Paul Keating: the big-picture leader is the definitive biography of Australia’s 24th prime minister, and the first that Keating has cooperated with in more than two decades.
Drawing on around 15 hours of new interviews with Keating, coupled with access to his extensive personal files, this book tells the story of a political warrior’s rise to power, from the outer suburbs of Sydney through Young Labor and into parliament at just 25 years of age; serving as a minister in the last days of the Whitlam government; his path-breaking term as treasurer in the 1980s; his four-year prime ministership from 1991 to 1996; and his passions and interests since.
Bramston has interviewed more than 100 people who know and worked with Keating, including his family, parliamentary colleagues, advisers, party officials, union leaders, public servants, and journalists. This book includes interviews with Gough Whitlam, Malcolm Fraser, Bob Hawke, John Howard, Kevin Rudd, Julia Gillard, Tony Abbott, Doug Anthony, Bill Hayden, Andrew Peacock, Ian Sinclair, John Hewson, Alexander Downer, Peter Costello, Kim Beazley, Simon Crean, Cheryl Kernot, and Bob Carr.
Bramston has secured access to Labor archives, and he also documents key debates in once-secret cabinet papers, reveals caucus minutes for the first time, draws on the unpublished diaries of Neal Blewett and Bob Carr, discloses meeting records from the archives of US presidents George H.W. Bush and Bill Clinton, talks to former British prime minister Tony Blair, and shares his new discoveries from the personal files of Gough Whitlam, Bill Hayden, Bob Hawke, and John Howard.
Paul Keating saw political leadership as the combination of courage and imagination, a belief that powered his public career and helps explain his extraordinary triumphs and crushing lows. Keating blazed a trail of reform with a vision for Australia’s future that still attracts ardent admirers and the staunchest critics. This book chronicles, analyses, and interprets Keating’s life, and draws lessons for a Labor Party and a country still reluctant to fully embrace his legacy.