In Conversation with Katharine Murphy


Katharine Murphy will be in conversation with Mark Kenny on Katharine's new Quarterly Essay, The End of Certainty. Scott Morrison and Pandemic Politics.

Epidemics are mirrors. What has COVID-19 revealed about Australia, and about Scott Morrison and his government? In this gripping essay, Katharine Murphy goes behind the scenes to tell the story of the response to the crisis. Drawing on interviews with Morrison, Brendan Murphy, Josh Frydenberg, Sally McManus and other players, she traces how the key health and economic decisions were taken.

Her account is twinned with a portrait of the prime minister. She explores his blend of pragmatism and faith, and shows how a leader characterised by secrecy and fierce certainty learnt to compromise and reach out - with notable exceptions.

Now, as the nation turns inwards and unemployment rises, our faith in government is about to be tested anew. What does "We're all in this together" truly mean? Will Morrison snap back to Liberal hard-man, or will he redefine centre-right politics in this country?

Katharine Murphy has been Guardian Australia's political editor since 2016, working in Canberra's parliamentary press gallery for 22 years. She is the author of On Disruption, a regular commentator on television and radio and is an Adjunct Associate Professor of Journalism at the University of Canberra, from which she was awarded an honorary doctorate in October 2019. Katharine has won the Paul Lyneham award for excellence in press gallery journalism and has been a Walkley finalist twice.

Mark Kenny is Professor at the Australian Studies Institute at ANU, an appointment following a high-profile journalistic career culminating in six years as chief political correspondent and national affairs editor of The Sydney Morning Herald, The Age, and The Canberra Times. He is a regular on the ABC's Insiders program, Sky News Agenda, and radio programs across the country.

Signed copies of Katharine's book will be available for sale at Harry Hartog bookshop, ANU.


If you would like to submit a question to be answered in conversation, please email with your question for Katharine.

Details with live link will be emailed to registrants prior to the event.