Home Global Politics Pam Williams, winner of six Walkley awards, retires after 30 years in journalism

Pam Williams, winner of six Walkley awards, retires after 30 years in journalism

by Good News

PoliticsFederalMedia & marketingIn a profession at The Australian Financial Review spanning more than 30 years, and overlaying politics and enterprise, with a series of foremost scoops and six Walkley Awards, Pamela Williams has keep away her notepad – for now, anyway.

Jun 24, 2022 – 5.00am

Pamela Williams, idea to be one of Australia’s most adorned journalists and the winner of six Walkley Awards, is retiring after practically 30 years of working for The Australian Financial Review.

“Pam Williams became idea to be some of the Financial Review’s ideal journalists over its 70-Three hundred and sixty five days history without any of the frequent formal practicing or background,” talked about the paper’s editor-in-chief, Michael Stutchbury.

“Nonetheless she brought at the side of her one needed of tall investigative journalism: a dogged compulsion to shriek each the essence and minute detail of some of the most tall industrial, political and enterprise events of her time,” Stutchbury talked about.

Then-opposition leader Bill Shorten and Pamela Williams at some level of the 2019 election marketing campaign. 

“She is a bloodhound who will relentlessly agree to any paper run, but she is aware of any story begins and ends with of us,” recalled colleague and one-time Financial Review formulation editor Judith Hoare. “If she will be able to be able to’t salvage in the entrance door, the befriend will enact. And she in no arrangement presents up.”

“Pam Williams is a superlative investigative journalist who has produced an inconceivable body of labor at the side of a inch of detailed, forensic exposes overlaying each politics and enterprise, a uncommon feat,” talked about Paul Bailey, editor of the Financial Review.

Williams’ entry into a craft with its half of bruised egos, thwarted ambitions and befriend-biting is a memoir of unprecedented courage and expertise, but also a tribute to the creative vitality of a 1980s-period Australian journalism peaceable unshackled by the stifling influence of credentialism.

As a single mother historical 30, Williams nursed her mortally sick daughter, Zoe, for four years sooner than her loss of life on the age of 9. “I had nothing. I had lost all the pieces – no job, no daughter, no family,” she talked about.

“After her loss of life, I needed to search out one thing I will be capable of also enact, so I sure I will be capable of also write. I came in sideways by mainly writing articles and sending them to magazines.”

She secured a location with Computer Weekly, and became as soon as later employed by BRW magazine, a sister newsletter of the Financial Review, in 1985. Williams moved to the Financial Review two years later, below editor Alan Kohler, and became the paper’s industrial relatives reporter.

This unprecedented progression “framed my future as a political and enterprise journalist”, she talked about on Thursday.

It became as soon as also framed by more than three decades of turmoil at her employer, John Fairfax. This began with Warwick Fairfax’s disastrous, debt-laden takeover of the firm, receivership, the Conrad Shadowy ownership period, a revolving door of CEOs and, in some arrangement, its takeover by 9 Entertainment in 2019.

At some stage in that duration Williams has been the Financial Review’s news editor, a foreign correspondent, editor-at-giant, and “deep dive” nationwide correspondent, producing foremost items on the waterfront strikes in 1998, the gradual ’90s company boilover on the NRMA, and the inside story of the Liberal Occasion’s smashing 1996 federal election victory.

Williams has also been the NSW govt producer of the ABC’s 7.30 Chronicle (1992-94) and a senior author at The Australian (2014-2019).

Pamela Williams in Unique York in September 2001, working from a desk on the pause of her mattress. 

She moved to Rupert Murdoch’s flagship Australian paper after authoring Killing Fairfax: Packer, Murdoch and the Ideal Revenge. This examined the in the befriend of-the-scenes honest played by prominent people of the Murdoch and Packer groups in the turmoil and closing downfall of John Fairfax, which printed the Financial Review, The Age and The Sydney Morning Herald, amongst other titles.

Williams has been awarded six Walkley Awards, at the side of the Gold Walkley in 1998 for her series, A Thought To Smash A Union, investigating the 1997-98 waterfront disputes in Melbourne, Sydney and Fremantle.

Her other awards consist of the 1998 Graham Perkin Australian Journalist of the Three hundred and sixty five days Award, a Melbourne Press Membership Quill Award, the College of Technology George Munster Award, and the Citi Journalism Award for Excellence. She has also been quick-listed 9 occasions for Walkley Awards.

The befriend-story about how Williams secured the inside story on the Liberal Occasion’s winning marketing campaign in the 1996 federal election is emblematic of her “in no arrangement whisper die” arrangement.

“Hywood [Gregory Hywood, the Financial Review’s editor-in-chief at the time] became as soon as the fellow who had the premise. He wished me to enact one facet of the marketing campaign, and we decided to enact the Liberal facet.”

