After nearly 33 years in journalism that have included
interviews with plenty of politicians and business leaders including Bill
Gates, Jack Welch, Rupert Murdoch and just about all the local major Australian
CEOs, I’m sometimes asked who was the most memorable. The answer has always been Kerry Packer
first, daylight second.
I managed to get KP in front of a camera three times. He eventually sacked me or allowed one his
henchmen to do so, but those interviews – the first about protectionism (he was
all for it in the mid-80s), the second the day he sold Channel 9 to Bond and
the third as he was about to buy it back – were by far the most interesting I
have had the chance to attempt.
He simply carried a physical aura in those days that was
unmatched. Interviewing the boss is a no-win game – go soft and you have no
credibility, go hard and you’re a goose, but with Packer there was the extra
edge of dealing with someone never knowing whether you might cop a pat on the
back or a back hander.
The man who had a Parliamentary committee cowering before
was a most interesting challenge and, no, they don’t make them like that