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Australia goes to the polls on 2nd March. Paul Keating's Labour Party came from behind in 1993. It might do so again. Nicolas Rothwell saw the Labour leader finding his voice in the Blue Mountains

By Nicolas Rothwell   March 1996

The Australian

5th February 1996

At first glance, it could be a Blue Mountains Sunday barbecue just like any other: open shirts and children’s voices; new-mown grass and crates of Carlton; the smell of charbroiled sausages in hot, still air.

But look again, and the tell-tale signs emerge: the odd sprinkling of electronic equipment on the lawn; the security men with nervous eyes; the strange preponderance, in the crowd, of mobile phones: a special guest, an unusual guest, is approaching. Indeed, as John Derum, actor, Australian Labour party member and host for the afternoon, quips, “It’s not every…

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