Follow the leader: Democracy and the rise of the strongman (Quarterly Essay 71)
Black Inc., $22.99 pb, 139 pp, 9781760640705
As chief political correspondent for the ABC’s 7.30, Laura Tingle was a ringside commentator of the latest knockout bout of leadership pugilism in Canberra. Calling the crazed week-long events in the Liberal Party that climaxed in Malcolm Turnbull’s removal from office in August, Tingle probably felt mildly manic herself at the prospect of last-minute revisions to Follow the Leader, her third Quarterly Essay, to take account of yet another prime-ministerial felling. But Turnbull’s deposal only made her subject more compelling – Kevin Rudd, Julia Gillard, back to Rudd, Tony Abbott, Turnbull, and, for now at least, Scott Morrison. Why has national leadership become so confounding and insecure?