Speechless: a year in my father’s business
James Button spent a year writing speeches for Kevin Rudd. Before that, he reported on politics as a highly regarded journalist for Fairfax. But James also has politics in the blood: his father was the diminutive but larger-than-life Senator John Button, who was a minister in the Hawke and Keating governments.
Growing up, James watched a roll-call of political luminaries debating the fate of the Labor Party. He saw great victories and defeats at close hand. He believes both his father and his family paid a heavy price for politics.
Speechless is James’ highly personal account of a year working in Canberra, seen from both the inside and the outside. It’s told through his experience of Kevin Rudd’s failure to tell his story, and how this helped destroy his prime ministership. It also reflects on how far the Labor Party has moved from the idealism and pragmatism of his father’s generation. He ends on a note of hope for the Party’s revival.
“Few more loving books have been written by a son of a father-Winston Churchill’s on Lord Randolph, Martin Amis’ on Kingsley; few more searching books on our civil processes, our law-making, our public discourse, or the words we tell our big stories in. This is a quiet masterpiece, and should be savoured.”
Bob Ellis — The Saturday Age