47 years ago today, Gough Whitlam was controversially and unexpectedly dismissed by the then–governor general, Sir John Kerr. Kerr had been in touch with the Palace in this time, but that correspondence was locked away in the National Archives, and embargoed by the Queen. In the face of this, Professor Jenny Hocking embarked on what became a ten-year campaign and a four-year legal battle to force the Archives to release the letters. In 2020, she finally won her historic case. The Palace Letters is the ground-breaking account of her indomitable fight.
Of course, that wasn’t the beginning of Australia’s turbulent political history. Only a few years prior was the reign of the man often regarded as Australia’s worst prime minister. William McMahon was a significant, if widely derided and disliked, figure in Australian politics in the second half of the twentieth century. In Tiberius with a Telephone, Patrick Mullins tells the oddly compelling story of McMahon’s life, his career, and his doomed attempts to recast views of his much-maligned time as Australia’s prime minister.
Since then, we’ve seen prime ministers come and go — but none who dethroned McMahon from being considered our ‘worst prime minister’ until Scott Morrison. In Bulldozed, famed political commentator Niki Savva provides a behind-the-scenes look into the historic 2022 election. With her typical insider access, she reveals how a prime minister who failed to accept the mantle of national leadership led to the Coalition’s unravelling.
Read on for further information about these books and the political histories they explore.