Monday, August 2, 2010

Australian politics

I love Australian elections, especially when I can be there on the night. And Australian politics in general is so much more entertaining than ours, with the all-too-rare exception of a Chris Carter. It is so much nastier, so much more personal, bigger in every way. And the factions! So I was interested to read Caroline Overington’s review in the Spectator of Betrayal: the Underbelly of Australian Labor by Simon Benson. It is a corker. Money quote:
It’s all very bleak and grubby, but the true value of the book is the exploration of how power in NSW is a function of deals done in the backrooms; of men and women of limited talent and less honour swapping seats between each other, and giving others away to friends; putting other mates on boards, at the taxpayer’s expense; rooting each other for a while, and then rooting somebody else. There is a great deal in the book about personal relationships between the main players — where they all met, when and where they’d drink together, and who went out with who, and so forth — and it’s therefore clear that Benson has had to spend a great deal of time with the people who currently are in power in Australia’s most populous state, which makes you think: you poor bastard.
For more up-to-date background on the election, here is a Sydney Morning Herald story about NSW Labor senator Mark Arbib. Money quote:
Here is how one insider ticks off the record: “He has engineered Beazley’s demise, Rudd’s ascension, Rudd’s victory, Rudd’s demise, Gillard’s ascension. He’s always going to be the bloke who is bringing down a leader or making a leader.”

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