Paul Williams reviews 'Born to Rule?' by Paddy Manning

Paul Williams reviews 'Born to Rule?' by Paddy Manning

Born to Rule?

by Paddy Manning

Melbourne University Publishing, $34.99 pb, 503 pp, 9780522870787

Future generations of readers will invariably look back in awe at the second decade of twenty-first-century Australian politics for its ridiculous revolving door of prime ministers. Personal and journalistic accounts of this rare instability – Australia had six prime ministers between 2010 and 2018 – have certainly proved a publishing bonanza. Defeated prime ministers publish memoirs as rapidly as journalists and commentators write their chronicles.

Journalist Paddy Manning’s first edition of Born to Rule – written during Tony Abbott’s failing prime ministership and released just weeks after Malcolm Turnbull’s accession in late 2015 – is clearly one of the better accounts. Given that no one from outside the parliament (except perhaps Bob Hawke) had been (for years) more frequently labelled a prime minister-in-waiting than Malcolm Turnbull, the release of a balanced portrait of the brilliant but seemingly irascible Turnbull was perfectly timed with Abbott’s exit.

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Published in March 2019, no. 409
Paul Williams

Paul Williams

Paul Williams is a Senior Lecturer in politics and journalism at Griffith University’s School of Humanities, Languages and Social Sciences. He is a weekly columnist with Brisbane’s Courier Mail newspaper and a frequent media commentator on Queensland politics. He has published widely on voter behaviour and political leadership.

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