In 2015, the ABC aired a gripping documentary series covering the tumultuous Rudd-Gillard era. This week, the series’ writer and interviewer Sarah Ferguson has released a book developed from the documentary.
Ferguson tells Michelle Grattan she longed for a single villain or a single narrative that she could pursue to the ends of the earth.
The widely acclaimed journalist talks about the difficulties of getting past the defensive mechanisms of Kevin Rudd and Julia Gillard, both expert media operators, during her interviews.
“What nobody is prepared for is what happens over hours and hours of interviews. As we know, our politicians are highly trained in answering, not answering questions. Delivering messages, delivering lines. But none of them are prepared for what happens over ten hours,” she says.
“You can’t consistently tell a story that is not entirely true or is a version of a story or is shaped to suit you over a long period of time. Eventually inconsistencies, if there are any, will creep in. You can’t maintain the facade you use in a studio interview over ten hours.”
Ferguson also discusses Bill Shorten’s reluctance to participate in the documentary and to keep himself out of the story.
“He just wants to step away from the centre of the events and remain in the cloisters, underneath the arch, half in shadow,” she says.