Australian Politics Book reviews (with the occasional off-topic review)

 
  K160 Minister for Railways

Location: Bendigo
EDIT 16/11/20: Seeing as I'm reading a few of these books of late I thought a thread title change was in order.Having just finished this book I thought I would give a short review on it.




Party Animals takes a look at the Labor Party 2019 Election campaign and attempts to detail why it didn't result in Labor returning to Government after loosing power to the Coalition in 2013 as predicted by so many leading up to the Election.

The book examines details such as the vast list of proposed policies, the poor response to the 'Death Tax/Retirees Tax' campaign by the Coalition (which was a return of serve following the Labor 'Medi-Scare' campaign at the 2016 Election), the early polling predictions, the slow response to the questions of how much the Climate Change policies were going to cost the country, Clive Palmer's ad campaign against Labor, the Adani mine issue, the Section 44 saga that landed blows to both Labor and the Coalition which triggered Bi-Elections, that saga with Shorten's late Mother and the rise of Albanese following Shorten stepping down the night of the Election.

The book features interviews with all the Labor players. It is interesting to note that many still cannot understand how the Election was lost when all the signs pointed to a victory. As it turns out there were early signs the victory was not that assured but seemed to be missed in early polling. The cover photo has an interesting story behind it also: it was posted to Facebook on April 5th 2019 with the caption 'We're ready'. (For a laugh look up promotional photos of the 2012 U.S. Mini-Series 'Political Animals' starring Sigourney Weaver and compare the office photo to the Labor one. Clearly this is why the Author choose the title they did).

A recommended read for those who follow politics. I've been on a diet of titles on the 2015-2018 Liberal leadership turmoils for the past month so this book was a change-up looking at the Opposition's woes.

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  K160 Minister for Railways

Location: Bendigo
I'm playing catchup as I finished this book a couple of weeks ago.



The Insider is an account of life in Federal Politics by Christopher Pyne. He spent some 26 years serving as the Federal member for Sturt in South Australia. In that time he was a Minister in the Howard-Abbott-Turnbull and Morrison Governments. These included being the Minister for Ageing, Minister for Education, Minster for Industry-Innovation-Science and finally the Minister of Defence before announcing his departure from politics ahead of the May 2019 election.

The book details some of his personal life growing up and how he got involved in politics. It also provides some insight into issues such as the SSM debate (and the plebiscite that followed behind). The Leadership spills of Abbott and Turnbull are also included. A chapter is reserved for his time as the Defence Minster which he seemed to enjoy the most.

I must admit I wasn't ever a big fan of Chris in politics (I always thought his hairstyle in later years looked like a 2-minute noodle cake) but this does soften the hard appearance he often portrayed just a little. I had to laugh at his short story that saw him dubbed 'The Fixer'.

A change up from reading titles solely focused on Labor-Liberal leadership woes in Government over the past decade of which I have plenty.
  Valvegear Oliver Bullied, CME

Location: Norda Fittazroy
I have just finished reading "Party Animals". K160 has already given us a pretty good review of the book, but I will comment on the ALP hubris which was obvious. So many appeared to believe that it was going to be a repeat of Keating d Hewson, that proper planning and presentation of policies was haphazard to put it mildly. At times I was tempted to wonder whether I was reading about the ALP in 2019 or 1959, such was the internal dysfunctional chaos. It was "policy on the run" and that is never going to work.
  K160 Minister for Railways

Location: Bendigo
A good companion to Party Animals is this book I read last week:



This is Aaron Patrick's Third book. The Suprise Party covers the Coalition woes beginning with the installment of Turnbull as Prime Minister (it starts here as Patrick's Second book, Credlin and Co, covered the Abbott years of Government). The 2016 Election was an absolute trainwreck for the Government and off the back of this is where the Labor Party starting making it's mistakes in an attempt to better the result and take power in the 2019 Election. It covers the transition from Turnbull to Morrison and then delves into the 2019 Election campaign and highlights the little things that provided Labor with early warnings (that were ignored) that they were setting themselves up for a defeat rather than a sure victory. Shorten's....errrr....shortcomings get a mention or two including the belief post-Election that it was 'other forces' that saw them loose rather than the policies and the perceptions about himself.

I've previously read Credlin and Co so the story in this book flows straight on from that title. Just this week I have started reading Patrick's First book Downfall- How the Labor Party ripped itself apart which kicks off the whole decade of mess for Australian Federal Politics. More on that book when I've finished it.
  K160 Minister for Railways

Location: Bendigo
I was on the hunt for this one about 2 months ago and managed to pick up a copy while trawling over the bookshelves at a Second-Hand bookshop in Echuca:



Downfall: How the Labor Party ripped itself apart is Aaron Patrick's First book and covers the Labor Party at a State and Federal level. When it came to Federal power in 2007 the Party occupied all Governments across Australia. They were on cloud 9....or should have been.

By 2013 things turned very sour. Of course the 2010-2013 Federal Leadership changes form the centerpiece of the troubles and they are covered in other books plus the 3-part Doco series 'The Killing Season' in more detail. This book covers the other issues which either contributed to or were the result of those changes. Corruption scandals in NSW, State election losses in Victoria-NSW-QLD in 2010-2011-2012 respectively, the Craig Thompson Affair and Peter Slipp-ups are just a selection of the issues covered in some detail. There is a bit of background on how the Labor Party Factions and their powers work (I learned a bit here I must admit), how Bill Shorten rose through Union ranks to become a major power player and Julia Gillard's rise (and how some of it became a little sticky when she was PM). The events in the book conclude prior to the decision to put Kevin Rudd back in the Leadership Chair but it does mention that Labor was expected to lose the 2013 Election (which they did, just not with Gillard in the chair as originally predicted).

A would-recommend this book should you be able to track a copy down. I will have to read my copy of Credlin and Co. again at some stage so I can give a review here and complete the collection of Aaron Patrick works. In the meantime I've started reading my First British Royal book Battle of Brothers which was recently released. I may throw a review in when I've finished reading it despite it not really being a Australian Politics title (another thread name change will let that one through).
  K160 Minister for Railways

Location: Bendigo
As mentioned this one is a little off the original topic but why not I say:



Released only a month or so ago Battle of Brothers by Robert Lacey covers the story of William and Harry; two brothers born into the British Royal Family and the products of what turned out to be anything but a happy marriage between Charles and the late Diana (The Prince and Princess of Wales).

The book starts off with some more recent events such as the birth of Archie: son of Harry and Megan (or as their Royal titles at the time the Duke and Duchess of Sussex). It then goes back in time to when Charles was seeking a partner but for various reasons did not end up with his First choice: Camilla Parker-Bowles. Thus after a period of time it was Diana Spencer who he married in what was ultimately described by some as a business relationship to produce an Heir and a spare. The Heir (William born 1982) seemed to grasp quite early on his high likelihood of being King one day while the spare (Harry/Henry born 1984) never saw himself as a true member of the Royal Family and probably would have preferred a more normal life. History shows the environment the two brothers grew up in was far from normal. The eventual breakdown of the Charles-Diana marriage that came to the public's full attention in 1992 and followed with Diana's death in 1997 when both brothers were so young meant they were never going to experience anything normal for kids growing up. The different treatment of both brothers by the Royal Family on various matters slowly drove a wedge between them.

Even if you are not a big Royalist it is an interesting read into the more recent events concerning the British Royal Family. Robert Lacey is a British Historian and has written several books on the Royals along with subjects such as Henry Ford.

I haven't decided which book I'm reading next. I do have one that broaches the Australian Politics/British Royals subjects so it might get a look in for the next review.

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