"This is a book for the record of a specific time, essentially 1983-1991, when I was an Australian Government Minister for Primary Industry and then Minister for Primary Industries and Energy, but with some relevant commentary before and after this period. It is designed as a source document rather than another exercise in aggrandisement or selfjustification. It is about being in a position of power and influence and what unfolded as a result of preparation and response to events during the time of a reforming government. It is essentially about the making of agricultural and natural resource management policy at national level during a time of transition in the world’s and Australia’s economy. It is part autobiographical and part memoir. It is about politics and policy and it is both reflective and introspective. On industry policy, it is about issue management in a climate of complexity in an adversarial environment. In some ways it is an economic history of a time when the days of protection and subsidisation were being dispensed with in Australian agricultural policy, when we were opening up to the world for Australian agriculture to be more efficient, productive and competitive. It is about the realities of politics, public policy making and administration as well as its implementation from the perspective of a one-time farmer, economic researcher and political practitioner.
Given the changes since that time, the work may be of some value as a source document to demonstrate how and why policy decisions in a specific portfolio area were made, and to assess where policy changes have been built on since then."