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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 on the long political shadow of John Howard

December 2023, no. 460 24 November 2023
Why did Australia vote against the Voice referendum? Alastair Campbell – former communications chief to former British prime minister Tony Blair – blames the media. Speaking on his The Rest is Politics podcast, Campbell likened Opposition Leader Peter Dutton’s rogue interventions in the debate to the misinformation he saw in the Brexit campaign of 2016: Dutton claimed the referendum wa ... (read more)

Joel Deane reviews 'Days Like These' by Michael Gurr

December 2006–January 2007, no. 287 01 December 2006
Michael Gurr was Victorian Premier Steve Bracks’s first senior speechwriter. I am his latest. Gurr worked for Victorian Treasurer John Brumby when he was leader of the state opposition in the mid-1990s. So did I. Gurr wrote the launch speeches for Steve Bracks’s successful 1999 and 2002 state election campaigns. As I type this review, I am also, coincidentally, in the midst of ballpointing my ... (read more)

Joel Deane on Australia's great intemperance

September 2023, no. 457 24 August 2023
The stumping of Jonny Bairstow reminded me of reaction chains. Bairstow, in case you didn’t waste winter nights watching the Ashes, was the English batsman controversially stumped by Australian wicketkeeper Alex Carey during the second Test at Lord’s. Pandemonium ensued, with the poohbahs of the Marylebone Cricket Club berating the Australian team during the lunch break as they filed through ... (read more)

Joel Deane reviews '2022: Reckoning with power and privilege', edited by Michael Hopkin

April 2023, no. 452 27 March 2023
'Australia faces the real prospect of a war with China within three years that could involve a direct attack on our mainland.’ That was the opening line of a 2,174-word article – headlined ‘Australia “must prepare” for threat of China war’ and tagged with a ‘Red Alert’ graphic – that ran on the front pages of The Age and Sydney Morning Herald on 7 March. Next day, the authors of ... (read more)

Joel Deane reviews 'An Ugly Truth: Inside Facebook’s battle for domination' by Sheera Frenkel and Cecilia Kang

September 2021, no. 435 19 August 2021
Sealand calls itself a micronation. No one else does. It’s easy to see why: the ‘kingdom’ is little more than a glorified helipad. It rises from the North Sea off the coast of Suffolk like a Greek version of the letter π rendered out of concrete and steel – the sole survivor of a series of Maunsell forts built to shoot down Nazi Kriegsmarine aircraft during World War II. Abandoned by Brit ... (read more)

Joel Deane reviews 'Move Fast and Break Things: How Facebook, Google, and Amazon cornered culture and undermined democracy' by Jonathan Taplin

Online Exclusives 30 November 2017
Good books are like recurrent dreams: haunting the reader’s waking hours by sitting, tantalisingly, on the edge of conscious thought. Take, for example, The Big Con: The story of the confidence men, David W. Maurer’s 1940 study of American grifters in the early twentieth century. Maurer’s book has dogged me ever since I revisited my old stamping ground of Berkeley, California, on the eve of ... (read more)

Joel Deane reviews 'Comfort Zone' by Lindsay Tanner

June–July 2016, no. 382 23 May 2016
I interviewed Lindsay Tanner once, back in 2012. Tanner was sixteen months retired from political life, and I had come seeking insight into the workings of the Victorian branch of the Australian Labor Party and Canberra's byzantine politics. The former member for Melbourne – a unionist and Socialist Left factional player who had risen to become one of the brighter minds of his generation of Labo ... (read more)

Joel Deane reviews 'Machine Rules' by Stephen Loosley

March 2016, no. 379 26 February 2016
Mark Latham – former columnist for the Australian Financial Review, former 'special correspondent' for Sixty Minutes, former federal leader of the Australian Labor Party – wasn't the only politician to keep a diary. Writing in The Latham Diaries (2005) – a book most politicians and apparatchiks approach via the index – Latham revealed that we have Stephen Loosley, the ex-heavyweight of the ... (read more)
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