Louise Milligan is an investigative reporter for ABC TV's Four Corners. Her first book was Cardinal: The rise and fall of George Pell (2017), which won the Walkley Book Award and broke massive international news about the court case and successive and ultimately successful appeals involving one of the most senior members of the Catholic Church hierarchy.
Her second book is Witness: An investigation into the brutal cost of seeking justice (2020). Among many awards for her work, she's also the recipient of the 2019 Press Freedom Medal.
Louise mentions her ongoing professional relationship with her publisher Louise Adler, who has been a guest on The Garret before.
ASTRID: Louise Milligan, welcome to The Garret.
LOUISE: Thanks so much. Great to be here.
ASTRID: Now, you are an award-winning journalist, a reporter for ABC's Four Corners, and of course, the author of Cardinal: The rise and fall of George Pell, which received the Walkley Award and well... Your reporting went where few people have dared to go before. You took on the Catholic Church and Louise, I am going to do my very best to ask you good questions because I'm a little bit nervous.
LOUISE: Don't be nervous. It's just me.
ASTRID: Now look, you know what makes a good story, and you know how to evidence that story, to tell the stories that matter, but with everything that is needed to back it up. I'm interested in going a level behind that. What are the common threads in stories, in real-life events, that you can't let go, and what does a story have to have that makes you devote years of your life to it?
LOUISE: I think profound injustice is the common theme, and heart. They're the things that I'm really drawn to, where people who have voices that would not otherwise be heard, that I can give them the opportunity to be heard. I mean, a lot of people ask me about, ‘It must be terrible hearing these stories about child abuse and sexual assault and sexual abuse and all that sort of thing over and over again’, and yes, it is, but unfortunately you get used to hearing those terrible details of those crimes. It's a little bit like being a doctor, I suppose. You get used to seeing the blood and guts.
But what you don't get used to, and what keeps propelling you forward, is when people come forward and tell those stories to authorities, be they in the case of the people in Cardinal, the Catholic Church, and Catholic Church bodies, but also the court system, and when those systems and those institutions let them down, and they are subjected to what I can only describe as, and I'm speaking in the broad here, I'm not speaking about any individuals, legal abuse. That was drawn into very sharp relief for me when I became a witness in the Pell committal proceeding. I'm sure I don't have to remind any of your listeners who George Pell is and what he was accused of. It was very, very, well-known, and I don't want to go into that because it's all done and dusted now, but I was a witness in his committal proceeding, and it was an absolutely excoriating process. I was cross-examined for a full day by his barrister, Robert Richter QC, and look, Richter was doing a job. He was trying to disprove the Crown's case, which the Crown was trying to prove beyond reasonable doubt. He was trying to find reasonable doubts, and for whatever reason, he saw me as quite key to that, and the defence saw me as key to that, and so in the process of that, I was just subjected to this absolute barrage. Now, that's part of the process, really, in a court case. We have a high standard of proof beyond reasonable doubt. Defence counsel have to give their clients a really robust defence, but I would argue that it tipped over into something more, and I felt that it became, in my opinion, from what I saw, bullying.
And the thing is, I knew how lucky I was in that position because I've got a law degree and I've watched many, many cases in court. I knew how to handle myself. I was being advised by an amazing QC, but most people in this situation do not have any of that, and particularly, complainants of sexual crimes do not have any of that, and it made me very determined that when I recovered from the trauma, because I have to say, I was very traumatised by it, and when that whole case was finished, that I would tell this story, and that I would try and seek some answers. Because I think it needs to change.
ASTRID: And things brings us to Witness: An investigation into the brutal cost of seeking justice, which is your second book, just published in 2020. I, obviously, love reading, and I love nonfiction, and I respect what a book is. Before we go into the detail of how you wrote Witness, and why you wrote it, I'm interested in your thoughts as a journalist and a writer, on the historical weight of a book. What is different about publishing a book, than a series of long-form articles in a major respected outlet? What does a book do?
