Centre for the Study of Australian Politics - Reviews

The Centre will also publish occasional reviews of books, plays and other events relating to Australian politics. The Centre welcomes suggestions of publications and events worth reviewing. The aim here is to generate a ‘reviews’ page on the broader cultural impact of publications and events dealing with significant political ideas in Australia. Offers to contribute to these pages are welcome.

Not Dead Yet: Labor's Post-Left Future - Mark Latham

Not Yet Dead ultimately proves that, when he puts his serious hat on, Mark Latham can be a substantial, insightful voice in Labor politics. As a man focussed on policy solutions, he might direct his provocation towards less entertaining ends than The Latham Diaries did, but, for any citizen, activist or politician concerned with Australia’s oldest living party’s future, this is good place to start. Review by Shaun Crowe.Read more

Author/Editor: Mark Latham
Publication Date: March 2015
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A First Place

David Malouf has been celebrated often, treated as the public intellectual Australia needs. But what happens when we turn the pages around and wonder what Malouf values in us as members of the Australian community - and what Malouf as a public intellectual thinks of the public culture evolving in Australia and how that public culture relates to wider global interests? Review by John Uhr.Read more

Author/Editor: David Malouf
Publication Date: June 2014
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Geoff Gallop - Politics, Society, Self: Occassional Writings

Geoff Gallop’s Politics, Society, Self is an oddly passionless book. Throughout, Gallop frequently returns to philosophical questions: why are we here? What is government for? How do we leave the world in a better state than we found it? More than any of these questions though, readers might find themselves pondering something more prosaic: who is this book supposed to be for? Review by Jennifer Rayner.Read more

Author/Editor: Geoff Gallop
Publication Date: November 2012
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Maxine McKew - Tales from the Political Trenches

In the weeks since the release of her book, Tales from the Political Trenches, Maxine McKew has often said that she sees it as a ‘second draft of history'. The chronicling of her time in federal parliament contains many salutary lessons for aspiring politicians. Above all, it shows that there is a certain art to losing power gracefully, an art that McKew has manifestly failed to master. Review by Jennifer Rayner.Read more

Author/Editor: Maxine McKew
Publication Date: November 2012
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James Button - Speechless: A Year in My Father's Business

It shouldn’t surprise us that speechwriters pen the most compelling books on political life. After all, their primary function is to forge a coherent narrative out of a disparate reality, to create comprehensibility out of complexity. Like the best in its tradition, Speechless should be read for doing two things extremely well: it documents an important period of Australian history, whilst examining the personalities that drove it. Review by... Read more

Author/Editor: James Button
Publication Date: November 2012
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Lindsay Tanner - Politics With Purpose: Occassional Observations on Public and Private Life

Whilst various members of the left might find specific grounds for criticism in Politics with Purpose, they should still take away one clear lesson. At their best, politics and social organisation can respond directly to pressing human needs. What Lindsay Tanner tells us, and has been doing so for twenty years, is that we should never lose sight of this guiding light. Review by Shaun Crowe.Read more

Author/Editor: Lindsay Tanner
Publication Date: October 2012
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Lindsay Tanner - Politics With Purpose: Occassional Observations on Public and Private Life

Politics with purpose makes an important contribution to the ongoing debate about Australia’s path into the coming century, and provides us with a clear insight into the history and ideology which still informs Labor thinking today. Don’t read it because you want to know who did what to whom inside Kevin Rudd’s ‘gang of four’; read it because, like Tanner, you care about where this country is going and how we’re going to get there together... Read more

Author/Editor: Lindsay Tanner
Publication Date: October 2012
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How We Misread Hitler - Review of Australia and Appeasement: Imperial Foreign Policy and the Origins of World War II

Imagine reading the inside story about government decisions on world politics. Imagine having sources which make public the private schemes of government power-brokers, often so far removed from managed political relations favoured by competing politicians. War is never an easy topic to write about, yet Walters has the scholarly gifts to do justice to this important history of Australia's international relations.Read more

Politics with Purpose: Occasional Observations on Public and Private Life

It is a sad irony that the Australian media's coverage of Lindsay Tanner's latest book Politics with purpose: occasional observations of public and private life focused almost exclusively on the ongoing tensions in the Labor Party over the toppling of Kevin Rudd, and his less-than-flattering assessment of the party's current state. Since leaving Parliament in 2010 Tanner has repeatedly said that the reduction of our national politics to a... Read more

Rupert Murdoch: An Investigation of Political Power

Too much has been written about Rupert Murdoch. David McNight’s book stands out from the rest in two ways. First, with a few exceptions (the financial structure of the Murdoch empire, the battle to take over The Wall Street Journal, the Leveson Inquiry), it offers coverage of Murdoch’s career as a media proprietor which is more comprehensive than that offered by most of its competitors. And second, as its subtitle suggests, it focuses on Murdoch... Read more

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