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The Scribe: Screening and Q&A with Ruth Cullen, the Hon. John Faulkner and Michael Cooney

  • Riverside Theatres Corner Market and Church Street Parramatta Australia (map)

View the Trailer:

A film by Ruth Cullen

Featuring post-screening Q&A with director and producer Ruth Cullen, the Hon. John Faulkner and Michael Cooney

Winner of Best Australian Documentary (2018 Antenna Documentary Film Festival), this compelling film is a must-see for political enthusiasts.

From deep within the engine room of politics comes the superb documentary on the ‘Donald Bradman’ of speech writing – Graham Freudenberg.

A powerful journey into one of the great minds of politics whose words shaped our fortunes. This untold perspective from someone at the epi-centre of the Australian government for nearly 50 years paints a remarkable picture of a political insider’s love of language and its power to change the country.

Finally, the scribe becomes the orator.

“An absorbing and profound insight into the life and role of a political speech writer and Australian politics generally.” – John Warhurst, Emeritus Professor, School of Politics and International Relations, Australian National University

Monday 26 November 2018
7:00pm - 10:00pm
Riverside Theatres, Parramatta


Director/ Writer/ Producer

Ruth is one of Australia’s most experienced documentary makers.  She is known for her fearless and empathetic character portrayals and her willingness to seek out the untested.  Her films have screened at film festivals all over the world. As well as making films she has worked as: Industry Consultant to Screen Australia, Executive Producer (ABC – Arts & Entertainment) and is a former Head of Documentary at Australia’s premier film school AFTRS.

Chair of the Whitlam Institute

The Hon. John Faulkner was a Labor Senator for New South Wales from 1989 to 2015. Following his election to the Senate in 1989, Senator Faulkner held a number of ministries, serving as Minister for Veterans’ Affairs, Minister for Defence Science and Personnel, Minister for the Environment, Sport and Territories, Cabinet Secretary, Special Minister of State and Minister for Defence. He served as Leader of the Opposition in the Senate from 1996 to 2004.

He has also held a range of senior positions within the Australian Labor Party, including National President, twenty years as member of the National Executive and nine years as Assistant General Secretary of the New South Wales Branch. John Faulkner is well versed in, and passionate about the history of the Australian Labor Party. Prior to his political career, John worked as a teacher of children with severe disabilities.


Michael Cooney is an author, and former speech writer and policy advisor. He is currently the National Director of The Australian Republic Movement. Michael served as speechwriter to Prime Minister Julia Gillard, policy director to federal Labor leaders Kim Beazley and Mark Latham, and was the founding policy director of the progressive think tank Per Capita. Michael wrote The Gillard Project: My Thousand Days of Despair and Hope, about his speechwriter career. He was previously Senior Adviser at the HR Coombs Policy Forum, Crawford School of Public Policy at the  Australian National University and is the former executive director of the Chifley Research Centre.