LOUISE: Well, for a start, on a very basic level, it gives you a lot more time to really reflect on and flesh out the issues that you're exploring. I mean, that's a huge advantage that you don't have... I'm pretty lucky I work for Four Corners. We make 45-minute documentaries, which in televisual terms, is a lot. That's a lot of real estate. Usually, it's a minute 20 for a news story. However, that's still really not enough to go into all of the nuances of a particular issue, so that's one thing. I also love writing. I've always loved writing, and I've missed that long form writing since I got into television. I used to a newspaper journalist before that. I've always wanted to write books, and there's a permanence about them that... just the weight of that object... I don't know. It's different to anything else that you can produce in journalism that might on a screen or a television set, or a newspaper, a magazine. I feel really lucky to be able to publish books, and to have Louise Adler, who is my publisher and champion. She's really interested in getting the issues that I am interested in out there to the readers, to the market.
ASTRID: Louise is a wonderful publisher. I had the great joy of interviewing Louise about book sales and what choices a publisher makes, and absolutely fascinating and highly skilled woman. Can you give us a 30 second pitch to Witness, so we can then unpick it?
LOUISE: Well, Witness is about what it's like to be a complainant of a sexual crime in the criminal justice system, and how the criminal justice system fails those people so spectacularly. But it's also an insight into the practitioners of the law who cross-examine these people, and why they do the job in the way they do it, and what are perhaps some of the issues behind why they do that job, and what can be changed in order to fix this situation, because we ask so much of people in terms of them coming before the courts. We ask them to pluck up the courage to talk about probably the worst thing that ever happened in their life, and when we do that, we treat them often with discourtesy, disrespect, disdain, and we prevent people from coming forward because the system is so bad. And what does that mean? Well, that means that perpetrators of these terrible crimes get away with it, because conviction rates remain low, and also, survivors don't want to come forward because they don't want to be put through this. Well, I think that's a terrible indictment on the system, so that's what Witness is exploring.
ASTRID: Witness has been out for about a month. What are the initial reactions you are getting from readers, but also from the profession? From the system?
LOUISE: It's been really gratifying, actually. I've had very good reviews for the book, which is a huge relief, and the legal profession has been very welcoming of the book, which again, is a... well, not so much a relief. I wasn't writing it to please them, but I did want them to hear what I had to say. I don't set them up as villains in the book. I have great affection for barristers. They've been my sources all my career, journalistically, but they're also great fun and they're interesting people, and journalists and barristers tend to get along well. But yes, I've heard from a lot of lawyers at Lawyers Weekly, and also the Victorian Bar News have been very supportive, and as for readers, I've just had a lot of people say to me, which they also said with Cardinal, that they read the book in three days and they couldn't put it down. As a reader myself, that's enormously gratifying to know that you're writing something that people feel really engaged with and want to keep going with. -.
I'm bowled over, because I wrote this book in lockdown. I was home-schooling two children, one with additional needs, and eventually, one of my kids ended up going next door to my dad's place, but I was still home-schooling my son at that point. Basically, what I ended up having to do was start working at about eight o'clock at night, and I'd be working until 2 am a lot of the time. So it was a very weird process and I was exhausted by the end of it. And I knew that there was good stuff there, but it's hard to look at it objectively when you're just so tired. And then I just jumped straight into Four Corners, working on a show for five months about the Canberra bubble, which caused somewhat of a splash. I've just been exhausted, so it's really nice to hear people say that this is a good book, that this is something that needed to be said, because I felt so strongly about it.
ASTRID: Louise, you've just listed some of the work that you've done this year, which is more than most people produce in a normal year, and 2020 is not a normal year, particularly when you add home-schooling to it. Congratulations, just a on personal level.
LOUISE: Thank you.
ASTRID: When you say you wrote this in lockdown, clearly you've been thinking about this and experiencing it and observing things for years.
LOUISE: Mm-hmm (affirmative).
ASTRID: But do you mean, you literally picked up the pen March this year when lockdowns in Melbourne began, and started pulling it together in the form of a book?
LOUISE: Well, no. The book was commissioned last year, but because I work at Four Corners and that's a full-time job and three quarters, I can only really do this when I'm on leave, so over the summer, I did a whole lot of interviews, and I started writing bits and pieces, but really, the proper writing I didn't do till just before lockdown started, basically. And when lockdown happened at first, the kids were still at school. I thought, ‘Oh, this is great. I'm going to be in lockdown anyway. I'm going to be writing a book’. But then we were really stuck in our homes, and I had children trying to come to terms with the anxiety of living in pandemic, but also the anxiety of trying to home-school and all of that. Yeah. It was challenging, to say the very least.
