'I was prime minister for three years and three days. Three years and three days of resilience. Three years and three days of changing the nation. Three years and three days for you to judge.'
On Wednesday 23 June 2010, with the government in turmoil, Julia Gillard asked Prime Minister Kevin Rudd for a leadership ballot. The next day, Julia Gillard became Australia's 27th prime minister, and our first female leader. Australia was alive to the historic possibilities. Here was a new approach for a new time. It was to last three extraordinary years.
This is Julia Gillard's chronicle of that turbulent time, a strikingly candid self-portrait of a political leader seeking to realise her ideals. It is her story of what it was like - in the face of government in-fighting and often hostile media - to manage a hung parliament, build a diverse and robust economy, create an equitable and world-class education system, ensure a dignified future for Australians with disabilities, all while attending to our international obligations and building strategic alliances for the future.
This is a politician driven by a sense of purpose - from campus days with the Australian Union of Students, to her career in the legal profession, to her often gritty, occasionally glittering, rise up the ranks of the Australian Labor Party.
Refreshingly honest and peppered with wry humour and personal insights, Julia Gillard does not shy away from her mistakes, admitting freely to errors, misjudgements and policy failures, as well as detailing her political successes.
Here is an account of what was hidden behind the resilience and dignified courage Gillard showed as prime minister, her view of the vicious hate campaigns directed against her, and a reflection on what it means - and what it takes - to be a female leader in contemporary politics.
Here, in her own words, Julia Gillard reveals what life was really like as Australia's first female prime minister.
FOXTEL, football, News and wine: The secrets of a business builder and cultural maestro.
From FOXTEL to News Corp, film to football, opera to business, Kim Williams is a builder of Australian institutions.
He has worked with some of the very best in their fields - Rupert Murdoch, Kerry Packer, Kevin Sheedy, Gail Kelly and Don Burrows to name just a few.
Rules of Engagement is a candid, up close and very personal account of the exercise of power in the nation's leading boardrooms, political parties and media organisations. Told with a deft touch and an energetic, at times mischievous spirit, Rules of Engagement shows how much one person can achieve if they have insatiable curiosity, limitless interests and impressive discipline.
Acute Misfortune is an unflinching portrait of talent and addiction.
In 2008, the artist Adam Cullen invited journalist Erik Jensen to stay in his spare room and write his biography. A publisher wanted it, Cullen said. He was sick and ready to talk. Everything would be on the record.
What followed were four years of intense honesty and a relationship that became increasingly dangerous. At one point Cullen shot Jensen, to see how committed he was to the book. At another, he threw Jensen from a speeding motorbike.
Eventually, Jensen realised the contract did not exist. Cullen had invented it to get to know the writer. The book became an investigation of Cullen’s psychology and the decline of his final years.
In Acute Misfortune, we have a riveting account of the life and death of one of Australia’s most celebrated artists. The figure famous for his Archibald Prize-winning portrait of David Wenham is followed through drug deals and periods of deep self-reflection, onward into his trial for weapon possession and finally his death in 2012 at the age of 46.
The story is by turns tender and horrifying: a spare tale of art, sex, drugs and childhood, told at close quarters and without judgment.
“Fierce and spellbinding” – David Marr
“The terrible force of the painter’s rush to self-destruction is matched all the way by the writer’s calm mastery of his story.” – Helen Garner
“A teasing and complex ode to a man who defied attempts to categorise him or to understand him. Jensen’s portrait dares to be both beautiful and ugly - that is, he is both tender and forensic. This is a marvellous, propulsive, intelligent read.” – Christos Tsiolkas
Samantha X is not your typical hooker. She's the wrong side of 35, has two kids and counts a wild night out dining at her local pizzeria. Career-wise, she had it all; writing for Australia's top selling woman's magazines; appearing as a media expert on television and travelling the world for the sake of a good story. Yet, after her marriage break down and two kids later, she turned her back on the media, and decided to dust off her stilettos and work at Sydney's most infamous brothel, where she soon became one of their best and most in-demand girls. Not only was she making great cash, but she was privy to the real life stories of her clients - irresistible to the journalist in her. How could she not keep a record of their salacious stories? Hooked is a fly-on-the-wall sexy, juicy, page-turner of what really goes on behind the walls of a brothel; from police raids to tearful married men confessing their secrets; lesbian threesomes and having to service the odd married couple trying to reignite their relationship. But while whoring can be lucrative and fun, it also comes with a hefty price, as Samantha soon finds out... The only problem is, can Samantha kick her addiction to what she believes to be the best job in the world...?
