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November 19, 2020


#AusReadingMonth2020 Penny Wong

by NancyElin



  1. My first impression was in the book’s preface:
  2. Ms Wong was reluctant to cooperate with Ms Simons.
  3. She told Ms. Simons she was an introvert
  4. …and suffered from prejudice and therefore
  5. …developed a closely guarded internal life.
  6. Penny Wong’s main motivation for
  7. …entering politics was to combat racism.
  8. Racism formed her in more ways than she is aware.
  9. I wonder if Ms Simons will be able to “crack this hard nut”?


  1. Researching a biography involves a lot of borrowing and persuading
  2. anecdotes, interviews (…or not, partner Sophie, mother Jane).
  3. Political party history (Labor) and public records are the ingredients
  4. Ms Simons used to fill in the gaps.
  5. Getting hold of personal information
  6. …about Penny Wong was a herculean task.
  7. Yet Margaret Simons persevered to give the reader a
  8. book that is …
  9. .…lucidly-written, logically-structured, and convincingly argued.
  10. The Shark Poem (pg 11) that Ms Wong wrote as a 12 year old gives
  11. …the reader a glimpse of one of Australia’s most popular politician:
  12. Shark poem:
  13. …the way it adapts
  14. moves cleanly through its environment
  15. …the way it inspires both fear and respect.
  16. …that is Penny Wong.


  1. Despite these accolades….it was a very difficult book
  2. to read b/c of my lack of knowledge about
  3. the nuts and bolts of Australian politics.
  4. Ms. Simons did an honorable job with the little
  5. input she had from Penny Wong.
  6. Backstory – 5%
    Education – 5%
    University student politics – 5%
    Personal relationships – 1 %
    Australian Politics – 85%
7 Comments Post a comment
  1. Nov 19 2020

    I don’t read a lot of political bio’s, but this one is definitely on my radar. I have a lot of admiration and respect for Penny Wong.

    • Nov 19 2020

      She is a perfect example of a woman in power….and deservedly so!

  2. Nov 22 2020

    I don’t read a lot of political bios either, but if I had the time, I’d be intrigued to read this, though I think I’d prefer one written at the end of her political career.

  3. Nov 22 2020

    This was not the most entertaining biography…..but I do appreciate her drive and abmition.
    Brenda Niall is my go-to-biographer in Australia, loved MANNIX and I have her new book on my Kindle: “Friends and Rivals”.


Trackbacks & Pingbacks

  1. #AusReadingMonth2020 Wrap-up | NancyElin
  2. After the Count…should have won Walkley Award 2020 | NancyElin
  3. AusReading Month – Wrap Up Post – Brona (This Reading Life)

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