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Joel Deane

Joel Deane is a speechwriter, novelist and poet. He has worked in newspapers, television, politics, and internet startups in Australia and the United States. His latest novel is Judas Boys (Hunter, 2023).

Joel Deane reviews 'Becoming Steve Jobs' by Brent Schlender and Rick Tetzeli

June-July 2015, no. 372 27 May 2015
I was working as a technology journalist in San Francisco when Steve Jobs made his messianic return to Apple. It was September 1997, the height of the dotcom boom. In the city, the old industrial tracts between Market Street and China Basin were being transformed by start-ups. People were living on free pizza and hoping to strike it rich with stock options in an initial public offering. Cupertino, ... (read more)

Joel Deane reviews 'Let Me Be Frank With You' by Richard Ford

April 2015, no. 370 27 March 2015
‘My name is Frank Bascombe. I am a sportswriter.’ With those opening words in The Sportswriter (1986), Richard Ford introduced one of American literature’s more unlikely protagonists. In his fictional début, Bascombe is a former short story writer-turned-journalist, aged in his thirties, navigating suburban life in Haddam, New Jersey, after the death of a son and the breakdown of a marriage ... (read more)

Joel Deane reviews 'Gravity: Inside the PM’s office during her last year and final days' by Mary Delahunty and 'Rudd, Gillard and Beyond' by Troy Bramston

September 2014, no. 364 01 September 2014
Gough Whitlam may not have been one of the Australian Labor Party’s greatest prime ministers, but, since his defenestration by Governor-General John Kerr in 1975, he has been embraced as one of the ALP’s great martyrs. Kerr’s dismissal of the Whitlam Government galvanised the Labor movement. To Labor eyes, Kerr was Pontius Pilate and Whitlam the slain Messiah. New followers – many of them, ... (read more)

Joel Deane reviews 'Jacks and Jokers' by Matthew Condon

August 2014, no. 363 01 August 2014
Matthew Condon is fast becoming the George R.R. Martin of Australian true crime. Like the Game of Thrones author, Condon is part-way through the delivery of a saga of epic proportions. However, whereas some fantasy fiction fans doubt that Martin will ever conclude his A Song of Ice and Fire series, everyone knows how the story of corruption in Joh Bjelke-Petersen-era Queensland ends. But knowing t ... (read more)

Joel Deane reviews 'Murdoch’s Pirates: Before the Phone Hacking, There Was Rupert’s Pay-TV Skullduggery' by Neil Chenoweth

February 2013, no. 348 01 February 2013
Talk about unfortunate timing. On 10 December 2012, the New Yorker ran a lengthy profile on Elisabeth Murdoch, the older sister of Lachlan and James. Elisabeth, forty-four, lives in Britain, where – while her siblings have been marked down for everything from, in Lachlan’s case, One.Tel to Ten Network and, in James’s case, MySpace and phone hacking – she has quietly built a reputation as a ... (read more)

Joel Deane reviews 'Speechless: A year in my father’s business' by James Button

November 2012, no. 346 28 October 2012
In 2008 I was asked to write speeches for then-Prime Minister Kevin Rudd. It was a tempting offer. The trouble was that I would be based in the Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet (PM&C), not the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO), and would work as a public servant, not a political staffer. Having worked as both a public servant and a political staffer, I believed the best way to do the job ... (read more)

Joel Deane reviews 'Rupert Murdoch: An investigation of political power' by David McKnight

March 2012, no. 339 27 February 2012
 It is a thought-provoking photograph. In 1988, during the bicentenary of The Times, Rupert Murdoch and Queen Elizabeth are pictured sitting at a news conference within the inner sanctum of the London broadsheet. Mogul and monarch are at arm’s length – she, straight-backed, legs crossed, hands gathered together above her lap; he, leaning forward and slightly to his right, towards her, wit ... (read more)

Joel Deane reviews 'The Sweet Spot: How Australia made its own luck – and could now throw it all away' by Peter Hartcher and 'The Fog On The Hill: How NSW Labor lost its way' by Frank Sartor

December 2011–January 2012, no. 337 25 November 2011
On 7 November, Paul Keating appeared on ABC TV’s 7.30 to promote his new book of speeches,  After Words. Keating’s response to Leigh Sales’s first question about political leadership was instructive: Keating: Leadership’s always been about two main things – imagination and courage. Imagination to divine a bigger schematic, a bigger world and then having the political equipment to g ... (read more)

Joel Deane reviews 'Punch and Judy: The double disillusion election of 2010' by Mungo MacCallum

November 2010, no. 326 01 November 2010
The 2010 federal election fell on my wife’s birthday: 21 August. Being political tragics, we didn’t stop for birthday cake. Instead, we handed out roughly 1600 how-to-vote cards for the Australian Labor Party in suburban Melbourne. Our local polling booth is the Vista Valley Kindergarten, in Bulleen. This kindergarten cum polling booth, which sits in more of a gully than a valley and offers no ... (read more)

‘A bomb in every download: Julian Assange against the world’ by Joel Deane

May 2011, no. 331 27 April 2011
On 30 July 2010, WikiLeaks uploaded a file named ‘insurance.aes256’ to the Internet. The file was 1.4 gigabytes in size – large enough to hold a mountain of leaked documents – and encrypted with a 256-character key strong enough to have the US National Security Agency’s approval for use to secure classified documents. It was also copied to dozens of USB sticks and mailed out to a cadre o ... (read more)
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