Roberta Williams, 48, is a mother of five and lives in Essendon, Melbourne.
But today, she is best known as the widow of Carl Williams who was killed in a Victorian prison by a fellow inmate while serving a life sentence for the murder of Michael Marshall, Jason Moran, Lewis Moran, Mark Mallia and conspiracy to murder Mario Condello.
The character of Carl Williams was portrayed by Gyton Grantley in the 2008 series of Underbelly. Mr Williams was central to the Melbourne gangland wars from 1995 up to his arrest in 2004.
But yesterday, Ms Williams announced she will be running as candidate in the seat of Maribyrnong in Melbourne’s West, against Opposition Leader Bill Shorten.
“So many wrongs have been done to me and other people,” she told reporters outside her Melbourne home this weekend. “That I believe need to be fixed and the Government at the moment doesn’t seem to know how to do that.”
Williams has had a markedly different life to Shorten.
Shorten was born in Melbourne, to a father who was employed as a waterside worker and union official, and mother who was a lawyer and university academic. He attended Xavier College, one of Melbourne’s most prestigious high schools, before studying at Monash University.
Williams was also born in Melbourne, to a father who was killed in a truck accident when she was only a baby. For most of her childhood, Williams endured abuse at the hands of her mother, and her mother’s boyfriends. She has shared memories of being beaten with a kettle cord, being locked out of her house in freezing cold weather, and having her head held underwater in the bathtub.
Once, Williams recalls, her mother attempted to pour nail polish remover in her eyes as a form of punishment.