It’s time for the annual Gold Logie countdown, and first we begin with 2016 winner, Waleed Aly.
After graduating university in 2002 with a Bachelor of Engineering (Chemical) and Bachelor of Laws (with Honours), Waleed worked as an associate for a judge in Melbourne and was invited to the 2020 conference in 2008. He is the head of affairs for the Islamic Council of Victoria (and a member of its executive committee), which saw him appear regularly on current affairs and news programs for interviews. His social and political commentary appears regularly in newspapers.
In 2007, he was an adviser for Channel Seven’s City Homicide, using his knowledge of Islam for an episode. Waleed hosted a television program called Big Ideas in 2008, which comprised of talk events from across the country and overseas, in universities, bookshops and festivals, discussing intellectual, political and economic topics. The series aired until 2014.
Also in 2008, he was a writer for the series Salem Cafe, which presented a light-hearted and humorous view on his life as a Muslim in Australia, through panel discussions and a series of sketched that lampoon the representation of Muslims in Australia and the Islamic way of life.
Over the years, Waleed has also appeared in various ABC programs, including The Einstein Factor, Mad As Hell, as well as Q&A. He was also a regular on ABC Radio.
Throughout all this, Waleed started appearing on The Project as a regular guest in 2009, and his popularity on the program saw him join the show full-time as a co-host in January 2015, leaving his radio program in 2014.
This switch to primetime TV saw Aly and The Project producer Tom Whitty, finalists for two Our Watch Awards (The Walkley Foundation), for exemplary reporting to end violence against women, and their viral editorial ‘Show Me The Money (Domestic Violence Funding)’. Aly and Whitty finished the year with a Walkley nomination for Excellence in Journalism in All Media Commentary, Analysis, Opinion and Critque, for a series of editorials that appeared on The Project throughout the year.
One of his most memorable pieces saw him criticise the extremist group Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) in a four-minute monologue titled ‘What ISIL Wants’ on The Project, in the wake of the November 2015 Paris attacks. Labelling them as “bastards” and calling for no on to fear them because “they are weak”, the video was written by Aly and Whitty and received enormous attention with just a few hours of being online. At last count, it had over 30 million views on YouTube.
In 2016, Waleed was nominated for two Logie Awards, one for Best Presenter, and the Gold Logie, both of which he won. In his acceptance, he spoke powerfully and generously of the diversity that the Gold Logie field represented. Later in the year, Aly was Liberty Victoria’s winner of the Voltaire Award for Free Speech, and also has dinner with Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull.
His work on The Project was once again up for two Our Watch Awards (TheWalkley Foundation) for exemplarly reporting to end violence against women, for the viral editorial ‘Click Something Else.’ In September, Aly and Whitty were also again nominated (and won) a United Nations Association of Australia Media Peace Award for Social Cohesion, with their ‘Send Forgiveness Viral’ monologue. In October, Aly and Whitty received two Walkley nominations for Excellence in Journalism.
Waleed was nominated for the Gold again in 2017 but missed out on back-to-back wins on the top award but managed to secure the presenting silver.
He continues to host The Project and doing editorals like “Speak Even if your voice shakes which was in response to Cyber bulling and had a one on one interview with Jacinta Ardern just days after the Christchurch massacre earlier this year.
On Sunday, Waleed has the opportunity to take home his third Logie as Best Presenter, but also a good chance at taking out his second Gold Logie. Can he take home the top award again?