If Labor had read this book there would have been no need for an internal inquiry into how and why they lost the election because Aaron Patrick tells us in The Surprise Party how the coalition snatched victory from the jaws of chaos.
Blow by blow accounts of both sides leading up to the election shows that everyone played it dirtier than the public ever knew.
All the while Labor refused to recalibrate as the Liberals began picking up support in the coal belts and as inner-Melbourne seats slipped away from Labor.
But Patrick firmly believes that it was Shorten’s own shortcomings that drove the stake through Labor’s ambitions to lead while the Liberals were still in a state of disarray.
Maybe Patrick spends too much space on Alex Turnbull’s attempt at disruption and not enough on the impact of Clive Palmer’s advertising blitz. But through impeccable sources from both sides and the forensic eye of an experienced journalist Patrick has produced a book that is a taut and gripping account of one of Australia’s biggest political upheavals.
To understand what the bloody hell happened and how it will inform the future of the Morrison government this is a must-read!
Reviewed by John Moyle