Tim Colebatch reviews 'Paul Keating' by David Day

Tim Colebatch reviews 'Paul Keating' by David Day

Paul Keating: The Biography

by David Day

Fourth Estate, $49.95 hb, 573 pp, 9780732284251

Paul Keating has an enduring allure. He has been out of politics since 1996, yet in the past year or so we have seen the ABC screen an unprecedented series of four one-hour interviews with him by an unusually respectful Kerry O’Brien; a book of his sayings still sells well, his speeches and pronouncements receive wide publicity, and now historian David Day has given us a new biography.

On my count, this is the sixth biography or hagiography of Keating. It complements two collections of speeches, two books of quotations, and dozens of other books in which Keating is a central figure, most recently, Gareth Evans’s Cabinet diary of 1985–86, which was a salutary reminder that the Hawke government included many other ministers carrying out important reforms.

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Tim Colebatch

Tim Colebatch was economics editor of The Age from 1993 to 2013, and its Canberra economics writer from 1989 to 1993. His own recent biography, Dick Hamer: The Liberal Liberal, was reviewed by Geoffrey Blainey in the January–February issue of ABR.

Published in April 2015, no. 370

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