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Michael Cooney was Julia Gillard's speechwriter for most of her time in office. He came to the job a true believer in every sense, with years of Labor experience behind him, including Policy Director to Federal Labor leaders Kim Beazley and Mark Latham. But this was the prime minister's office. The stakes were high and the game had changed.
From mining to the economy to Afghanistan, Cooney wrote the speeches that helped to define the Gillard project: the prime minister's program and vision for the country. He was there at the coalface of decisions on the carbon 'tax' and the budget surplus; in the lead-up to the 'misogyny' speech and the 'we are us' Labor conference speech. He cried and laughed and swore as Australia's first female prime minister got through a record number of pieces of legislation in the time she had. This is his story, and hers.
Passionate. Argumentative. Funny and honest. The Gillard Project is a fascinating and unique perspective on Australian political culture and its ramifications for us all.
Copies of the book will be available for sale and signings on the night.
ANU graduate Michael Cooney is now Executive Director of the Chifley Research Centre.