Author(s): Maxine McKew
'Not many leaders are gifted a second chance. In the short time he had before he faced the verdict of the people, Kevin Rudd had to revive respect and credibility in his governing party. Beyond that, he needed to give Australians a bit of hope, and return a sense of pride to a country that for too long had been the plaything of a destructive bunch of claqueurs.' But the 2013 campaign turned out to be one more bitter, lost opportunity for the Australian Labor Party. In this updated edition of her popular memoir Tales From the Political Trenches, Maxine McKew considers the high price that the Australian Labor Party has paid for the fratricidal conflicts that have dominated since Kevin Rudd first came to power in 2007. She argues that for years to come, competing views about two talented individuals, Kevin Rudd and Julia Gillard, will continue to arouse intense emotion and divide Labor loyalists. Tony Abbott, once considered unelectable, has been the ultimate beneficiary of the Rudd/Gillard wars. After winning a spectacular victory against Prime Minister John Howard in 2007, McKew was one of the many casualties of the disastrous 2010 election campaign, when Labor was left clinging to the wreckage and forced into minority government. Now after the 2013 poll, which has exacted an even higher price, Tales From the Political Trenches provides a compelling analysis for those looking back over the vandalism of the past six years and are still asking 'what the hell happened?'
Maxine McKew is a Vice Chancellor's Fellow at the University of Melbourne. She also works as an advisor on education to the not-for-profit group Social Ventures Australia, is Chair of Playgroup Australia and a member of the board of Per Capita. At the 2007 federal election Maxine McKew wrote herself into Australian political history as only the second candidate ever to beat a prime minister in his own seat. She was immediately elevated to the executive and served as Parliamentary Secretary for Early Childhood, and later as Parliamentary Secretary for Infrastructure and Regional Development. Before making the switch to politics, Maxine had a thirty-year career as a broadcast and print journalist. As host of Lateline and part-time anchor of 7.30 Report she earned a reputation as one of the country's most authoritative interviewers. Her television reporting has been recognised by her peers with both Logie and Walkley awards for broadcast excellence, while her work for the Bulletin saw her secure the Magazine Publisher's Award for Columnist of the Year. A sought-after speaker and facilitator, Maxine is represented by Claxton Communications and is involved in a range of voluntary activities.