For everyone Tanya Plibersek: On her own terms

Award-winning journalist Margaret Simons, whose most recent biography was of Penny Wong, turns her attention this time to the longest-serving woman in Australia’s House of Representatives, Tanya Plibersek. And if, when her publisher first asked her to write the book, Simons was reluctant because she wasn’t sure if Plibersek was a sufficiently absorbing subject, by the end she had uncovered a very complex and layered woman, and this book is testament to that.

Simons begins with Plibersek’s origin story and the family she grew up in, starting with her father Josef, a Slovenian who grew up on a subsistence farm and came here by ship aged 21 as part of the displaced persons scheme, contracted to work two years anywhere the government sent him.

“For the first time in his life there was plenty of food,” Simons writes, like a novelist, instantly drawing us into a riveting story that comes complete with photos that will make you start debating who should play Plibersek and her family in the biopic.

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