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The top job is within Bill Shorten s grasp But who is he How did he rise to become Labor leader And does he have what it takes to beat Malcolm Turnbull and lead the country In this dramatic essay, David Marr traces the hidden career of a Labor warrior He shows how a brilliant recruiter and formidable campaigner mastered first the unions and then the party Marr presents a man willing to deal with his enemies and shift his allegiances, whose ambition to lead has been fixed since childhood But does he stand for anything Is Shorten a defender of Labor values in today s Australia or a shape shifter, driven entirely by politics How does the union world he comes from shape the prime minister he might be Marr reveals a man we hardly know a virtuoso with numbers and a strategist of skill who Labor hopes will return the party to power Shorten is now vulnerable than ever to the fundamental charge the Coalition levels against him that this is the man who brought down two prime ministers and lied about it on radio It s going to be dirty At the heart of the contest will be Shorten s character All the way to polling day, Australians will be invited to rake over every detail of his short life and hidden career David Marr, Faction Man David Marr is as brilliant a biographer and journalist as this country has produced Peter Craven, Spectator Taken in sum, the fifty nine Quarterly Essays published sinceoffer perhaps the deepest analysis of the meandering political path we ve traversed from the turn of the current century CityMag Adelaide David Marr is the multi award winning author of Patrick White A Life, Panic and The High Price of Heaven, and co author with Marian Wilkinson of Dark Victory He has written for the Sydney Morning Herald, the Age and the Monthly, been editor of the National Times, a reporter for Four Corners and presenter of ABC TV s Media Watch He is also the author of five bestselling biographical Quarterly Essays


10 thoughts on “Faction Man: Bill Shorten's Path to Power

  1. Loki Loki says:

    Not Marr s best work it lacks the animating rage of The Prince , for example , but perhaps this rather dry telling is fitting to the man Bill Shorten is something of a cipher to most Australians myself included , and reading this book islike discovering that the jigsaw has evenpieces than what it s a picture of It s a good look at where Shorten s from, but it fails to give a good idea of where he s going to To be fair, this may be as much due to Shorten himself, given his tend Not Marr s best work it lacks the animating rage of The Prince , for example , but perhaps this rather dry telling is fitting to the man Bill Shorten is something of a cipher to most Australians myself included , and reading this book islike discovering that the jigsaw has evenpieces than what it s a picture of It s a good look at where Shorten s from, but it fails to give a good idea of where he s going to To be fair, this may be as much due to Shorten himself, given his tendency to keep things close to the vest, and his generally opportunistic approach to politics he sreactive than active as Leader of the Opposition, and while one feels that he d be a sensible and competent Prime Minister, he ll never be mistaken for a visionary in the Whitlam or Keating mode Or even in the Howard mode


  2. Gursewak Singh Gursewak Singh says:

    A riveting book that keeps you captivated through the story of Shorten But don t expect the book to change your perception of the opposition leader, if you like him now, expect to like himIf you dislike him, prepare to detest him If you don t understand what Shorten stands for, prepare to beconfused about what Shortens value and principles are I still don t know why wants to be prime minister beyond his pursuit of power from ever since he entered university Nevertheless, Marr do A riveting book that keeps you captivated through the story of Shorten But don t expect the book to change your perception of the opposition leader, if you like him now, expect to like himIf you dislike him, prepare to detest him If you don t understand what Shorten stands for, prepare to beconfused about what Shortens value and principles are I still don t know why wants to be prime minister beyond his pursuit of power from ever since he entered university Nevertheless, Marr does a wonderful job traversing through Victorian Labor factional and Union politics and it is a really good read


  3. D.A.Calf D.A.Calf says:

    Easily the driest of Marr s five Quarterly Essays, Faction Man struggles with a poor subject If you already think Shorten is boring, dull, hollow and mysteriously disingenuous this essay will do nothing to dispel those thoughts The main takeaways are 1 How depressing is factional interplay 2 Who would want to be a politician in Australia in the modern age 3 I still don t know what Bill Shorten believes in and now I even wonder if he knows If David Marr can t tease out an answer maybe it Easily the driest of Marr s five Quarterly Essays, Faction Man struggles with a poor subject If you already think Shorten is boring, dull, hollow and mysteriously disingenuous this essay will do nothing to dispel those thoughts The main takeaways are 1 How depressing is factional interplay 2 Who would want to be a politician in Australia in the modern age 3 I still don t know what Bill Shorten believes in and now I even wonder if he knows If David Marr can t tease out an answer maybe it s strong evidence Little Billy to borrow a Latham ism doesn t actually believe in anything


