By Peter Hartcher
2007 used to be a yr to recollect in Australian politics. It observed the dramatic fall of John Howard and the unforeseen upward push of Kevin Rudd. It observed the Liberal occasion buckle less than the inertia of incumbency and the hard work social gathering locate new self-discipline and effort. It additionally observed the union move on the middle of 1 of the best and strong political crusade the rustic has ever obvious. With exceptional entry to the main gamers and numerous hours of personal interviews, Peter Hartcher unearths how Kevin Rudd secretly cast his alliance with Julia Gillard to topple Kim Beazley. He exposes the way in which Labor's factions intimidated Rudd. He lays naked the raging, endless fight among John Howard and Peter Costello for regulate of the nationwide finances. And he explains why Peter Costello believes Howard's defeat was once the best humiliation of any leading minister in Australia's heritage. To the sour finish is a penetrating, riveting, and certainly revealing exploration of a 12 months while the political stakes had by no means been larger.
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Extra info for To the Bitter End: The Dramatic Story of the Fall of John Howard and the Rise of Kevin Rudd
But just now, Howard was seriously considering relaxing his deathlock on the leadership. And his future was, for a fleeting moment, in the hands of his Cabinet ministers. There was a lot of affection for Howard on display in the meeting of the crisis Cabinet, and a lot of concern that his dignity should be protected. The last thing we want, ministers told each other, is for Howard to become another Stanley Melbourne Bruce, the only prime minister in Australia’s history to lose his own seat in an election.
His victory was truly a landmark event. Howard was not given to flights of grand rhetoric. There was no Keatingesque moment, no savouring of a ‘sweetest victory of all’. Howard described the result more prosaically, as an ‘extraordinary expression of confidence’. The accolades came from elsewhere. ‘Howard is the most successful Western statesman in the world for the last fifteen years,’ said the American political philosopher Francis Fukuyama. Yet like his other great zenith experience, his embrace by President Bush, this election triumph also played a part in Howard’s downfall.
Without any qualification about, It’s your call. So I said: I’m just here to tell you that’s what I think should happen, and I am going to talk to all your colleagues in the Cabinet. ‘So are you going to work against me? asked the PM. Yes, if you want to put it that way, Robb replied. All right. He did then spend a considerable amount of time explaining why we had more prospect of winning with him leading the party than with Peter Costello. It was twenty minutes. I wanted to hear what he thought.