Who the hell is Kim Williams?

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Now that the ALP leadership spill has been mopped up, former News Ltd senior executive Rodney E. Lever answers the questions that has been plaguing Australians for over a week: just who in far-reaches of hell is Kim Williams?

(Image courtesy Alex Ellinhausen / Fairfax media.)
(Image courtesy Alex Ellinhausen / Fairfax media.)

THE QUESTION all concerned Australians should be asking today is: why is Keith Rupert Murdoch not here to present his own case to the Senate? Is he afraid of another pie in the face?

Does his third wife Wendi Deng exert so much influence over the old guy now she won’t let him come? She has been given the cold shoulder by the rest of the Murdoch family because she is pushy and because she has achieved an intimacy with him and a power over him that others in the family never could?

It is an insult to all Australians that Murdoch declines to stand before our elected representatives and tell us exactly what he intends to do for us and to us.

Kim Williams took over Murdoch’s Australian interests just 18 months ago. Most Australians had never heard of him until his soccer-ball head and black framed glasses appeared on TV this week.

The little we know is that he once was the husband of a woman named Kathy Lette who, with a friend, some 40 years ago wrote a briefly popular novel called Puberty Blues, about two 13-year-old girls who mooned over male surfing freaks.

The book was turned into an unlamented Channel 10 TV series last year.  She has a web page, which she herself describes as “deranged,” and has written some more books, including one named Men - A User’s Guide.

We also know that Williams was once a composer of music and that he has never been a journalist or worked in newspapers before, and that he reads The Australian every day.

When he broke with Lette, he married Catherine Dovey, one of the Whitlam family (Gough’s late wife Margaret was a Dovey and Catherine changed her name to avoid the attention).

He loves opera, was once chairman of the Sydney Opera House, and is friends with James Packer and Lachlan Murdoch.

So that’s how he got the job of running Rupert’s Australian pay TV operations and is now  the reigning monarch of the Murdoch interests in Australia, which means that he will be passing on the day to day orders from the old man in Park Avenue, New York.

If Tony Abbott becomes our next prime minister, he will pay close attention.

According to author Paul Barry, who studied Williams’ background for a listing in the Power Index, he is a micro-manager who insists on supervising every detail on every matter that crosses his desk and is constantly on the phone to Rupert.

Paul Barry also reports that a Williams intimate has described him as a genius, “persistent, bright, competitive and “just the man Murdoch needs to make money out of papers on the internet”.

“But,” says Barry’s source:

“Kim has no experience in journalism. He has a deep disdain for journalists, because they are outsiders and he is an insider. Managing journalists will be his biggest problem.”

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