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Don Watson

b. 1949

Don Watson (b. 1949), writer, is an authority on aspects of Australian history, culture, politics and language. Educated at La Trobe and Monash universities, he was an academic historian until 1983, publishing Brian Fitzpatrick: A Radical Life in 1979 and both The Story of Australia and Caledonia Australis in 1984. Throughout the 1980s he wrote political satire, particularly for the actor Max Gillies, and speeches for the Victorian premier, John Cain. Since then his serious and satirical writing has appeared in most of Australia's major journals and newspapers and on television, radio, stage and screen. He joined Paul Keating as speechwriter in January 1992 and stayed until his fall in 1996, gaining a reputation as a speechwriter without peer through efforts such as the 'Redfern Speech' of 1992. His biography of Keating, Recollections of a Bleeding Heart (2002) won the National Biography Award, the Courier-Mail Book of the Year Award and the Age Book of the Year Award. He has since published Death Sentence: The Decay of Public Language (2003) an attack on the progressive obfuscation of language by politicians and the media, and Weasel Words: Contemporary Clich├ęs, Cant and Management Jargon (2004).

Updated 2018
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