LLB 1994, BA 1992
Geoff Thompson is a journalist with the Australian Broadcasting Corporation, and completed his LLB at the University of Sydney in 1994.
He was appointed the Indonesia ABC Correspondent in April 2006 and is based in Jakarta, and prior to this (2002-2005) Geoff was the South Asia correspondent covering India, Afghanistan, Sri Lanka, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Nepal and Bhutan from the ABC's regional bureau in New Delhi.
In addition to his work in South Asia, he also played a key role in Middle East coverage, travelling throughout Kuwait and Iraq with US forces during the war on Iraq in early 2003. His reporting of the American war against the Taliban and Al-Qaeda forces in Afghanistan won Geoff an Australian Logie award for Australia's Most Outstanding News Reporter. Geoff's embedded reporting from Iraq with cameraman Michael Cox in 2003 was also recognised with a another Logie award for Most Outstanding News Coverage.
Before his posting to New Delhi, Geoff was the ABC's South-East Asia correspondent based in Bangkok. He spent many months in East Timor, reporting the independence referendum and the violence that followed, and was part of the ABC's team covering the coup in Fiji.
His experience includes reporting for ABC radio and TV news and current affairs programs in Australia and for Australian newspapers. Geoff is the winner of three prestigious Walkley Awards - Australia's most-respected journalism awards - two for ABC Radio and the other for ABC TV.
Where has the study of law taken you in your career and/or life in general?
I had wanted to work as a foreign correspondent since high school and originally enrolled in journalism courses, but the sight of students lolling around the green grounds of Sydney Uni’s main campus changed my mind. I can’t say I was ever a fan of the Law School’s city campus, but it was there that I found my best life-long friends. It was also where I discovered some of the most satisfying courses of my whole seven years at University. I also edited Honi Soit and Polemic, which put me in touch with Richard Ackland, a wonderful mentor. While I never intended to practice, the law gave me an eye for detail, an ability to cram towards deadlines and the confidence not to be intimidated by the big end of town – all crucial journalistic tools.
What is your fondest memory of your time at Sydney Law School?
Riding my bike through Hyde Park on my way there and riding home again.
What one piece of advice would you give to law students today?
Looking back I can see how the law or any profession can eventually give you the opportunity to be your own boss – something which is harder to achieve in journalism. There are some people with real passion for the law, but I do think that the law can be something people fall into because they got the HSC marks and can’t think of what else to do. Law School can be a great place to work out what you really want to do while getting a degree that is never a disadvantage. I guess I’d say this to anyone young and looking to their future: have the courage to author your own life.