  4. Brad Brad says:

    Before reading this, my knowledge of Bill Shorten was that he was a man of mystery He came to light at the Beaconsfield Mine Disaster, and being accused of knifing two prime ministers, and came on to become the now leader of the opposition.This book covers his upbringing in private schools , his wharfie father Bill Snr , and his wheeling and dealing to rise through the ranks of unions, and now the ALP.He still remains a man of mystery and I get the feeling you only will find out what he wants Before reading this, my knowledge of Bill Shorten was that he was a man of mystery He came to light at the Beaconsfield Mine Disaster, and being accused of knifing two prime ministers, and came on to become the now leader of the opposition.This book covers his upbringing in private schools , his wharfie father Bill Snr , and his wheeling and dealing to rise through the ranks of unions, and now the ALP.He still remains a man of mystery and I get the feeling you only will find out what he wants found out Sadly this book highlighted the factional power plays that wrack the labor party, and will continue to do so Bill s assertion that union members knowthan the labor members so they get a better say in deciding policy is ludicrous.A good book that gives you plenty to think about


  5. Alex Rogers Alex Rogers says:

    I like David Marr s writing, and he has helped me get perspective on and understand better a number of Australian politicians And with Shorten poised to take power at the next elections, I thought it was about time to try to get to know the man better Despite Marr s best efforts, I don t really feel that I do Shorten comes across as the ultimate Labour machine man you certainly get a sense of his ambition, drive, factional wizardry, mastery of the political game but almost nothing about h I like David Marr s writing, and he has helped me get perspective on and understand better a number of Australian politicians And with Shorten poised to take power at the next elections, I thought it was about time to try to get to know the man better Despite Marr s best efforts, I don t really feel that I do Shorten comes across as the ultimate Labour machine man you certainly get a sense of his ambition, drive, factional wizardry, mastery of the political game but almost nothing about him as a man, his real values, and goals and ambitions other than ultimately to become Prime Minister Depressing reading really much of the country is desperate to get rid of the current mob in power, but is Shorten really all that we have by way of credible alternative Marr tries hard, but never really seems to get under Shorten s skin or does he Is that all there is


  6. Philip Hunt Philip Hunt says:

    David Marr is so easy to read, and so well researched Here s a portrait of a man with almost everything takes to be Prime Minister of Australia He is clever, smart, sociable He can organise others He can compromise, even shape shift, to get an outcome He believes in old fashioned Labor issues like jobs for all, decent pay and conditions He ought to be hero of the middle and working classes But one sentence in Marr s description reveals the one lamentable thing It isn t true he stands fo David Marr is so easy to read, and so well researched Here s a portrait of a man with almost everything takes to be Prime Minister of Australia He is clever, smart, sociable He can organise others He can compromise, even shape shift, to get an outcome He believes in old fashioned Labor issues like jobs for all, decent pay and conditions He ought to be hero of the middle and working classes But one sentence in Marr s description reveals the one lamentable thing It isn t true he stands for nothing What s counted against him is that he stands for nothing brave


  7. Warren Gossett Warren Gossett says:

    This is an intriguing book by the dogged David Marr Bill Shorten, Australian Labor Party leader is the opposition, is portrayed as a politician who wants to be liked and is willing to talk your head off He may yet be prime minister but will he dare to find the best solutions for Australia or will poll driven choices preserve the reigning mediocrity


  8. Phil Devereux Phil Devereux says:

    This was pretty dry, for which Shorten is most definitely to blame, not Marr Still, it gives some insight into Shorten s history and what exactly he wants for this country, which is apparently the inspiring goal of maintaining the status quo.


  9. Kieran Bennett Kieran Bennett says:

    What Anyone expecting that Shorten will deliver for workers hasn t read this book.


  10. Trevor Trevor says:

    Well written, really interesting read about Bill Shorten s rise to he top.