Ms Annika Smethurst is a multi-award-winning journalist and the State Political Editor at The Age newspaper in Melbourne.
Ms Smethurst commenced her print career in Bendigo in 2009 where she juggled Honours studies with a near full-time job at the Bendigo Weekly newspaper.
Upon graduating she was selected as the winner of a cadetship with the Herald and Weekly Times, marking the beginning of her successful rise with News Corp which lasted almost 10 years.
As a reporter there, she played an important role covering the Jill Meagher missing person case and homicide investigation, and as a testament to her talent and work ethic, Ms Smethurst was promoted within six months of her cadetship to State Political Reporter for the popular masthead.
She later joined the Canberra bureau in 2015 as Federal Political Reporter. In 2017 she became the National Political Editor for the Sunday News Corp mastheads writing for papers including the Sunday Telegraph, Sunday Herald Sun and Sunday Mail.
During her time with New Corp, Ms Smethurst established herself as an outstanding reporter and truly made her mark in the Australian journalism scene.
Her explosive front-page stories have held the powerful to account and, in a few cases, led to some high-profile resignations including former Speaker of the House of Representatives, The Hon. Bronwyn Bishop; and Federal Health Minister, The Hon. Sussan Ley.
For her work on these high-profile stories, she has been recognised with two Walkley awards and two Melbourne Quill awards. During her time covering federal politics, she was also twice named the Canberra Press Gallery’s Journalist of the Year.
More recently, Ms Smethurst is probably most well known as the journalist whose home was raided by the Australian Federal Police (AFP) in 2019. The year prior, Ms Smethurst had received a scoop on leaked secret plans to widen the domestic spying powers of the Australian Signals Directorate (ASD), cousin to the Australian Security Intelligence Organisation (ASIO) and the Australian Secret Intelligence Service (ASIS). The way in which this raid was conducted made headline news nationally, and prompted a debate about press freedom in Australia.
In 2020, Ms Smethurst successfully won a High Court challenge against the search warrant, with the court finding the actions were unlawful on technical grounds. The AFP later confirmed that it would not pursue charges against her for her story.
From this experience, Ms Smethurst had become a voice for press freedom in Australia. In 2020, she authored a book On Secrets, which was recounting her experience being raided by the AFP and sharing the impact this invasion has had on her life, while also examining the importance of press freedom and individual privacy.
In 2021, she began her current role with The Age. Her second book, The Accidental Prime Minister is a revealing biography which tells the personal and political life of Scott Morrison.
Ms Smethurst has a Bachelor of Arts with Honours from Monash University.