Friday, 16 July 2010

The Silver Bodgie & The Lover versus The Versace-Clad Clock Collector

One has to hand it to the Australian Labor Party - it certainly knows how to destabilise its own political agenda in an election year.

First it ditched many of the policies which saw it garner strong electorate support in 2007, then it changed leaders in a somewhat spectacular fashion.

Now we have former Labor prime minister Bob Hawke and his second wife the author Blanche d'Alpuget shamelessly grubbing for more money by publishing yet another biography of teh great man and going on the book promotion trail just in time to cash in on heightened political awareness this near to what will probably be a closely contested federal election.

The utterly tasteless characterization of Hazel Hawke by this pair is beneath contempt and so unnecessary to their central aim of improving the bank balance.
While Hawke's inviting himself into the current political debate by opining on the recently deposed Kevin Rudd will have some party members wishing he had as much sense as he has hair.

Given the incredibly self-serving contents of this book as displayed in extracts currently online, it is no wonder that hyper-sensitive former Labor prime minister Paul Keating should immediately send a copy of his letter to Hawke to the media.

The letter ends thus:

This letter is written now, not simply to express my disappointment but to let you know that enough is enough. That yours and Blanche's rewriting of history is not only unreasonable and unfair, more than that, it is grasping. It is as if, Narcissus-like, you cannot find enough praise to heap upon yourself. In hindsight, it is obvious yours and Blanche's expressions of friendship towards me over the last few years have been completely insincere. I can only promise you this: if I get around to writing a book, and I might, I will be telling the truth; the whole truth. And that truth will record the great structural changes that occurred during our years and my own as prime minister, but it will also record without favour, how lucky you were to have me drive the government during your down years, leaving you with the credit for much of the success.

After watching the recent ABC TV 7.30 Report interviews with Hawke and d'Alpuget I have to say I am somewhat sympathetic to the Keating position. However, the timing of all three bitter snipers is unfortunate to say the least.

Already selling at three-quarters of its ticketed price, I'm betting that Hawke, Prime Minister will quickly find itself in the discount bin at major bookstores.


LET'S get one thing clear at the outset: I am fond of my stepmother, Blanche, and feel genuine pleasure at the happiness my father now shares with her.
Current publicity stimulated by her new biography covering dad's years as prime minister, and the forthcoming telemovie about those years, has, however, generated a fair bit of noise and heat and has, sadly, dragged into the limelight matters that are essentially personal.
Having declined previous opportunities to provide a "family" perspective, or represent my mother Hazel's, for the very reason that I think there are such things as a right to privacy, I am now persuaded that it is timely to say something.
The reason for this is that things have been said, and people portrayed, in a manner that fundamentally misrepresents their character. I have observed what I believe are fair and respectful boundaries about commenting publicly on the personalities and complex relationships of my family life or anyone else's. I am loyal to both my parents. But a line has been crossed, a legacy hijacked, and a lot of people are seriously unimpressed. The part I take particularly personally is a suite of comments and insinuations about my mother Hazel. Their effect is to invite a rewriting of history on the basis of a series of inaccurate premises. Forbearance extends only so far before it becomes a complicit silence, and I think it's time that, as someone who has known her well for 53 years and spoken previously on her behalf, I set a few things straight.
My mother is entitled, on the basis of the life she has lived and the way she has lived it, to be recognised as a person of deep conviction and principled choices. She was consistently motivated by far more noble concerns than money, where she lived, or the "reputation du jour" of her ex-husband.

More from Sue Pieters-Hawke writing in The Age on 17 July 2010 here.

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