50 people who stuffed up Australia

For a fun gift idea, David reviews Guy Rundle and Dexter Rightwad’s latest offering.

50 people who stuffed up Australia

Amongst the presents under the tree last Christmas were several thoughtfully selected books. One of these, when unwrapped, turned out to be 50 People Who Stuffed up Australia from my canine friends, although I suspect they may have had human assistance.

As I considered this ‘slimish’ paperback’s arresting cover, the choice of fonts and image, I more fully appreciated my four-legged family members’ accompanying card and its reference to ‘warnings of coarse and strong language’. Clearly, Monty and Ebony thought Guy Rundle and Dexter Rightwad’s latest offering would appeal immensely to their ‘master’.  The solitary  cover image of a black plastic garbage bag sporting a large ‘50’ and an accompanying cloud of flies, a visual device carried through the entire 224 pages, effectively conveys the authors’ healthy irreverence and sense of the ridiculous concerning their 50 chosen ‘victims’. One’s immediate and natural response is to fly to the contents page to ensure that your name is not featured there, then peruse the eclectic list who do appear and wonder why they stopped at 50 when one can readily expand such a pantheon of luminaries.

From colonial governors such as Lachlan Macquarie to prime ministers, Gough Whitlam, Julia Gillard, John Howard, from entertainers and playwrights, Barry Humphries and David Williamson, to authors, David Marr, Manning Clark and the media, Andrew Bolt, Paddy McGuinness, Gerald Stone, from rock stars, Nick Cave, to tycoon, Gina Rinehart. In a broad sweep of Australian history, starting with Capt. James Cook and Bennelong, no calling or career  appears to be off-limits to the authors’ acerbic assessment and lampooning. Arranged alphabetically rather than chronologically, perhaps another small example of the pervading healthy contempt for convention, a sample quote may well help to convey the flavour of this book. Chapter three is devoted to Bob Brown, described as an ‘activist’, rather than a pollie. “He has the demeanour of a praying mantis who somehow managed to get hold of a David Jones charge card and acquired a marked-down blue suit. The hands go worrying against each other, like said insect fussing its way through a particularly stressful meeting of the Third Leaf Down...”

It’s also one of those marvellous books for busy people, or those cursed with a very short concentration span. Each self-contained chapter is only a few pages; never more than twelve, so the reader can dip in and out, at random, depending on mood and opportunity.

A delicious and refreshing read; you’ll learn as you laugh!

50 People Who Stuffed Up Australia
Guy Rundle and Dexter Rightwad
RRP: $26.95 – Buy on Booktopia for $21.50 

Prices displayed are correct at time of publication. Prices are subject to change at short notice. In these circumstances, the price listed on the YOURLifeChoices website may not be correct. In the event that a price conflict between the YOURLifeChoices website and Booktopia website does occur, Booktopia website prices will override prices listed in the newsletter.


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    6th Feb 2014
    I like Andrew Bolt though I do think he takes liberties -
    Bob Brown the wolf is sheep's clothing -
    6th Feb 2014
    No way would I ever have thought you would support Andrew Bolt of all people… the bloke is a moron that knows how to make money by playing up to the 'big' people… that's it, other than a big and stupid mouth.

    Then you call Bob Brown a wolf in sheep's clothing. He is simply a doctor that values, intensely, Australia's environment….. can't see anything wrong with that!
    Crazy Horse
    6th Feb 2014
    Tony Abbott will be at the top of the list by the time his term as PM is finished. I don't recall any leader from either side of politics who has made so many major blues so soon after taking office.
    6th Feb 2014
    Or who has screwed over Australia.

    Here is a link which will give you an up to date account of all the wreckage that has ensued since Abbott got into power:


    Simply copy and paste into your browser
    7th Feb 2014
    I DON'T know about that crazy horse, as much as i'm a labour person, the last male labour PM, stuffed up real bad!!
    7th Feb 2014
    And who of us, on taking up a new position, hasn't made mistakes. Australians are now too quick to make decisions on leaders. The guy has only been in this position - a dog watch - and everyone is a expert.
    Like us, Tony is human, and most of the 'major blues' and here I say major, ie the phone taps for one, were done by the previous government not this one, but Tony has had to take the blame for it.
    Unfortunately Australians are expecting many years of stuff ups to be rectified by this government in 6 months. Be realistic. It will take years to get the Australian economy back to somewhat normal.
    7th Feb 2014
    i really wasn't keen on Tony, but me thinks he is doing a good job so far/so Far!!!and i promise not to be too judgemental but if not not up to the job it will be seen and sorted in the next election i'm sure of that :)
    8th Feb 2014
    Does Sally McManus appear in the book under review?
    15th Feb 2014
    How easy to forget. $43 Billion expenses for "education" wheras the actuyal halls were neverr finished & $20Billkion unaccounted for. But Royal Commission into Unions will find some no doubt. We dont need NBN nor can we afford it- or- you can supply me and everyone with a Lamborgini- although I hardly ever drive. This list goes on. How far into the red do we let those mutts get away with. To blame an incoming "caretaker" is absolute ignorance. Smareten up. Australia will pay for many \years what the past mob spent. Sorry.

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