ASTRID: Now, you are a journalist and have a great respect for the truth, but I'm interested in... What kind of fact checking goes into a book? I mean, I'm a huge reader, but I wouldn't know how to fact check a manuscript, particularly one that is dealing with real people, court cases, public figures. It adds a whole other layer of making sure every single detail is right. What is the fact checking process?
LOUISE: Well, I'm quite lucky in the sense that at Four Corners, we have a really rigorous fact checking process for every story that we do, and so with Four Corners stories, we have myself, the reporter, a producer, and a researcher, that work on the story all the way through, and at the end, we go through, line by line, and the three of us have a meeting. We say, ‘How do we know that? How do we know that? How do we know that?’ And we go back to primary source material, and check with that. And we go through it a couple of times. I was very cognizant of the fact that I would have to do this myself at first instance, so I fact checked as I went. If I wrote something, I went back and just checked the primary source material. I mean, fortunately, the case studies that I was looking at in this book... and the two main ones were the Saxon Mullins case from the Four Corners story I Am That Girl, and then also Paris Street's case from the Four Corners story about St. Kevin's boys' club. We had already gone through very stringent fact checking for those processes, but also, for both of those, I had very detailed court transcript, in the case of Saxon, and in the case of Paris, his whole case had an audio clip, basically.
So that made things a lot easier as well. I could just go back to those, but there is a sense of paranoia because of the permanence of books, and I also said to the publisher, ‘Please fact check it as you go as well’. The editor also just independently verifies, is this the correct title, is this the year that this happened, did this person do that. And inevitably, as an individual, you try really hard to make sure that no things slipped through, but human nature will have it, that it's always good to have second set of eyes, and a third set of eyes. The way that Hachette does it is... Louise Adler is my publisher-at-large. She checked it, and then the editor checked it, and then the editor above her checked it, and it's just that process of making sure that everything's absolutely watertight, because it's very important to me that everything's right.
ASTRID: I'm not quite sure how to phrase this question, Louise. Obviously, Cardinal, your first book, got a lot of publicity. It was wonderful book and it did make waves. When a publisher... and I know Louise was with you for Cardinal and also again, with Witness, what are the conversations that you have with the publisher or the publishing house? What are the extra layers of, ‘Should we do this? How will we do this? What are the protections for you, as the author? What are the protections for the publishing house?’ I mean, is there an additional layer of, let's tell this story but protect the story and the people involved in putting it in print?
LOUISE: Yeah. Key to that is having a very robust legalling process, making sure that we're not defaming anyone, that everything stacks up. It went through witness, went through many, many layers of checking by the solicitors who act for the publisher. Cardinal was the same thing. It was a slightly different process, because all publishers do it differently, but that is very, very important, and it's something that is incredibly important to me, because at Four Corners, we have very, very careful processes with legalling as well, and in fact, we go through a two-stage legal process with every story that we do, no matter how innocuous that story might seem at first instance.
I had to laugh. After I had gone through the ordeal of being a witness in the Pell committal proceeding, and I had released by first book Cardinal and all of that, and I had done some pretty intense stories for Four Corners, including Saxon Mullins's story, my boss, Sally Neighbour said to me, ‘I've got another story for you’. And I thought, ‘Oh God, what is it?’ And she's like, ‘You're going to do the Royals’. The Royal family. She's like, ‘You just need a break, Louise. You need to do something that's not really grim for a change’. And so, I did this story. I went over to the UK, and it was all about the marketing of the Royals and the finances of the Royals, and it ended up being quite a hard story to do in lots of ways, because we had to do most of the research from Australia, and so I was working opposite hours and whatever, but I do remember the lawyers at the end of it... so we have a meeting where everyone in the show watches the first rough cut, as we call it.
And the lawyers always come into that as well, and at the end of the show, the lawyer said, ‘I don't have anything’. And it was just like, ‘Can we have that written and framed on the wall?’ Because I don't think that has ever happened before. But when you are used to that sort of process, it means that you're not intimidated by it, and you're used to working with lawyers, plus I also have a legal background myself. I did a law degree, so it's very helpful to engage with all of that, and to think through those issues as you go.
ASTRID: I mused a lot on the title of your second book, Witness. I mean, you were obviously referring to the role that witnesses play in our legal system, the act of being on the stand and being asked questions, but also I felt you were writing into our contemporary literature... You were witnessing what it is like. It's almost like a testament to what the system does to people, to individuals. And I guess this a long-winded way of asking your thoughts on, the legalities of everything side, asking your thoughts on the ethics of and the morals as a journalist, of telling people stories and often they're already in public, but how do you feel? Do you send the book to those you name? Do they know it's coming?
