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at The Wheeler Centre

Quarterly Essay: David Marr on Bill Shorten

How does it feel to find out you’ll be the next subject of a Quarterly Essay by David Marr?

The good news is that you’re joining the ranks of some of the most influential people in Australian public life – Marr’s previous subjects include John Howard, Tony Abbott, Kevin Rudd and George Pell.

The bad news is that Marr is an incisive writer and a fiendishly thorough researcher with a knack for digging up surprising biographical details. What you’d like is a rather dull record of your achievements in public life; perhaps some nice quotes from your colleagues. What you might end up getting, as Kevin Rudd learned, is a page-turner.

For Issue 59 of the Quarterly Essay, Marr turns his attention to Bill Shorten. Marr’s essay examines the background and leadership style of the zinger-generating opposition leader and also looks into the future of the Australian Labor Party’s ties with the union movement. It’s a movement that has shaped the party’s past as well as its present leader. Will it continue to shape the future? Join Marr for a conversation about the man who would be Prime Minister.

Presented in partnership with Quarterly Essay.


Portrait of David Marr

David Marr

David Marr is the author of Patrick White: A Life, Panic, The High Price of Heaven and Dark Victory (with Marian Wilkinson). He has written for the Sydney Morning Herald, the Age, the Saturday Paper, the Guardian and the Monthly, and been editor of the National Times, a reporter for Four Corners and presenter of ABC TV’s Media Watch.

He is the author of five bestselling Quarterly Essays in addition to the latest, Quarterly Essay 65, The White Queen: One Nation and the Politics of Race.

Portrait of Sophie Black

Sophie Black

Sophie Black is head of publishing at the Wheeler Centre where she has worked on projects such as the national to writers scheme The Next Chapter, the multi-award-winning podcast, The Messenger, and the ABC RN program, Talkfest. Previously she was editor-in-chief at Private Media, where she headed up titles such as Crikey, Women’s Agenda, Daily Review and SmartCompany. In 2013, she delivered the Adelaide Festival of Ideas as Director. She sits on the advisory board for Melbourne University’s Centre for Advancing Journalism and the human rights publication Right Now.


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