Journalistic insights: Kristina Keneally heads toward a career in television Photo: Brendan Esposito
After spending much of her working life being interrogated by journalists, Kristina Keneally is about to turn the tables and get on the other side of the camera.
From next week she'll be co-hosting Channel Ten morning show Studio 10 as a stand-in for Ita Buttrose. This, and recent appearances on the Chaser team's live show called The Empty Vessel, are what she calls ''baby steps'' towards a new life as a media presenter.
Keneally is resigned to the notion that her obituary will start with this sentence: ''The former premier of NSW and the first woman to hold the office, Kristina Keneally, died today.''
But she wants the next few sentences to contain these details: she had a sense of humour, she was an engaging storyteller, and she had a journalist's knack of getting people to reveal interesting insights into themselves.
''I don't want the rest of my life to be living under the shadow of that one title,'' Keneally says. ''I'm proud of what I did as premier, but it's time to let other aspects of my personality emerge. I'd like to explore different ways of communicating.''
Last week, Keneally announced she was stepping down as chief executive of Basketball Australia so she could spend more time with her teenage sons. Any new role will have to accommodate her need to be home for dinner with the boys and her husband Ben, who is mayor of Botany Bay.
It will also need to let her pursue her causes: the Stillbirth Foundation, poverty in the Third World, reform of the Catholic church and reform of the Labor Party.
She admits she almost gave up on the last two: ''Here are the two institutions to whom I have given nearly every ounce of my … energy, and almost simultaneously they have displayed massive failures in living up to their highest ideals,'' she says.