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In Conversation with Blanche d'Alpuget - journalist Michael Jacobs

The Hawke Centre logoTuesday 27 July 2010
Bradley Forum,
UniSA City West campus


AUDIO transcript now available (mp3 format 23MB)


Go to the Hawke Centre YouTube channel to continue this conversation.

Melbourne University Press

Jointly presented by The Bob Hawke Prime Ministerial Centre and Melbourne University Publishing

Join journalist and writer Michael Jacobs, In Conversation with Blanche d'Alpuget talking about her new biography: Hawke: The Prime Minister.

Hawke: The Prime Minister - cover artworkSince its first publication in 1982, Blanche d'Alpuget's Robert J Hawke: A Biography has remained the benchmark by which other political biographies are measured. This second volume, Hawke: The Prime Minister, begins as Bob Hawke wrestles the Labor leadership from Bill Hayden and a few weeks later wins the 1983 federal election, thus achieving his life's goal of becoming Prime Minister of Australia.

Throughout the struggles inside his government, with the opposition and with an electorate that yearned for reform but hated its pain, Hawke maintained his vision for the country, and with four consecutive terms in office he changed Australia irrevocably. Blanche d'Alpuget's new volume is a meticulous portrait of a wily, brilliant politician, uncompromisingly ambitious and at the height of his political powers.





Blanche d'AlpugetBlanche d'Alpuget is the author of seven books, including four novels - Monkeys in the Dark, Turtle Beach, Winter in Jerusalem and White Eye.  These works won a number of literary prizes including the PEN Golden Jubilee Award, The Age Novel of the Year Award, the SA Premier's Award and the Australasian Prize for Commonwealth Literature.

Blanche's Mediator: A Biography of Sir Richard Kirby was published in 1977 to critical acclaim. Robert J. Hawke: A Biography was both a national bestseller and the winner of several awards.

After a long break, Blanche returned to writing with a short work, On Longing, released in 2008.  She has served on the boards of the ACT Arts Advisory Council, the Copyright Agency Ltd, the Australian Film Commission and has been the Chair of the Australian Society of Authors.  As Austcare Goodwill Ambassador from 1992-96 she wrote of the plight of refugees from Indochina, the former Yugoslavia and Afghanistan.  She is a Patron of the Australia China Friendship Society in NSW and the Patron of Inala, a Rudolf Steiner organisation catering for people with severe disabilities.  She lives in Sydney with her husband and son and a Rhodesian ridgeback.

Interviewer - Michael Jacobs
Michael Jacobs (photo by Tony Lewis)

Michael Jacobs is an Adelaide journalist, writer, editor and lawyer. He began working as a journalist in 1969, and has written about politics, public policy issues, and legal subjects since he first reported on Australian federal politics in 1971. He provided material for David Solomon's and Laurie Oakes's study of the 1972 election, The Making of an Australian Prime Minister.

At various times he has written for The Canberra Times, Nation Review, The Advertiser, The Age, The Australian Financial Review and The Adelaide Review, and the on-line newsletter Crikey, as well as doing news commentaries and talks for the ABC.

His recent work for The Adelaide Review and Crikey has mostly dealt with South Australian and Australian political, legal and public policy issues, with occasional ventures into international topics. For several years before that, he wrote the Mind Your Language column for The Adelaide Review.

During the first half of 2010, he reduced his journalistic output and gave more time to his work as a lawyer.

On July 27, Michael will appear at the Bob Hawke Prime Ministerial centre at UniSA in conversation with Blanche d'Alpuget, discussing her newly published biography of her husband Hawke Prime Minister: A biography.

His previous "in conversation" session for The Bob Hawke Prime Ministerial Centre was in 2007, when he discussed with Dr Margaret Somerville her book The Ethical Imagination: Journeys of the Human Spirit. Independently of the centre, he has also conducted a public conversation with Blanche d'Alpuget, discussing her 2008 essay On Longing.

Apart from his journalism, Michael has extensive practical experience in public policy development and legislative reform for previous South Australian governments, and has spent some years in legal practice.

While the views presented by speakers within the Hawke Centre public program are their own and are not necessarily those of either the University of South Australia or The Hawke Centre, they are presented in the interest of open debate and discussion in the community and reflect our themes of: strengthening our democracy - valuing our cultural diversity - and building our future.

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