Ah, David Marr. No wonder he is the darling of the political left. The man can not only write, but entertain. And he doesn’t just analyse politics in terms of a horse race (or any other sporting analogy). He gets deep into the marrow of his subject, finding the intrinsic human element at its heart.
Here, he asks the question ‘who is Kevin Rudd?’, looking at his personal and political history, talking to those who’ve grown up with the man, gone to school with him and worked with him. He even gets an interview with Rudd himself – and bravely reveals a confronting encounter with the PM, his glimpse of the anger he believes is the driving force between Rudd’s politics, values, blistering work ethic and drive to succeed. In Canberra, he says, Rudd is seen as ‘a weird guy and a failing prime minister’. As a child, he was ‘a fussy little dreamer’. A former colleague says Rudd is a ‘formidable bureaucrat’ with a ‘computer-like mind’ but lacks political ‘feel’.
This is a nuanced, layered portrait, finely analysed. And it’s an absolute page-turner. Really.
Quarterly Essay 47: Political Animal: The Making of Tony Abbott
- By: David Marr
- Narrated by: David Marr
- Length: 3 hrs and 22 mins
In Quarterly Essay 47, David Marr goes beyond the clichés - Dr No, mad monk, gaffe-prone, budgie-smuggling gym junkie - to look at the man as he is and reveal what kind of prime minister he might be.
This is a unique portrait of a unique politician. Marr shows Abbott as part reactionary and part pragmatist, part fighter and part charmer, deeply religious and deeply political. But is Abbott a figure from the past or a leader for the future? Following the explosive Power Trip: The Political Journey of Kevin Rudd, this is certain to be the most discussed political writing of the year.