July 25, 2014

Treasurer’s biography fuels rifts in Australian government - An authorised biography of Australian-Armenian Joe Hockey

Treasurer’s biography fuels rifts in Australian government - An authorised biography of Australian-Armenian Joe Hockey -

The Herald - Treasurer Joe Hockey’s new ‘‘authorised’’ biography, Hockey: Not Your Average Joe, by journalist and author Madonna King, is shedding new light on the tensions within the Coalition – the same sorts of rivalries, friendships and enmities that plague any political party, regardless of its colour.

I’m part-way through its 300 or so pages, which start with Joe’s early years as the late child of an Armenian shopkeeper who married a Bondi-bred beauty queen and divorcee with three children.

Forced to grow a thick skin as the ‘‘fat wog-boy’’ of his school (as it says on page 22), Hockey used a mixture of debating skill and entrepreneurial nous to push his way through law school and student politics. He famously won the Sydney University student council presidency in 1987 with a campaign based on free beer, before entering Federal Parliament as the member for North Sydney in 1996, aged 30.

Hockey emerges from these pages as a forthright character who calls a spade a spade, but there will be those in the Coalition who wish he had not been so frank with his biographer. In recent days, we have learnt  Hockey felt betrayed by Malcolm Turnbull in the 2009 Liberal Party vote that made Tony Abbott opposition leader. We have heard how Abbott gave Rupert Murdoch a detailed account of his controversial paid parental leave scheme before he announced it without consulting his shadow cabinet or party room.

We have been told  Hockey stands by the accuracy of the book, and, most interestingly of all, that he believes  this year’s ‘‘lifters and leaners’’ budget should have cut harder than it did. In time, I won’t be surprised if that phrase – ‘‘lifters and leaners’’ – comes to dog Hockey as the Banana Republic dogged Paul Keating from his time as federal treasurer.

Ian Kirkwood

         
       Kantsasar Weekly  Diario Armenia