The life of one of Australia's most intriguing public figures, former Prime Minister Paul Keating, as told to the country's most influential political interviewer, Kerry O'Brien. This long awaited collaboration is a biography unlike any other.
Paul Keating is widely credited as the chief architect of the most significant period of political and economic reform in Australia's history. Twenty years on, there is still no story from the horse's mouth of how it all came about. No autobiography. No memoir. Yet he is the supreme story-teller of politics.
This book of revelations fills the gap. Kerry O'Brien, the consummate interviewer who knew all the players and lived the history, has spent many long hours with Keating, teasing out the stories, testing the memories and the assertions.
What emerges is a treasure trove of anecdotes, insights, reflections and occasional admissions from one of the most loved and hated political leaders we have known-a man who either led or was the driving force through thirteen years of Labor government that changed the face of Australia.
This is a man who as prime minister personally negotiated the sale of a quarter of the government-owned Qantas in his own office for $665 million, then delighted in watching the buyer's hand shake so much that champagne spilt down his shirtsleeve. He tells of his grave moment of doubt after making one of the riskiest calls of his political life, and how he used an acupuncturist and a television interviewer to seize the day.
There are many stories of this kind. The revealing inside stories and even glimpses of insecurities that go with the wielding of power, from a man who had no fear collecting his share of enemies and ended up with more than enough, but whose parliamentary performances from 25 years ago are watched avidly on YouTube today by a generation that was either not yet born or in knee pants when he was at his peak.
We'll never get an autobiography or a memoir from Keating. This is as good as it gets-funny, sweeping, angry, imaginative, mischievous, with arrogance, a glimmer of humility and more than a touch of creative madness. Keating unplugged.
About the Author
Kerry O'Brien is one of Australia's most respected journalists, with six Walkley awards including the Gold Walkley and the Walkley for Outstanding Leadership in journalism.
In a 50-year career, Kerry has worked for newspapers, television and wire service, and as a foreign correspondent. Thirty-three of those years have been at the Australian Broadcasting Corporation where he cut his teeth on the trail-blazing current affairs programs This Day Tonight and Four Corners. He was the inaugural presenter of Lateline for six years, the editor and presenter of 7.30 for 15 years, and is the presenter of Four Corners.
His acclaimed four-part interview series with Paul Keating was broadcast on the ABC in 2013, and he has also interviewed most of the influential world leaders of his time including Nelson Mandela, Barack Obama, Mikhail Gorbachev, Margaret Thatcher and Tony Blair. And then there was Robert Mugabe.
Kerry has specialised in national politics for the ABC as well as the Seven and Ten television networks, and was a press secretary to Labor leader Gough Whitlam. He has known Paul Keating for 40 years.