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Martin McKenzie-Murray on the culture of timidity in political speechwriting

Martin McKenzie-Murray on the culture of timidity in political speechwriting

When I meet with Martin McKenzie-Murray, a former speechwriter for a Federal department during the Rudd government’s first time in office, his frustration at the structure and culture of Canberra speechwriting is palpable: “I was never the speechwriter there, I would say, because the culture of the place was the speechwriter. A million people would […]

Tom Switzer on political ventriloquism and the pace of speechwriting

Tom Switzer on political ventriloquism and the pace of speechwriting

When I speak with Tom Switzer, he tells me he’s envious of me as I’m the second person he knows who has met Boris Johnson on his Melbourne trip. The week before, the infamous London Mayor – a former editor of The Spectator, the Australian edition of which Switzer himself edits – appeared at the […]

James Button on the death of the campaign speech

James Button on the death of the campaign speech

In 2008 during the Democratic presidential primaries, Hillary Clinton repeated an adage made famous by former New York governor Mario Cuomo: “You campaign in poetry, you govern in prose.” She didn’t mention Barack Obama by name, but her audience knew the comment’s target. It was intended as a rebuke to a man who was regarded […]

Tony Abbott, ebook author

Tony Abbott, ebook author

Today, Tony Abbott, like Australia’s own Hannah Horvath, announced the publication of an ebook. Titled The Little Book of Big Labor Waste — invoking perhaps the wildly successful late-90s Little Book of Calm — the Coalition’s new work takes as its theme “60 examples of Labor waste and mismanagement from the Gillard Government,” an ironic inversion of the meditation […]

Guest Post -- The Political Post-Apocalypse: Antony Loewenstein and Jeff Sparrow's <i>Left Turn</i>

Guest Post -- The Political Post-Apocalypse: Antony Loewenstein and Jeff Sparrow's Left Turn

Guest post by Adam Brereton  Antony Loewenstein and Jeff Sparrow, in the introduction to their new book Left Turn: Political Essays For The New Left, invite the reader to imagine current examples in popular culture that envision a future ‘in which the world to come is, in any respect whatsoever, an improvement on the present.’ […]

Guest Post -- Finding the people behind a revolution: Johnny West’s <i>Karama!</i>

Guest Post -- Finding the people behind a revolution: Johnny West’s Karama!

Guest post by Max Denton It’s now been a year since the old orders of the Arab world began to crumble under the weight of popular protest. It was the first time in my lifetime that I’d witnessed, albeit from afar, the strength of raw people power to affect large-scale change. This, plus the ability […]

Mungo MacCallum's <i>The Good, the Bad & the Unlikely</i>

Mungo MacCallum's The Good, the Bad & the Unlikely

Some we know because their personalities were memorable – such as Keating or Hawke. Some, because of famous or tragic stories – such as Harold Holt’s mysterious end (and the rather poor taste, though admittedly amusing, fact that he has a memorial pool named after him in Melbourne). Some we know because they led not […]

Doing history slowly: Paul Keating's <i>After Words</i>

Doing history slowly: Paul Keating's After Words

Though the Keating era was somewhat before my time, there’s been many an afternoon I’ve spent happily watching Keating rants on youtube (such is the excitement of life as a PhD student). In the utter linguistic banality of our current political period, it’s sometimes heartening to watch lively political debate, and in clip after clip Keating consistently delivers – […]