Book Launch: ‘Political Lives’ by Chris Wallace at Uni of Canberra

Australian Treasury

Vice Chancellor, it’s so generous of you to host us at your home here on Ngunnawal and Ngambri country at the University of Canberra.

I pay my respects to elders, culture and customs.

And Chris it’s really kind of you to invite me to help out on such a special night, launching your latest terrific book.

Good evening and thanks, one and all. Amazing group.

I started today in Brisbane, gave a speech to the finance sector and joined an economists roundtable in Sydney on the way here, and really pleased I could join you en route to Perth tonight, ready for cabinet in Port Hedland tomorrow.

I mention this little travelogue to WA deliberately and for three reasons.

First, because it’s customary to speak at book launches about how we know and how long we’ve known the author.

I first met Chris, and Michael [Costello] too for that matter, when I worked for that great West Australian Kim Beazley, in his second stint as leader.

Come to think of it –

Peter FitzSimons, with his book on Kim, and Chris with her book on John Hewson, showed that writing pre‑prime ministerial books about future PMs can be a gamble –

Happily, Karen Middleton’s punt came off a bit better!

So did Edna Carew’s, and Laurie Oakes’, and perhaps a handful of others.

But the second reason I raise it is because I have a theory about colleagues from WA –

I reckon they are often among the most reflective of us, often among the best‑read.

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