Speakers Profile - Kerry O'Brien

Travels From:
Regional New South Wales/ACT

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Kerry O'Brien is one of the most prominent and respected names in Australian journalism. He has won many accolades, including the top award in journalism, the Gold Walkley.

In the past 40 years, he has worked in newspapers, wire service and television news and current affairs, as a general reporter, feature writer, political and foreign correspondent, interviewer and compere.

Born in Queensland, Kerry started as a news cadet with Channel Nine in Brisbane in 1966. His career highlights include a stint as AAP-Reuter's correspondent in Papua-New Guinea in 1969-70, three years as a senior reporter with This Day Tonight in the early seventies, two years with Four Corners from 1975-77 and again in 1985-86. He had three years as a press secretary, first for Labor leader Gough Whitlam in 1977 and then in the post-Whitlam era, with Deputy Labor leader, Lionel Bowen.

In 1983-84 he was the Seven Network's first North American Correspondent, in 1987 the ABC's Political Correspondent, in 1988-89, Ten Network's Political Editor, and for six years the compere/interviewer of the ABC's highly-respected Lateline program. In 1994-95 he also wrote a weekly national affairs column for Time Magazine.

Since December 1995, Kerry has been Editor and compere of The 7.30 Report, the ABC's national flagship current affairs program. He also anchors the ABC's election telecasts, and moderated the controversial 1993 election campaign debates.

The stories he has covered over the years include various election campaigns, the Whitlam dismissal, the 1984 U.S. Presidential election, the Grenada invasion, the Marcos Coup in the Philippines, Australia's historic win in the 1984 America's Cup, the Russian coup attempt that led to Yeltsin's replacement of Gorbachev, and many other events. For Lateline and The 7.30 Report, he has interviewed many world leaders including Barack Obama, Mandela, Thatcher and Gorbachev, and a diverse range of other top international figures.