Peter Baker reviews Ian Bersten's book Looters ’N’ Polluters: How the Liberal Party Hoodwinked Australia.
AS AN OPENING comment to this review, if you have any rich friends with property or mining interests, who, perhaps, list the Institute of Public Affairs (IPA) and the Liberal or National parties in their donation register, then this book is not really suitable as a Christmas stocking filler to give them.
Over the centuries, kings and queens have ruled, wisely, cruelly or badly, under a concept described loosely as the divine right of kings. Authority to rule comes from God. As I read the last words in the last chapter of Ian Bersten’s book, I could not but see so clearly the theme he has woven in his publication: the Liberals rule by divine right. They can do no wrong.
Bersten makes clear his message in the book: Australia is Liberal, for the Liberals, by the Liberals and so we all shout God Save the Queen. If you are a mate, a donor to Liberal Party coffers, you are a protected species. Thus we find favourable government treatment for those in mining, property and finance. The books canvasses a number of past situations, present-day scenarios and anticipated outcomes in support of this contention.
Go back to Robert Menzies selling pig iron to the Japanese, Sir John Kerr dismissing Gough Whitlam, climate change denial, Rupert Murdoch’s influence on political thinking, a recent Four Corners expose on the doings of Christian Porter and how the rich seem to be getting richer and the rest of us either tread water or slip backwards. Wages have been pegged back, penalty rates abolished and the economic gap between management and the worker grows wider.
Bersten presents the reader with a cornucopia of examples to support his thesis that the Liberal Party has a total disregard for the welfare of most Australians.
Is the book enjoyable? To the extent one enjoys clear concise prose, well-formed messages supported by relevant situations and examples it is a good read. But, as I said in the preamble, perhaps it will never stand in Scott Morrison's library.
Read it and weep.
Peter Baker is a retired chartered accountant. He worked in the Australian Taxation Office for some 30 years, leaving at acting Assistant Commissioner level to go into private practice in the NSW Riverina.
Looters 'N' Polluters is available here.
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