The Writing Practice : Journalism by Marcus Niski

Robert Dessaix Morris West Graham Freudenberg Review Liz Jensen


A Figure of Speech - A Political Memoir : Graham Freudenberg....

‘Gouch Whitlam had once described my writing as “too dithyrambic” as against his own “too inspissated” style… I accepted the complement, even after consulting the dictionary to find that inspissated is “dry, dense in detail” and dithyrambic is “wild, uncontrolled, related to bacchanalian dances”…’   

       – Graham Freudenberg in A Figure of Speech                

For over four decades Graham Freudenberg was the rhetorical architect behind of some of the most important speeches given by Australia’s Labor leaders spanning successive Labor epochs between Menzies and Howard.

With wit, eloquence and insight that are characteristic of his speechwriting, Freudenberg’s long-awaited memoir provides a real-life political roman à clef on some of the most important, turbulent and exhilarating moments in Australia’s twentieth-century political history.

Navigating intimately through the dens and backrooms of politics at the highest level, Freudenberg provides exquisite detail in his observations and reflections on working directly with a broad spectrum of leaders from Arthur Caldwell in the 1960s, to the ‘modern giants’ of Australian Labor politics -– Whitlam, Hawke, Wran, Keating and Carr -– vividly capturing with great candour the highs and lows of the life of the wordsmith, confidant and political apparatchik.

Given his unique situation within the political apparatus of successive Labor governments, Freudenberg’s memoir offers a rich insight into the mechanics of some of the great rhetorical triumphs and gaffs of Australian political life including Bob Hawke’s celebrated line  – “By 1990 no Australian child will be living in poverty.”

A Figure of Speech is both a well-crafted memoir and important legacy of the kind of operative whose role in politics is often overlooked or understated.

Forthcoming  review, Good Reading Magazine, March 2006.Graham Freudenberg – A Figure of Speech: A Political Memoir, John Wiley & Sons Australia Ltd, Milton QLD. ISBN: 1 74031 105 1.

                                        Copyright, Marcus D. Niski 2005

  Graham Freudenberg: A Figure of Speech...

©2003 Marcus D. Niski