Australia’s longest-ever political campaign will reach its climax this year, although the 14 September poll date is no longer certain. It has led to a publishing bonanza in Australian political books. There are new titles that focus on the woes of the Labor Party and books by Labor MPs about how to fix it, a couple of interesting books look at the failures of modern political life generally, and lastly, there’s Clive. Dave Martus, manager of Dymocks Neutral Bay in Sydney, takes a look at what’s on offer in the coming months.
Aaron Patrick’s (melo)dramatically titled Downfall: How the Labor Party Ripped Itself Apart (ABC Books), which was fast-tracked to publication in June, lays bare the self-destructive path of the ALP that led from the huge victory in 2007 to potential electoral devastation in 2013. The Stalking of Julia Gillard: How the Media and Team Rudd Contrived to Bring Down the Prime Minister by Kerry-Anne Walsh (A&U) has also been fast-tracked and will be released in July. Walsh, herself a journalist, details a central event in Labor’s implosion, pointing the finger at the press and a faction of faceless men.
David Marr’s Rudd v. Abbott (Black Inc., July) combines Marr’s ‘Quarterly Essays’ on Rudd and Abbott, Power Trip and Political Animal.
Former minister Chris Bowen used his time on the back bench to write Hearts and Minds: A Blueprint for Modern Labor (MUP, July) in which he outlines how the ALP might reform itself and win back its traditional support. Fellow former minister and Rudd supporter Kim Carr offers his ideas for revitalizing the ALP in A Letter to Generation Next: Why Labor (MUP, August), although presumably he doesn’t think it will take a generation.
Geoff Aigner and Liz Skelton ponder why Australians have such a problem with leadership in The Australian Leadership Paradox (A&U, August); Jim Chalmers examines why Australians have so little faith in politics and government in Glory Daze: How a World-Beating Nation got so Down on Itself (MUP, July); and Richard King’s On Offence: the Politics of Indignation (Scribe, September) is sure to spark debate as he takes aim at political correctness.
For some light relief Scribe is publishing Dirt Files: A Decade of Best Australian Political Cartoons (Scribe, July). And love him or hate him, it’s impossible to ignore Clive Palmer. Now that Clive has a national political party, Sean Parnell’s Clive: The Story of Clive Palmer (HarperCollins, September) won’t just sell in Queensland.
Not to be left out, there are revised editions of Tony Abbott’s Battlelines (MUP), James Button’s Speechless (MUP, August), Laura Tingle’s Great Expectations (Black Inc., August) and David Marr’s Panic (Black Inc., August).
There is also likely to be renewed interests in previously published titles about the election’s key players. The Rise of the Ruddbot by Annabel Crabb (Black Inc.), about Kevin Rudd’s initial rise to power, was published in 2010 before Julia Gillard took over as PM. Also likely to be revisited is Political Animal: The Making of Tony Abbott by David Marr (Black Inc., October 2012), which explores Tony Abbott’s formative years.