How to Win an Election
by Chris Wallace
NewSouth, $29.99 pb, 160 pp
Thucydides once said, ‘In a democracy, someone who fails to get elected to office can always console himself with the thought that there was something not quite fair about it.’ Chris Wallace is not inclined to agree with the Greek historian, particularly when dissecting the Labor Party’s shock federal election loss in 2019. In her latest book, How to Win an Election, Wallace nominates the ten things that Labor must get right to succeed at the next federal election, and self-pity is nowhere among them. This approach appears simplistic, even tongue-in-cheek at times, but she has captured the key elements of electoral success and makes a strong case that Australia cannot afford another ALP loss.
Wallace’s previous publications have mostly been biographies, including a life of the former Liberal leader John Hewson (1993). This is no ordinary electoral post-mortem; Wallace brings her historian’s eye for detail and an impressive ability to link the past to the present and the future.