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Australia's Prime Ministers: From Bart/Carroll, Brian/Paper/187705822X/S024-D
Since Australia's first Federal election, in 1901, the contest for the Prime Ministership has come to resemble the presidential-style elections of the United States. It is a personality battle between two contenders, not one over ideas, principles, or even parties.
Voters see advertisements that show the face not of the party's candidate for their electorate but of its contender as Prime Minister. They recognise John Howard and Mark Latham, but only a few would know their local member if they passed each other in the street.
Of Australia's 25 Prime Ministers, some have towered over their party, Parliament and the national political scene in just the same way as some American Presidents have. Yet no American President has ever been in office as long as Bob Menzies. No American President would be allowed to stay in office as long as Bob Hawke. But other Prime Ministers have been pushed about by events or their own colleagues, even sometimes by Parliament.
This book tells the story of every one of them. It tells of long-term survivors Bob Menzies, Billy Hughes, Joe Lyons, Malcolm Fraser, and Bob Hawke; or three timers Alfred Deakin and Andrew Fisher; of short-timers Earle Page, Frank Forde, and John McEwen.
It tells of the dismissal of Gough Whitlam, and of the man who did do much to bring about that dismissal, Malcolm Fraser, only to find himself dismissed in the more usual way, by the voters. It tells of Labor's resurgence under Bob Hawke and of how he and his successor Paul Keating remade the Australian economy, led Australia towards a republic, and expanded its engagement with Asia. It tells too of John Howard, the man to whom the electors turned when reform fatigue set in, the man who continued to win their hearts and minds when they began to worry about terrorism and border protection.