16 July 2010
Earlier this week, I asked Blanche D'alpuget whether she held any personal resentment towards Paul Keating for the way he rolled her lover, husband and two-time biography subject Bob Hawke.
"None whatsoever," she replied "I've always liked Paul Keating."
Then something broke her concentration. And she started to laugh "People find that hard to believe" she said, before going back to her point about why she respected Keating.
I thought her laughter a little strange at the time, as I wasn't aware I'd made any particular incredulous expression. I just figured many others before me must have refused to believe that she could like a man who apparently held so much bitterness towards her lover, Bob Hawke.
In a separate interview to Kerry O'brien that night, Hawke spoke directly of the "bitterness" he believed Keating held about that period of time.
And then the letter emerged.
The Australian reported that Keating had hand delivered a three-page venomous note to Hawke's office on the day of the book launch.
"(Your) emotional and intellectual malaise lasted for years," Keating apparently wrote. "All through the Tax Summit year of 1985; through to your lacklustre performance through the 1987 election, to the point when in 1988, four years later, (John) Dawkins had to front you, asking you to leave.
"It was only after that that you approached me, at your initiative, to enter into an agreement with me to succeed you following the 1990 election. An agreement you subsequently broke."
According to The Australian, Hawke read that letter on Tuesday morning.
I interviewed Blanche at 11.30am.
Now her laughter makes a little more sense.
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