Making Australia a better place
Kim Williams AM presents the 2016 Kenneth Myer Lecture
31 August 2016
How would you make Australia a better place?
This is the question Kim Williams AM will be addressing when he delivers the 2016 Kenneth Myer Lecture in Canberra on 7 September and in Melbourne later in the year. And it’s a question at the forefront of many minds, as the 45th Federal Parliament wrestles with issues ranging from corporate tax to marriage equality.
The Kenneth Myer Lecture has been a major event in the National Library’s calendar since it began in 1990. Initially hosted by the Friends of the National Library, the lecture was named for Kenneth Baillieu Myer AC, Chairman of the National Library Council from 1972 to 1982. Since 2015, the Kenneth Myer Lecture has been generously supported by The Myer Foundation.
Kenneth Baillieu Myer was a visionary Australian philanthropist and businessman. He contributed to an extensive range of institutions and causes through significant personal donations, enthusiastic participation on boards, and his involvement in the Sydney Myer Fund and The Myer Foundation.
Over the years, the lecture has been presented by a panoply of eminent Australians: from the Hon. Gough Whitlam AC QC to Professor Fiona Stanley; and most recently Nobel Prize recipient Professor Brian Schmidt AC and former Australian of the Year, Professor Mick Dodson AM, FASSA.
The prescription for the annual lecture is simple and based on the views of Kenneth Myer. As a businessman and philanthropist with wide cultural and social commitments, he saw the lecture as an opportunity for an eminent Australian to make a significant statement on a broad subject of particular interest to them.
It is fitting that this year’s lecturer is also a philanthropist and businessman with wide cultural and social commitments.
Described as a ‘builder of institutions’, Kim Williams AM was the founder and Chairman of the Australian Film Finance Corporation and served on a wide variety of other arts boards over the last 3 decades including as the Chairman of the Sydney Opera House Trust from 2005 until 2013. He is Chair of the Copyright Agency Ltd. He is on the boards of the Australian National Academy of Music, the University of Western Sydney Foundation, the Myer Foundation and serves as a Commissioner of the Australian Football League.
His professional life has also seen him serve as Chief Executive at News Corp Australia, FOXTEL, Fox Studios Australia, the Australian Film Commission, Southern Star Entertainment and Musica Viva Australia. His memoir, Rules of Engagement, is a very personal account of his experience of power, politics and the media.
While inspiring others to support the arts, Kim is also a generous supporter in his own right, having regularly made large gifts to many of Australia’s cultural institutions as well as commissioning new works by Australian composers and playrights.
As a lifelong champion of the arts, Kim Williams has led by example—through his distinguished career in the arts and entertainment industry, his generosity and his advocacy to governments and the corporate sector.
But the question is: how would Kim Williams make Australia a better place? Will he talk about the arts, philanthropy, Australia’s copyright framework? Perhaps he will reflect on digital disruption or the need for all Australians to access their own stories. Or maybe, just maybe, there is something else he is feeling passionate about.
Feature image: Three young people sitting in shallow water at Brighton Beach, Melbourne, Victoria, ca. 1925, nla.obj-137413925