Don Watson

Don Watson

Famously employed as Paul Keating’s speechwriter, Don Watson reflects on ten years since the publication of his acclaimed biography, Recollections of a Bleeding Heart. Watson is joined by former journalist and speechwriter James Button.

On its release, Watson’s memoir was widely deemed a masterpiece, at once a groundbreaking ‘insider’ account of politics and a profound and extraordinarily frank study of the most intriguing and visionary politician in Australia’s modern history. Now, when vision and character have all but vanished from politics, Don Watson’s Recollections makes absorbing – and essential – reading.

In this session, Watson again reflects on his time with Keating and admits he can understand, from his former employer’s perspective, the strained relationship they’ve enjoyed since the release of his book. He considers the importance of narrative in politics and tracks the shift in Labor’s style and fortune from Keating’s 1996 election defeat to its present leadership under Julia Gillard.


Portrait of Don Watson

Don Watson

Don Watson is an author, essayist and speechwriter. He is the author of the Quarterly Essay 'Enemy Within: American politics in the time of Trump', and the multi-award-winning American Journeys, amongst others.

Portrait of James Button

James Button

James Button is a former journalist and speechwriter.

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