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 – which is all about intimacy of belief and thought – was to be embedded in the leader’s office. I also knew that the PMO already had an incumbent speechwriter, Tim Dixon. I said no.
Joel Deane is a speechwriter, novelist, and poet. He has worked in Australia and the United States as a journalist and political staffer – covering the 2000 Democratic National Convention, serving as principal speechwriter to Labor Premiers Steve Bracks and John Brumby, and lecturing widely on politics and public language. In 2009, he was a finalist for the Melbourne Prize for Literature Best Writing Award. His new non-fiction book, Catch and Kill: The Politics of Power, will be published by the University of Queensland Press in July 2015.
From the New Issue
Lettersby Michael Halliwell, Ben Brooker, Antoinette Halloran, Helen Balzer, Katherine Vowles, Hayley Smith, Lara Stevens, Judith Thomas, Daniel Howard
Russia Is Burning: Poems of the Great Patriotic War edited by Maria Bloshteynby David Wells
Wagnerism: Art and politics in the shadow of music by Alex Ross
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