Brand to McGowan: landmark book launched at Notre Dame

30 April 2019

Intriguing, insider’s view of 60 years of politics in WA

Western Australia’s political elite, journalists and academics turned out at Notre Dame’s Fremantle Campus on 17 April for the launch of eminent journalist Peter Kennedy’s new book, an intriguing insider’s account of State politics over the past 60 years.

An Adjunct Associate Lecturer of Journalism at Notre Dame’s School of Arts & Sciences (Fremantle), AP Kennedy’s updated and revised edition of Tales From Boom Town: Western Australian Premiers from Brand to McGowan was officially launched by WA Premier, the Hon. Mark McGowan.

Also in attendance were former Premier Colin Barnett, WA Treasurer Ben Wyatt, Fremantle MLA Simone McGurk, former Notre Dame Chancellor Michael Quinlan and leading political commentator, Gary Adshead, as well as Governors and former Governors of the University.

In 50-year career covering WA politics, Mr Kennedy served as The West Australian’s Chief of Staff at the Canberra press gallery and has been a regular contributor to top Australian media including The Sydney Morning Herald, and ABC News.

He was with the ABC for 25 years until he retired in 2010 and continues as a political commentator and columnist for media throughout Australia.

Mr Kennedy spoke about the changes and challenges both for politicians and journalists over the many years he covered WA politics from the 1960s to today.

“Each Premier has a challenge in his term. In David Brand’s case it was getting the iron ore export embargo lifted, Charles Court was always keen to get the Commonwealth off his back, Colin Barnett’s challenge was to get a fair deal on the GST and for Premier [Mark McGowan] it will likely be the energy issue,” he said.

Mr McGowan, who also attended the launch of the first edition in 2014, said the memories and experience of journalists like Mr Kennedy were invaluable to the State and its history.

“This is an amazing document of our State’s recent history and also of the collective memory and institutional knowledge of many of the people in this room and beyond, which could have easily been lost,” he said.

“It is a great credit to him that he has been so generous with us, not just in his time and effort observing WA politics, but for writing this book so it could be shared with the rest of us.”

Media Contact: Breyon Gibbs : +61 8 9433 0569 |