By Rama Gaind
PS News Books
The Rudd Government: Australian Commonwealth Administration 2007-2010
Edited by Chris Aulich & Mark Evans (ANU E Press, $24.00, softcover, 278 pages)
There have been countless words written and spoken about the Rudd administration, but this is the first e-publication in the series.
The Rudd Government is the 10th book in a series edited by University of Canberra academics to charter the successive governments of Australian prime ministers. Each volume has provided a chronicle and commentary of major events, policies and issues that have dominated successive administrations since 1983.
This edited collection examines Commonwealth administration under the leadership of Prime Minister Rudd for three years from 2007. It charts Kevin Rudd’s dramatic journey as prime minister from “stratospheric” approval to being dramatically replaced by Julia Gillard before the end of his term.
This volume has been “one of the most difficult to assemble, primarily because the period of review has seen major oscillations and change in the fortunes of many key figures and key issues”.
According to co-editor Professor Chris Aulich, the message from many areas was of the “danger of overpromising and underdelivering”.
“They enjoyed stratospheric popularity at the start, then there was a dramatic fall,” Professor Aulich said. “The hyperbole was amazing and that message has been picked up by Julia Gillard who somewhat undersells.”
Expert contributors cover diverse topics including education, the economy, climate change and foreign policy. It would be fair to say that these authors would have made numerous adjustments to contributions, and to their line of reasoning, to encapsulate the turbulence of the period.
The 14 chapters are organised into four sections that cover the Rudd Government’s successes including the Apology and the successful management of the global financial crisis, but highlights the failure to promote these achievements in the 2010 election campaign.
This was a remarkable period in Australian history with Rudd’s government being elected with an ambitious program for change. These ambitions were thwarted, however, by a range of factors.
To find out more about Rama Gaind click here.