LOUISE: Yeah. They all knew it was coming, and I have sent the book to some of the people that I named. I guess, with this one, because I was dealing with lawyers, I knew that in order to get them to participate in the process, I would probably have to send back their quotes to them because... so a lot of them asked for me to do that. So that meant that they knew what they were expecting, and there was some of them... I really applaud their commitment to the truth being out there, because some of the things that they said were quite uncomfortable. Actually, I was interviewed by the Victorian Bar News the other day by a barrister, and he was saying before started, he said, ‘I can't believe what some of these people said to you’. I don't know. I guess with this one, because a lot of it was based on journalism that I had already done, and I had really, really strong relationships with the protagonists, that made the process a little bit easier. Saxon and Paris for instance, and all of the people involved in their stories, I have a very, very strong bond with.
I think that happens when you expose something really big. You just become a bit tied to these people in lots of ways, and in a good way. I mean, one of the things that really impressed me during the whole St. Kevins process, was that that community... it's hard to explain for people who don't belong to it, that school has such a strong culture. Someone described it to me almost like a cult, in a way, because people... I mean, not the bad way. There's no David Koresh in this situation, but just in the sense of, most people don't put their school front and centre on their Facebook page, as part of their profile. But that is very common for people from St. Kevins. There are Old Boys' networks that help them to get jobs, and they rise to the top of professions like the law, and they club together. To speak outside that community, to criticise the school, is seen as a massive thing. But we had people in that story who were just willing to come forward, because they wanted to speak the truth. They wanted to expose a culture that was really, really concerning, and they wanted to speak out for child protection.
And there was one man in particular, Patrick Noonan, who spoke in that story, who is a barrister, and his son was starting at St. Kevins two weeks before the story went to air. And the story was incredibly controversial. It led to the entire leadership team of the school leaving, and a number of other teachers being let go, so that was a really big deal for him as a new parent and an Old Boy, and his brother was an Old Boy, and his nephews went to the school. But at the end of the day, he just said to me, ‘Louise, I just think it's too important. I want to speak up for what's right’. And people like that, they just impress me enormously. People who act against immediate superficial self-interest in order to speak up for the truth and expose injustice, that's what we do as journalists. But we rely upon a whole lot of other people to help us do that work, and I do think that one of the things that I find a difficult with Australians is, I don't think that Australians are naturally inclined towards putting themselves out there, taking a risk.
And often, even if an individual is, they'll go back to their families, and their families will say, ‘Why would you do that? Why would you do that? Why would you put yourself through that?’ And they catastrophize, and they think, ‘Oh my goodness. What's going to happen if I stick my head above the parapet and do an interview on Four Corners, or be involved in a book that that woman is writing?’ But in the end, the catastrophe almost never happens, and what happens instead is that systems and institutions and cultures and communities that are broken, and in some cases, rotten, are exposed, and hopefully renewed. And in the case of St. Kevins, my goodness. That story led to the first female principal in the entire history of the school. Paris Street's bravery led to widespread cultural change at that school, but what I wanted to show with this book is that five years down the track from him being involved in the legal system, he is still traumatised by that experience, and he's as traumatised by this experience in court, and by the institutional betrayal of his school, as he was by the crime that was committed against him by an athletics coach who groomed him as 15-year-old boy.
We need to know that, because that can't happen to people. That can't happen to teenagers. That can't happen to young people. Can't happen to people who, 40 years later, come forward and talk about the fact that some creepy Christian brother sexually abused them when they were a child. I just don't think that it's fair.
ASTRID: It is so far from being fair. It is a crime, and a horror. Louise, I teach writing and I know many students, many writers, shy away from writing some of the stories they really want to write, because they're afraid of how the world will deal with them and they are afraid of the backlash against them personally, as the person who is bringing it to light. Now, they're not journalists, but they are telling stories, so I recognise that journalism is a profession and has certain securities and norms, but how do you approach that on a personal level? I don't mean self-care, I mean, as a professional working with words, how do you look after yourself and your team when you are dealing with such difficult and traumatic subject matter?