Hywood and Williams approached Liberal leader John Howard to stable inside entry to the Liberal Occasion’s marketing campaign battle room. “He wrote us a letter announcing completely no longer, but we pulled it off. Hywood talked about: ‘I don’t care. Correct enact it’.”

In the kill, Andrew Robb, the Liberal Occasion’s federal director, who became as soon as guilty of marketing campaign plot, allowed “restricted entry contained in the marketing campaign battle room”.

Pamela Williams with Lachlan Murdoch (left) and James Packer. 

Every other key figure in the Liberal marketing campaign became as soon as Peter Costello, then-deputy leader of the Liberal Occasion, who became as soon as federal treasurer from 1996-2007, chairman of the Future Fund, and is now chairman of 9 Entertainment, which publishes the Financial Review.

Williams recalls Costello and fellow young lawyer Michael Kroger yelling out from a passing tram “you’re a disgrace” rapidly after their first assembly. “He became as soon as a ferocious young barrister making his payment attacking unions. It’s ironic that we each ended up at Fairfax.

Instructed about Williams’ retirement, Costello talked about: “Pam became as soon as an distinctive journalist. She broke tales, and she made you feel you were there seeing them to your self in exact life.

“After she cottoned on to some assembly that you tried to capture secret she would request whether it became as soon as raining outside, who ate the pork and who ate the chicken, what became as soon as the wine. She painted a dispute. And in case you were a offer she became as soon as inconceivable to salvage off the phone, no longer unless she had bled every limited detail out of you.”

George Trumbull, the AMP chief govt, posing in a Native American headdress in 1999.  Angela Brkic

As Williams says, “we constructed a respectful relationship in later years”.

Every other smartly-known Williams scoop became as soon as dramatically launched by the Financial Review in August 1999, with a entrance-online page dispute of AMP chief govt and outspoken US enterprise govt import George Trumbull, wearing a fat Native American headdress.

“I had gone to interview Trumbull,” Williams recalls. “After the interview became as soon as carried out about what George Trumbull idea in regards to the sphere and Australia, he attacked Australian businessmen and regarded them as ‘yellow-bellied cowards’.

“He confirmed me his trophies, at the side of a big headdress with blue and white feathers. I managed to persuade Trumbull to put it on. It became idea to be some of the incredible photography of a chief govt ever on the entrance online page of the Financial Review.”

Looking out befriend on her profession, she says the foremost highlights beget doubtlessly been “the tall publish-election series” after federal elections relationship befriend to 1996, apart from 2001, when she became as soon as basically based fully mostly in Unique York, and the most in model, Would maybe well perchance 21, 2022, poll, when she became as soon as on clinical travel away.

July 2002 with The Sphere in Battery Park. The sculpture sat between the twin towers and miraculously survived the assaults of September 11. 

In addition, “lengthy-working exposes on things just like the Howard executive’s plans to smash the waterfront unions, investigations on AMP, NRMA and Telstra company battles, and politics of each stripe, especially the coups against leaders like Kevin Rudd, Julia Gillard, Tony Abbott and Malcolm


Referring to her rapidly-to-be editorial alma mater, Williams says the Financial Review is “a phenomenal jewel field with its natty blue masthead and its skill to surprise”.

“The ‘Fin’ has lengthy had an outsize power as a result of its form out the confluence of politics and enterprise, and I’ve been a fortunate author to beget had free rein to disguise each. Every editor I’ve labored below has had the paper’s influential history and phenomenal honest in the most extremely effective shifts in the financial system and politics on their thoughts.”

Williams pioneered a fresh arrangement of overlaying election campaigns in Australia with cruise-on-the-wall accounts from burrowing in the befriend of the scenes in marketing campaign battle rooms and on the facet twin carriageway at some level of the election.

“Immense newspapers marketing campaign on the substantive issues of the day and this has intended the Financial Review holds a foremost location in our country,” Williams says.

So does Pamela Williams. Per Judith Hoare, her “singular form out how the limited dispute companies and products the tall dispute has shattered careers in politics and enterprise. One infamous businessman opined ‘she fried me like an egg’.

“Nonetheless Pam likes of us, and they belief her and heaps found she will be able to be able to also merely even be no longer easy to shake off. She has courage, tenacity and large generosity to others inside her chosen occupation of which she is a shining exemplar.”

“We the readers will travel away out her,” says Peter Costello. Nonetheless no longer fully. “We hope Pam will proceed to seem in our pages infrequently,” talked about Stutchbury.

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Web out moreRead MoreAndrew ClarkSenior writerAndrew Clark is a mature editor of The Sun-Herald and Australian Industry. He became as soon as a correspondent in Europe and North The US, a political correspondent in Canberra and has been a journalist for more than 55 years. Email Andrew at [email protected]

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