Keating book you’ve heard all before. Could it be? Finally? A biography from Paul Keating? Think of all the filthy buckets he’d tip on Canberra and beyond; the cutting zingers fired at his foes. Sadly not. Despite rumours we’d heard of a tell-all, the former PM’s office let us down this morning: new book After Words, to be launched the weekend after next by Allen & Unwin, is merely a “compendium” of speeches penned by Keating since leaving the Lodge.

“Each speech has been conceptualised, contextualised and crafted by Paul Keating,” goes the marketing spiel. “Subject to subject, idea to idea, the speeches are related in a wider construct, which is the way Paul Keating has viewed and thought about the world.” Which is all well and good, but not the get-square we were after. Asked whether a bio was planned, Keating’s minder simply said “we’re doing this now”. Pity.

Power lunch after book launch. A Crikey spy reports: “Spotted lunching at the Museum of Sydney cafe today: Malcolm Turnbull, Julie Bishop, Michael Stutchbury, Paul Kelly, Matthew Moore (Sydney Morning Herald), and a whole host of junior Australian staffers.” A plotting cabal? Not that exciting, sadly — the high-powered players were gathered for the launch of a new book collating the late Australian Financial Review columnist Peter Ruehl’s musings at the American Club next door.

Stone-walling on carbon tax. A Crikey reader has dropped us this letter from Coalition MP Sharman Stone. No surprises that Stone isn’t a fan of the carbon tax and believes her party’s Direct Action plan is a winner, but her comments on the local Heinz manufacturing plant raised the eyebrows of the recipient: “We have already seen local food factories like Heinz at Girgarre pack there [sic] bags and head off to New Zealand where this is a flat 10$ per tonne Carbon tax and stacks of exemptions.” We’re not sure the carbon tax — either Australia’s proposed scheme or New Zealand’s existing one — had much to do with that move …

TV talk over ACA boss. A Current Affair executive producer Grant Williams has plenty of enemies in TV land. We’re regularly told he’s under the gun; apparently there’s “heightening speculation” of his demise after the death of the rival Ten/George Negus vehicle yesterday and the widening ratings gap to Seven’s Today Tonight. Williams has assured us in the past his position is safe. But keep watching.

Offer so good nobody knows about it. Another customer service fail at The Age subscriptions department:

“Following the expiration of my subscription, The Age sent me a letter this week containing a bunch of subscription options. When I rang them this morning to take them up on one of them, the lovely, polite lady could not find any record of the said offer (weekends plus one day a week) and upon checking with her manager was happy to offer it to me since I was clearly reading off a letter, but only if I paid for the whole year upfront (around $250). Way to lose a long-term subscriber, Fairfax.”

Peter Fray

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