The May South Sydney Herald has just been published. I was given the job of reporting on a recently published collection of right-wing essays on various Australian political issues.
A while ago Dr Peta Seaton – the doctorate is in archaeology – sat around the table with a number of people in or on the edges of politics, among them former NSW Premier Nick Greiner – and asked a number of “What if?” questions. Many of the questions were ones Peta Seaton had fielded from constituents when she was Liberal Party member for the Southern Highlands from 1996 to 2007. From this came some draft notes, and then, 2010 to 2011 being election season in a number of states and federally, it was decided to formulate questions and answers at greater length in a book.
The result was Peta Seaton (ed), What if? published by Connor Court in April 2010. According to the publisher: “What If? offers the answers to questions that others are too afraid to tackle. 30 writers have climbed the fence into the paddock of Australian sacred cows – and tipped a whole lot over. Some of our most outspoken media bosses, former premiers, policy wonks and idea enthusiasts ask the big new policy questions.” Topics are as various as nuclear energy, abolishing the states, individual contracts for school teachers, and the proper way to regulate (or not) sausage sizzles under health laws.
The philosophy behind the collection is, according to the editor, one that derived ultimately from her study of archaeology. Examining how ancient societies functioned and managed their affairs became an abiding interest that carried through experience in television production, business, advising government, and being in politics. The key is to point up the obstacles governments can put in the path of individual enterprise and how better to manage things.
One finds in the book, then, some familiar as well as less familiar names: Joe Hockey, Michael Duffy, Saul Eslake, Kevin Donnelly, Nick Greiner, Barry O’Farrell, Julie Novak – names best known to the right of the spectrum.
Peta Seaton likes to think the general public as well as like-minded political mavens will read the book and think about, even quarrel with, its “What ifs?” No, if Kevin Rudd stole some of their ideas she wouldn’t mind in the least.
Dr Seaton has long been associated with the Chippendale-Darlington area. She lived in Darlington as an undergraduate, and made her Sydney home in the area during her time in the NSW Parliament. She and her husband continue to reside here half the time, spending the other half at their farm in Moss Vale.
What if? edited by Peta Seaton — $29.95 at your local bookshop or from http://www.connorcourt.com.
NOTE: Connor Court also publishes Ian Plimer. That’s Monday Night’s Media Watch on a climate-related matter.