Published: October 2018
It was the coup that killed Australian politics.
Less than three years after taking government in a landslide election victory, Kevin Rudd was betrayed by his deputy and the factional powerbrokers of the Australian Labor Party, the 'Faceless Men', despite enjoying historically high personal and party approval ratings.
The betrayal of June 2010 is the most significant Australian political event of the century. No prime minister including Rudd has since seen out a full term before being dethroned by their own caucus. But how did party games in Canberra spiral so catastrophically out of control?
Kevin Rudd defeated John Howard on a platform of fresh ideas, progressive innovation and new leadership. He inherited two wars and the legacy of eleven years of conservative economic mismanagement. And within months of taking office, his new government would face the greatest economic cataclysm since the Great Depression - the Global Financial Crisis of 2008. But none of these deterred Rudd from his vision of bringing Australia into the modern age.
In witty, forthright and audaciously honest prose, Rudd recounts his early triumphs and challenges in the hard business of government. But beyond the policy goals he kicked - from raising the pension to axing WorkChoices to laying the foundation for a decades-long Labor dream of paid parental leave - he takes us into cabinet, the prime minister's office and the back-corridor conversations that reshaped the country. We learn of the wheeling and dealing of governance as Rudd works with President Obama in the face of the financial crisis, apologises to the Stolen Generations and ratifies the Kyoto Protocol.
Yet regardless of Rudd's efforts to combat climate change and his success in keeping Australia out of recession - the great moral and economic challenges of our generation - dark forces within his own party conspired against him. The unceremonious removal of a first-term prime minister from office shocked Rudd as much as it did the nation.
Despite great pain, Rudd continued to serve his party, and his country, as backbencher and foreign minister. He documents his time in the wilderness before his brief resurrection as Labor leader and the 2013 election, retaking the party after it had truly 'lost its way'.
After years of silence, the 26th Prime Minister of Australia is finally on the record about his time in government, in this second volume of his autobiography. This is the memoir of a prime minister full of energy and ideals, while battling the greatest trials of the modern age. This is Kevin Rudd's response to the ultimate political - and personal - betrayal.
'Kevin is somebody who I probably share as much of a world view as any world leader out there. I find him smart but humble. He works wonderfully in multilateral settings; he's always constructive, incisive. And you know I think he is, like me, a pragmatic person. I think he comes to the job wanting to provide better opportunities not just for this generation but for the next. But I think you know he's somebody who isn't an academic, or just thinking about abstract ideas; I think he's constantly thinking in very practical terms about how to get something done.' BARACK OBAMA
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