Labor’s history wars roll on

4 Jun 2014

Paralysed leader or bad advice? A new account of the Rudd–Gillard government looks at what it says about the party’s future

Troy Bramston’s readable quickie sets out to advise the leadership of the Labor Party on how to avoid the disasters that befell the Rudd and Gillard governments. He summarises the policies of these governments and their murderous internal politics, and presents a range of suggestions – some his own, some channelled through former prime ministers Gough Whitlam, Bob Hawke and Paul Keating – about how to “rebuild” the Labor Party so it can, one day, return to office.

Rudd, Gillard and Beyond thus joins a teetering tower of titles dealing with various aspects of what went right and what went wrong between 2007 and 2013. Already more than a dozen books have been written by frontbenchers (Chris Bowen, Jim Chalmers, Maxine McKew, Andrew Leigh, Lindsay Tanner, and Carrs Kim and Bob) and pundits (Barrie Cassidy, Peter Hartcher, Jacqueline Kent, George Megalogenis, Aaron Patrick, Anne Summers, Kerry-Anne Walsh), and more are on the way.

Bramston’s book coincides with the arrival of Philip Chubb’s forensic take-down of Labor’s carbon pricing scheme. Julia Gillard’s memoir is en route, as is Wayne Swan’s, though the Rudd entourage is apparently content to provide background briefings without committing to an authoritative version of events. It was in this crowded field that Bramston, a News Limited journalist and former Rudd staffer, found himself with both an opportunity and a problem…

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Photo: FusionVision/ Flickr

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