After Maggie Mackellar's acclaimed When It Rains, her second memoir traces with her characteristic candour and perception her move to Tasmania, for love, and the struggles and joys of settling there.
In 2011 Maggie Mackellar moved from her family's farm in Central West New South Wales to the east coast of Tasmania with her children and assorted menagerie to live with a farmer. Her story takes as its epigraph a quote from Roger McDonald: 'Through every small opening in life, through the tiniest most restricted nerve ends, through rips and tears and tatters, life pours.'
In the book she explores learning to love again after living through grief, and the complexities of doing this in a community with which she is unfamiliar, with two young children. She reflects on love after grief, juggling being a mother and negotiating a burgeoning relationship, the rhythms of country life, displacement and the writing life. This is a book for anyone who has imagined taking a risk, for anyone who has moved to a new place and struggled with feelings of homesickness and displacement.
It is a story about making a life in a remarkable setting - the east coast of Tasmania, on a sheep farm in a stone house built by convicts in 1828.
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Sam Bramham is an impressive young man - a gold medal winning paralympian and Order of Australia recipient - and now the author of his memoir, Three-Quarter Man.
Sam had his right leg amputated at the age of five but has never let his disability get in the way of his dreams, or to quell his larrikin spirit. He caused an international incident at one Paralympics after convincing a pesky American journalist that his leg was chewed off by a kangaroo, and spent a night in the slammer after he and his stupid mates faked a shark attack on a packed NSW beach. He's a hilarious example of how youthful exuberance can go spectacularly wrong when you've only got one leg. Despite the shenanigans, Sam is an inspiration to all. He is perhaps the only reprobate to be awarded the Order of Australia Medal (OAM) for services to his country and for being a role model for Australian youth.
With his competitive spirit still burning, this memoir sees Sam on the road to Rio in his quest to win gold in the first ever Paralympic triathlon.
Sam is now also a housemate in the current season of reality TV show ‘Big Brother’. He entered the ‘Big Brother’ house on Tuesday 9 September. The show, which sees housemates evicted over the course of one season, runs until 26 November. A spokesman for Affirm Press said he believed it was an ‘industry first having a published author in the house’.
My Vietnam is Dave Morgan's story. A typical 20 year old, he was forced into extraordinary circumstances in Vietnam. Far from his carefree youth, the Vietnam War would expose Dave to an atmosphere of ever-present danger and sheer terror that would impact him forever. His return to a divided Australia would isolate him further. During his service Dave wrote home to his mother from Vietnam tracking the days and the events. In 1992, after his mother passed away, he found all of his letters with his own recollections and diary entries, and the short stories of seven other veterans, to capture the unbelievable danger and horror that these young men experienced in Vietnam. He also describes how Vietnam established life-long feelings of intense loyalty, trust and mateship between the men that served there. Daves story focuses on his time as a soldier and his return psychologically exhausted to a divided nation.
Samantha Barlow's life changed the day she was brutally attacked on the way to work in Sydney's notorious Kings Cross. The popular, confident young woman was left for dead, dragging herself to a lonely bus stop, desperate to stay alive for her two young children. The police who attended the crime scene didn't recognise their colleague. Inspector Laurence Barlow watched helplessly as his wife's life lay in the balance. He'd spent his career stopping violent offenders, but now found himself on the other side of a crisis. Samantha was a highly respected sergeant, but she could have been any woman - her attacker was a junkie after money. Her story touched people everywhere: her resilience, her indomitable spirit and her triumphant return to work after 22 months of rehab is an inspiration to all Australians. This is a brave family's journey to recovery.
'I hid in the dressing-room toilets and pushed my broken jaw back into place. No one would stop me. I ran back on before anyone could.' This is the authorised biography of John Sattler, a rugby league luminary, the hardest of hard men and the last person to captain South Sydney to a premiership, 43 years ago in 1971. For all his many achievements, which include being named in the Australian Rugby League's list of 100 greatest players, Sattler is best remembered for playing the last 73 minutes of the 1970 Grand Final with a broken jaw. For four decades that moment has defined him, as a footballer and as a man, and it secured his place in the code's folklore. Sattler was and still is revered by his contemporaries, and his reputation has remained strong in the modern era. Humble and shy, Sattler has declined many approaches to document his remarkable life story. Now, having turned 70, he feels the time is right. This, then, is the compelling story of 'Gentleman John' Sattler, a rugby league deity, the kid from Kurri Kurri who became the ultimate paradox: softly spoken and adored off the field, but feared and hard as nails on it. He was the heart and soul of the glory years of rugby league's oldest and most glorious club, the South Sydney Rabbitohs.
