A brief insight into the mechanics of a legendary political history was revived and relived at the launch of Mungo MacCallum’s The Good, The Bad and the Unlikely of Australia’s present and former prime ministers. As an 18-year-old, I remained quietly reserved while listening to the political historian in full-blown action. With witty political one-liners and reminiscent reminders, it was evident MacCallum and his latest book re-lit the political fire inside many of the 100-plus audience at the ABC Bookshop in Byron Bay on Thursday evening.
Journalist Kerry O’Brien ensured the conversations with Mungo were entertaining and eye opening. The launch ranged from in-depth discussions concerning what determines a ‘good’ prime minister to controversial events and personalities, debating the supposed power held by the media of today and the antiquated weekly political polls. In an impressionable discussion between Kerry O’Brien and me, the Australian media icon concluded that my idols, he and Sir David Attenborough, ‘… both deal with animals in our field of work’.
Indeed it is MacCallum’s written words that paint a humorous yet truthful picture of Australia’s prime ministership, ‘Good drinkers, bad swimmers and unlikely heroes’.
Condemnation and ridicule is expected by most in such a public profession, yet MacCallum concluded with a reminder to us all of the importance of every facet of the political spectrum – the good, the bad, the unlikely (and unlucky): ‘Politics is one of the greatest inventions of the human race because it is the only way to make decisions without killing one another’ (loosely quoted). A thoroughly enjoyable, enlightening and riveting launch.
Marli Lopez-Hope, Knockrow