Has Australia become unable to elect good leaders? How do our last three prime ministers compare to say, Robert Menzies, Gough Whitlam, Bob Hawke and John Howard? Former speechwriter for Paul Keating and the award-winning author of Recollections of a Bleeding Heart, Don Watson, and one of Australia’s most respected journalists, six-time Walkley Award winner and the bestselling author of Keating, Kerry O’Brien, ask: what happened to our leaders? Two long-time observers of Australian politics unravel what happens when politics became more about marketing, and less about propriety and good policy. Together, they consider Australia’s future when critical policies are dictated by powerful vested interests rather than the common good.

Don Watson (Australian)

Don Watson

Over the past 40 years Don Watson's articles, essays and reviews on politics, history and culture have appeared in most major Australian journals and newspapers. His books include the acclaimed bestsellers, Recollections of a Bleeding Heart (2002), Death Sentence (2003) and Watson’s Dictionary of Weasel Words (2004); American Journeys (2008), Bendable Learnings (2010), The Bush (2014), Worst Words (2015) and A Single Tree (2016). He wrote Enemy Within, a Quarterly Essay on the 2016 US Presidential Election. A collection of his essays, There It Is Again, was published in 2017. He has twice won The Age Book of the Year, in addition to the National Biography Award, the Courier-Mail Book of the Year, the Alfred Deakin Essay Prize, the Australian Literary Studies Association Book of the Year, a Walkley Award, the New South Wales Premier’s Award, the Queensland Literary Award, and the Independent Booksellers Book of the Year (twice). In 2011 Don Watson was awarded the Phillip Hodgins Medal for Australian Literature. His film writing includes The Man Who Sued God (starring Billy Connolly and Judy Davis) and Passion (Barbara Hershey and Richard Roxburgh). Don Watson is a regular writer for The Monthly.

Kerry O’Brien (Australian)

Kerry O’Brien

Kerry O'Brien is a journalist and author best known for his 33 years at the ABC, including 15 years as the editor and anchor of The 7.30 Report, six years as the inaugural anchor of Lateline and five years as the anchor of Four Corners. His four-part ABC interview series with former prime minister Paul Keating was critically acclaimed and expanded into a bestselling book. His latest book, a memoir, is an intimate and groundbreaking account of the big milestone moments of the post-war era.