In 1900 Vienna was one of the most exciting places to live in the world. Its glamorous high society was the envy of Europe, and it was the centre of an exploding arts movement that set the tone for the following century. Tim Bonyhady's great-grandparents were leading patrons of the arts in fin de siecle Vienna: Gustav Klimt painted his great-grandmother's portrait, and the family knew many of the city's leading cultural figures. In Good Living Street he follows the lives of three generations of women in his family in an intimate account of fraught relationships, romance, and business highs and lows. They enjoyed a lifestyle of luxury and privilege - until everything changed for families of Jewish origin like his. In 1938, his family fled Vienna for a small flat in a harbourside suburb of Sydney, taking with them the best private collection of art and design to escape the Nazis.
Struggling to stay alive with a gaping wound across my back, I desperately wondered how I got to this point. My knife-wielding opponent was not the attacker...He'd been defending himself against an ego-driven, menacing thug who was intent on hurting him. That thug was me. In a hole of anxiety and depression, Luke Kennedy resorted to drugs, alcohol, graffiti and fighting in a desperate bid to silence his frantic mind. Soon he was leading a street-fighting and graffiti crew, and constantly coming close to killing others or being killed. Tortured by the voices in his head, Luke began looking for an out. Eventually he found it - and lost 47 kilos in the process. Stabbed Ego is the gripping and powerful story of Luke's journey from ego-driven, obese thug to fit, sober and successful business owner whose focus is on helping others turn their lives around.
In 2006 Marcus Lee moved to Dubai with his wife, Julie, to take up his dream job working for Nakheel, the emirate's largest property developer. Everything went swimmingly until one day in 2009 when Marcus was picked up by the state police and imprisoned in solitary over charges of bribery. Marcus managed to get out of prison - and out of Dubai - with the help of Julie, who found her husband and spent five years working to free him - first from one of Dubai's notorious jails, and then from house arrest. In jail she kept his hopes up by smuggling notes and poems to him (she received smuggled diary entries in return). The tale of a foreign posting gone horribly wrong and a relationship which survived despite enormous odds, this is at heart a love story and a testament to the strength of a marriage.
When Dr Buddhi moved to Arnhem Land to run a health program for Aboriginal children, he had no idea he would face the challenge of his life. Six months into running the $5 million dollar program he realised it was going to fail, and that's when the trouble began. In the face of powerful opposition from high profile experts, he listened to the elders and took the slow road. Through painstaking observation and working in partnership with patients and the community, together they found a way to overcome a neglected disease as debilitating and stigmatised as leprosy. This is a powerful story of redemption, and an honest and inspiring account of a family living and working in remote Aboriginal Australia to give voice to forgotten people.
As we grow older, how do we know what to let go of and what to keep? Lorelei started collecting dresses in her twenties and found that every time she wore one it became more significant to her. From falling in love for the first time to playing in a band, from starting a career to moving overseas, every dress soon had a memory stitched into it, and she became as attached to each one as if they were the events and people themselves. But what happens when the wardrobe gets full? Should you let go of the dresses you've outgrown, or try to hold on to them forever? Dress, Memory is about a decade in dresses. Perceptive and poignant, humorous and heartwarming, it's the story of growing up and growing into yourself. It's about trying things on until you find the perfect fit.
'My life has been a mad travelling show, meeting some of the strangest and greatest people who've ever lived. I've had my fair share of trouble and I'm lucky to be here. But I've always been a showman and I've done my best to preserve a precious part of an old Australia that's fast disappearing.' Son of a sideshow operator and trapeze artist, fourth-generation showman Fred Brophy grew up on the road, travelling the length and breadth of Australia. He did time in jail as a wild teenager before establishing his own successful boxing tent. It has become a star attraction in the Outback and is now the only one of its kind in the world. Fred tells stories of living on the smell of an oily rag, rescuing battlers, and becoming embroiled in some of the most bizarre adventures imaginable. This is one helluva life, full of hardship, hilarity and unexpected turns, including Fred being inducted into the Queensland Boxing Hall of Fame and receiving a Medal of the Order of Australia. 'Now ladies and gentlemen, let's go inside. The show's about to begin ...'