LOUISE: Well, first of all, I think the first line of defence is to get it right, and that's going back to the legal side of things, the fact checking side of things, to make sure that you're on solid ground. The second thing is, you will be subject to criticism. There is a, I think, disturbing trend in Australian culture, and we see it overseas as well, polarisation of opinion, where people line up on either sides of a debate, and never the twain shall meet. Well, I'm much more interested in the nuance in between. I mean, I said this with the Four Corners story that we ran a couple of weeks ago, Inside the Canberra Bubble, that I could've written the opinion pieces criticising that beforehand for those people, because I knew exactly what they would say. I could've saved them the trouble and actually, I probably could've avoided some of the tortured prose, but that's another issue.
But people will say what they say, and the bottom line is, that there are a lot of vested interests out there, and certainly in relation to the whole Cardinal Pell issue, one thing that really disturbed all the way along with that was that people took a position from day dot. And they never, ever wanted to listen to any sort of criticism of him, no matter what, and they wanted to believe that he was an innocent victim. And the reason for that is because he aligned with their particular worldview. Now whether that be muscular, traditional, Catholic conservatism, I should say, or whether that be that he was fellow combatant in their particular episode of the culture wars, or that he was politically aligned with them. They wanted to protect him, and so as I said, it didn't matter what happened, they would always go into bat for him. They would always find an excuse to criticise people who exposed issues with him. I mean, the bottom line is, whatever the High Court found, a five-year Royal Commission went through thousands of pages of documents, heard countless hours of evidence, and subjected that to forensic scrutiny, and it found that he knew about some of the worst paedophiles in Australian history.
Now, not just paedophile priests. He knew about some of the worst paedophiles in Australian history, who happened to be priests. And after his knowledge, those people went on to abuse many other children terribly, and I know the families of some of the people who took their lives, and pain that they go through. I know the children, now middle-aged adults, who cannot forget what happened to them, and live with it every single day of their lives. I don't understand why, because the High Court ultimately found that there must have been a reasonable doubt in the jury, it decided in its wisdom, that it knew better than the jury who sat and watched every single day of evidence. I don't understand why they can just push away everything else that has been exposed about this person, but it just tells you a lot about the way that some people in the community are really fixed in their views, and they just don't want to know anything that might tear down people that align with them.
There's nothing that I can do about that, and there were some pretty bruising times, particularly when the High Court decision happened, because I was feeling so desperately sad for the people who came forward and went through five years of hell, and then this was the ultimate conclusion. And I was also feeling... I was being subjected to this barrage of media nonsense, but I was also, as I write about in the book, being pursued by a person who was threatening to kill me, over and over again, and in very specific ways, and trying to get the police to act on that. Yeah. That was all very stressful, but at the end of the day, I feel like I did the right thing, and I feel proud of what I did and I wanted to stand up for people whose voices would otherwise not have been heard. I don't care what those naysayers say. I now feel like what doesn't kill you makes you stronger, and so it was interesting when the whole chorus of stuff happened with the Canberra bubble. It just doesn't bother me at all. I had all these people contacting me going, ‘Are you okay? Are you all right? I'm so sorry’, and I'm like, ‘I'm fine’.
Because actually, same with the last time that this happened, the vast majority of people supported what we were doing, and it did move the conversation forward, and it did expose things that wouldn't have been known otherwise.
ASTRID: I got a little chill when you said that you are proud, because I think, and this is just a personal opinion, but I think that the power of truth-telling and the written word, it can change things, and you are one of the people in Australia who are changing things by telling stories, real stories. You have worked with Louise Adler at two different publishing houses, Melbourne University Press and Hachette. What makes Louise a good publisher? Why do you trust her to be on your side when you are taking on institutions and power brokers, I guess?
LOUISE: I love Louise like a tiger. I love her so much. She's now become one of my best friends. She has such a huge passion for life, and for people, and for books and stories, and she's just a force of nature. I'll never forget when I... I first met her because I had written a story about my son, who happens to have autism and ADHD, and it was a piece for The Guardian that went viral. I mean, it was just something I dashed off one night, because they asked me to reply to some piece that had said that people with autism didn't have empathy, and I wanted to say that my son has so much empathy that it almost hurts, and how he makes my heart explode with love every time I look at him. Anyway. It was just about that, and Louise read it and she knew Leigh Sales, who I was then working with at the 7:30 program, and she asked Leigh to get in contact with me. We had lunch, and she said, ‘Do you want to write about autism?’ She said, ‘I don't care what you want to write about. I know that you can write. What do you want to write about?’
