Non-fiction

The Palace Letters

$32.99

Published: 2 November 2020

What role did the queen play in the governor-general Sir John Kerr’s plans to dismiss prime minister Gough Whitlam in 1975, which unleashed one of the most divisive episodes in Australia’s political history? And why weren’t we told?

Under the cover of being designated as private correspondence, the letters between the queen and the governor-general about the dismissal have been locked away for decades in the National Archives of Australia, and embargoed by the queen potentially forever. This ruse has furthered the fiction that the queen and the Palace had no warning of or role in Kerr’s actions.

In the face of this, Professor Jenny Hocking embarked on a four-year legal battle to force the Archives to release the letters. In 2015, she mounted a crowd-funded campaign, securing a stellar pro bono team that took her case all the way to the High Court of Australia.

Now, drawing on never-before-published material from Kerr’s archives and her submissions to the court, Hocking traces the collusion and deception behind the dismissal, and charts the private role of High Court judges, the queen’s private secretary, and the leader of the opposition, Malcolm Fraser, in Kerr’s actions, and the prior knowledge of the queen and Prince Charles.

Hocking also reveals the obstruction, intrigue, and duplicity she faced, raising disturbing questions about the role of the National Archives in preventing access to its own historical material and in enforcing royal secrecy over its documents.

The Truth Hurts

$32.99

Criminal justice systems are not designed to seek the truth. In places like Australia, court proceedings remain an adversarial blood sport at times distorted by smoke and mirrors or failed by individual shortcomings. Navigating it is difficult and uncertain for any one of us but more so if you are poor, not white – or not white enough – not a straight male or have no formal education. Simply put, the most vulnerable among us are unfairly exposed to unjust outcomes.

Drawing on his experiences as a child of Burmese migrants fleeing a military junta and his evolution from a naive law clerk, too shy to speak, into a lawyer whose ponytailed flamboyance and unbridled willingness to speak truth to power riled many within the legal establishment, Andrew Boe delves into cases he found unable to leave behind. These cases have shaped who he has become. Taking us from a case of traditional punishment gone wrong in the Gibson Desert to deaths in police custody on Palm Island and in Yuendumu in the Northern Territory – places where race relations are often stalled in a colonial time warp – to an isolated rural home, and the question of what is self-defence after decades of domestic abuse; to cases of children abandoned, ‘stolen’ and then fought over; and into prison interview rooms and courthouses around the country where Boe defended serial killers, rapists, child sex offenders, murderers as well as the odd politician – he holds fast to the premise that either every one of us is entitled to the presumption of innocence or none of us are.

1 2