coalition for political office at the federal and state levels. It is the oldest political party in Australia.

Bob Hawke Australian politician, 23rd Prime Minister of Australia

Robert James Lee Hawke was an Australian politician who served as Prime Minister of Australia and Leader of the Labor Party from 1983 to 1991. A member of the Labor Party, Hawke served as Member of Parliament (MP) for Wills from 1980 to 1992.

Bill Hayden former Governor-General of Australia

William George Hayden is a former Australian politician who served as the 21st Governor-General of Australia, in office from 1989 to 1996. He had earlier been leader of the Labor Party from 1977 to 1983, as well as serving as a cabinet minister in the Whitlam and Hawke Governments.

Carleton ran for election in 1983 as the staff representative on the ABC Board. He was defeated by Tom Molomby, who wrote: "His was a remarkable policy statement, the most blatant demonstration of political cynicism (I cannot believe it was the only other alternative, stupidity) which I have ever seen in an ABC election.". [4] During 1986, Carleton was a co-presenter of The Carleton-Walsh Report on the ABC, with financial journalist Max Walsh.

Maximilian Sean Walsh is an Australian economic and political commentator, journalist, author and broadcaster. Walsh has held senior positions with two of Australia's largest publishing companies and television networks.

Nine Network

In 1987 Carleton began his most famous television journalism role, as a reporter on 60 Minutes . In a career with the program that spanned almost 20 years, he visited many locations around the world investigating political climates. In 2006 he and producer Stephen Rice visited Chernobyl and were given unprecedented access to the sarcophagus built over the ruined nuclear reactor, including a brief visit to the abandoned control room. [5] Carleton was parodied on the Australian sketch-comedy shows Fast Forward and Comedy Inc. for his perceived over-prominence on 60 Minutes.

<i>60 Minutes</i> (Australian TV program) an Australian version of the U.S. television newsmagazine show 60 Minutes

60 Minutes is an Australian version of the U.S. television newsmagazine show 60 Minutes airing on Sunday nights on the Nine Network. A New Zealand version uses segments of the show.

Stephen Rice is an Australian journalist, author and television producer.

Chernobyl City of district significance in Kiev Oblast, Ukraine

Chernobyl is a city in the restricted Chernobyl Exclusion Zone situated in the Ivankiv Raion of northern Kyiv Oblast, near Ukraine's border with Belarus. Chernobyl is about 90 kilometres (56 mi) northeast of Kyiv, and approximately 140 kilometres (87 mi) southwest of the Belarusian city of Gomel and 16 km [10 mi] from Ukraine’s border with Belarus. The city was the administrative center of Chernobyl Raion (district) from 1923 until it was disestablished in 1988. Before its evacuation, the city had about 14,000 residents.

In July 2000, the ABC's Media Watch program accused Carleton of plagiarizing the BBC documentary A Cry from the Grave. Carleton denied the claims, suing the Australian Broadcasting Corporation for defamation. In 2002 the case was heard and the judge found that while Carleton had "misled his audience by misrepresenting a mass grave site shown in the program, and that 60 Minutes had copied film directly from the British documentary", [6] the allegations made by Media Watch were in fact untrue and had defamed Carleton. Carleton was greatly relieved by the ruling. [7] (However the judge also found Media Watch was entitled to express the views it formed and eventually awarded costs against Channel Nine and to the ABC. [6] ). Media Watch themselves claimed that Carleton had interpreted the judgement as favoring him, that it didn't, and they refused to apologise. [8] [9]

Carleton won five Penguin Awards and three Logie Awards during his time with 60 Minutes and at the ABC.


Carleton had experienced a number of health scares, the first in 1988 when he underwent heart bypass surgery, which was filmed for 60 Minutes, and another in 2003 when he suffered a heart attack. [10] In 2005 he was diagnosed with prostate cancer. [11] On 7 May 2006, Carleton collapsed from a massive heart attack during a press conference at the Beaconsfield gold mine, shortly after questioning mine manager Matthew Gill on previous safety issues at the site. [12] First-hand reports from the scene indicated that Carleton had a weak pulse when taken by ambulance to the Launceston General Hospital and that he had been puffing and gasping not long before he collapsed. Carleton died at 2:12 p.m, in the ambulance on the way to hospital. [13] [14] His last words were:

In the telemovie about the incident, Beaconsfield, Carleton was played by Steve Vizard. [16]

In 2017 his garden was featured on the television program Gardening Australia and was introduced by his wife Sharon. [17]

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  1. "Mr. Hawke how does it feel to have blood on your hands?". Archived from the original on 7 August 2011.
  2. "Richard Carleton, A Face From The Dismissal, Dies, 62". Retrieved 7 September 2013.
  3. Richard Carleton interview with Bob Hawke on YouTube
  4. Molomby, Tom, Is there a moderate on the roof? ABC Years, William Heinemann Australia, Port Melbourne, 1991, p.163
  5. "Inside Chernobyl". 60 Minutes Australia, Nine Network Australia. 16 April 2006.
  6. 1 2 "Media Watch: Richard Carleton" . Retrieved 6 May 2006.
  7. "The World Today". Australian Broadcasting Corporation. 18 December 2002. Retrieved 9 August 2011.
  8. "The World Today". Australian Broadcasting Corporation. 18 December 2002. Retrieved 9 August 2011.
  9. "Carleton fails to win defamation damages" 18 December 2002 Sydney Morning Herald
  10. "Carleton dies on front line". Sydney, NSW, Australia: The Sydney Morning Herald. 8 May 2006.
  11. "Carleton calm about cancer". Melbourne: The Age. 19 March 2006.
  12. "Veteran reporter Richard Carleton dies at mine site". Nine MSN.
  13. "Veteran reporter Richard Carleton dead". Nine MSN.
  14. "TV reporter dies at gold mine". Archived from the original on 10 May 2006.
  15. "Journalist Richard Carleton dies". ABC News.
  16. Byrne, Fiona (1 July 2011). "Steve Vizard to play the late Richard Carleton in Beaconsfield series". Herald Sun. Retrieved 25 March 2017.