And she was looking for someone at the time to write a book about George Pell, and was having a bit of difficulty finding someone, and I was, at the time, working on the 7:30 story that was about the complainants that had come forward. We got talking about that, and I said to her, ‘I've got this story and it's going to be big’, and she said, ‘Oh my God’. And she basically did not let up until I finally agreed to write the book. I heard from her constantly. She's the most persistent person ever, but she manages to do it with such charm and aplomb. I would feel like a stalker if I was contacting someone as much as Louise has been. She manages to do it with... You just feel charmed, because she's a great person. She's been in the trenches there with me, and it's been a very difficult process, and she lost her job at MUP during that process, in what I found, a profoundly, profoundly unfair process by the University of Melbourne, and one that I felt... if I was a student, I would feel really, really concerned about, because it was a major cultural institution interfering in the editorial independence of its publishing house. And MUP is not what it once was, and that is a really, really sad, sad, development.
I mean, obviously there are still some really good, lovely people working there, and they're producing some worthy books and so on, but it's not what it was. Everyone in publishing knows that. I'm just very glad that she has been able to go on to Hachette, and the women... and pretty much everyone I've dealt with there has been a woman so far, but the women at Hachette are really, really great. Women, again, great champions of my work and good work, and I'm really happy to be there with them.
ASTRID: I have one final question for you. You've now written two books. They are two substantial works. Where will you go next?
LOUISE: Look, at the moment, I'm just going to focus on Four Corners. I mean, I do love writing books, but they take a thousand percent out of me, and it's very intense. I can only take so much time off work, so it ends up meaning that I'll work all day, and then write all night, and that's a really hard thing to go through, and I've got two children, and I've got a husband and a family, and I need to have a bit of time off. My big thing is that I only want to write books if they are something that I feel incredibly passionate about, and that I think are worthwhile books. I have seen this happen with journalist friends, where they somehow get inveigled into writing a book about something that, really, no one's going to buy in any great... you know what I mean? It's not going to be a book that is going to change things in any major way. It's not going to get read by many people, and they've spent so much time and put so much heartache into it, but really, it just goes nowhere. That does not appeal to me at all, because I'm too time-poor, to be honest.
But also, I want to write books that do change a little part of the world, and do get people thinking, and fortunately, I certainly was able to do that with Cardinal. I hope that Witness will have the same impact. The thing with the legal system is, there have been incremental changed to help complainant witnesses through the Royal Commission, through law reform commission inquiries, and they keep tweaking, tweaking, tweaking, but they're really not there yet. I do think that part of the equation is not just about looking at the mechanics of the legal system and how it can be better for complainants, but barristers and judges and all of the people that are involved in the system, looking into their hearts and thinking, ‘We have human beings in front of us here, and if we ask those human beings to go through this scarifying process, we need to treat them with more dignity and respect’. It's not that hard to treat someone with dignity and respect, and also, it doesn't go against your forensic process of finding a reasonable doubt.
You can find inconsistencies in someone's evidence, or you can pursue your client's case, without treating someone in a disdainful way. It's just not necessary. There's no other forum in society where it would happen. I mean, I was saying to someone the other day, ‘Parliament's probably the closest thing, but you're not talking about anal rape in Parliament’. And the other thing is this idea, and this was part of the reason I called Witness, Witness, was because I wanted to draw attention to the fact that these people are considered witnesses, when in fact, the process wouldn't exist without them. Saxon Mullins says in the book, ‘I wasn't hovering above my own body. This happened to me’. But they are infantilized and... I don't know. Just seen as bit players in the most terrible thing that ever happened in their lives. Now, it's not about a wholesale change of the system, it's about making the system more empathetic to their needs. Not just the system, though, the people in the system. I just want them to think about, how would you feel if this was your wife, or your daughter, or your son? You wouldn't treat them in this way.
So that's what I'm just hoping, that there can be some change, because when you're a baby journalist, that's what you hope for. That's the goal. When we have those magic moments where we can make change, there's just nothing better.
ASTRID: I adore your honesty, and I have to say, I deeply respect your compassion, your integrity, and your intellect as well. Thank you so much, Louise.
LOUISE: Oh. Thank you. I really appreciate it. It's great to have the opportunity to talk about book.