Today, Tony Abbott, like Australia’s own Hannah Horvath, announced the publication of an ebook.
Titled The Little Book of Big Labor Waste — invoking perhaps the wildly successful late-90s Little Book of Calm — the Coalition’s new work takes as its theme “60 examples of Labor waste and mismanagement from the Gillard Government,” an ironic inversion of the meditation book.
From Quarterly Essays to manifestos, to memoirs or exposés, there’s a long and proud tradition of politicians as authors. But the Little Book of Big Labor Waste is less a “book” than a series of numbered, brightly coloured Power Point slides. Perhaps crippled by writers block or ennui, TLBOBLW gives us a sweeping overview rather than extended prose or analysis. The text, with a foreward by Jamie Briggs, takes us on a journey from a $6.6 billion “Immigration budget blow out,” to $2.4 million spent on “Public servants receiving advice on ‘getting a good night’s sleep,’” but has the sort of reliance on newspaper clippings that brings to mind a scene from Ron Howard’s A Beautiful Mind.
This isn’t Abbott’s first foray into the self-publishing scene. Last year the opposition leader released his debut ebook, A Strong Australia In 2012, a collection of the major speeches he delivered during that year. Yet, after the lofty heights of his political manifesto Battlelines, published by no lesser publishing house than Melbourne University Press, it seems odd indeed that Abbott has found such a happy home in the world of self publishing.
Perhaps this is the beginning of a beautiful union between Liberal politicians and the indie lit scene. I hope tonight Abbott and co. are in a small bar or independent bookstore, drinking cheap red wine and listening to some Rinehart performance poetry while they wait for the reviews.
Giving voice to what is in the hearts and minds of all Australians, Abbott claimed in his launch speech today, “The sixty examples of profligacy in this book exemplify the kind of mismanagement that this government has been responsible for over the last five years.” A worthy contribution perhaps, but one that doesn’t exactly scream bestseller. If you want to capture the public’s imagination, try something with s&m or vampires.