‘In fifty years’ time,’ Robert Haupt and Michelle Grattan write in 31 Days to Power, ‘historians will look at the 1983 elections, see that inflation, unemployment and interest rates were at high levels compared to the past, and conclude that Fraser could never have won’.
Anxious to know which of these three economic scourges most assisted Bob Hawke and unable to wait for half a century, I sought help in this and three other election books. My expectation of an answer was too high. The chief actors of 4 February, the day of the election announcement, have pushed most others off the historical stage; and fascinated by them, these five skilled authors say little about the decisionmakers of 5 March.
I also suspect that some of these writers, knowing of their competitors, were too determined to write books that are different: different not only from the sheaf that appeared after 1975, but from each other. As a result, the obvious was easily overlooked.