Vale Mike Willesee, 1942 – 2019
The Willesee family loomed large in my childhood. The late Senator Don, Mike’s Father, was a friend, parliamentary and cabinet colleague of my father. We watched in amazement the surge of Don’s and the late Gwen’s children into journalism. None more innovatively and prominently than Mike.
He won every honour, including Logies, a journalist could get. He hosted Today Tonight, Four Corners, A Current Affair, Willesee at Seven and a variety of current affairs productions both current and experimental.
He was the bane of the political class in the 1960’s, 70’s and 80’s, still with punch in the 90’s. Always controversial, respected and despised but a major player in the Golden Age of Australian Television. This was recognised in 2002 when he was inducted into the TV Week Logies Hall of Fame. He was still going on the Seven Network, having previously been heavily engaged with the ABC and Nine, during the time of the Gillard Government.
Very ill in his later years he also returned to his Roman Catholic roots, speaking out with courage of his beliefs and his experience with faith.
He was a larger than life figure. An inspiration to those who aspire to journalism that keeps society and politics accountable. We will not see his like again but West Australians can be proud we nurtured him.
Deepest condolences to his siblings and family.
The Honourable Kim Beazley AC, Governor of Western Australia