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John Gorton – He did it his way

By: Ian Hancock (472/35839)
Publisher: Hodder of London ISBN: 0733614396

John Gorton was a significant, but often misunderstood, figure in Australian politics in the second half of the 20th century. This is the story of his life and career-from unconventional beginnings to his time in politics as minister and Prime minister, and beyond.

After considerable success in the navy and education portfolios, Gorton became Prime Minister in January 1968. Over the next three years, he tried to move Australia and the Liberal Party out of the Menzian past. He implemented, or sought to achieve, far-reaching reforms in Commonwealth-State relations, foreign ownership of Australian resources, Aboriginal affairs, the public service, the environment, health and social welfare, the film and television industry, defence and foreign policy, and Papua New Guinea.

Intent on doing it his way, Gorton acquired devoted followers and bitter enemies on his own side of politics. The lovable larrikin, whose informal manner and rugged nationalism enabled him to touch ‘ordinary Australians’, so alienated many conservatives and states righter’s in his own party that they brought him down.

Ian Hancock has had full access to John Gorton’s private papers, to Gorton himself and a wide variety of former supporters, associates and opponents, and made extensive use of archival and manuscript sources. He has written an authoritative and colourful account of both a unique Australian politician and a critical period in our political history.

June 2008


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