Having been a back bench member in the Federal Parliamentary Labor Party (FPLP) caucus during the time spanning most of this work and therefore something of a small bit player, I do feel qualified to make some comment and observations.
I found the memoirs interesting, accurate (so far as I could tell) and particularly informative in that it shines a light on the ongoing machinations during that time. It fills most of the gaps with information that we as back bench members of the Government party were denied because of the confines of the way the Labor caucus operates.
Sections of the FPLP caucus has always had a nasty habit of leaking information to selected media often before the leader had even left the caucus room so it’s no surprise members were treated like mushrooms.
Whilst not always complementary to Labor The Independent Member for Lyne illustrates in fine detail the intense struggle that a reforming Government had to endure to get its considerable legislative agenda implemented.
In my view what can only be described as an outstanding record of achievement came despite the most obstructionists, vicious and deceitful Opposition in our Nation’s history.
Rob Oakshott’s book is an important record not only of our Parliamentary history but of our Nation’s history during a turbulent period.
Whilst we were Parliamentary colleagues, I never had the opportunity to work closely with Rob Oakshott and could only note (until these memoirs were released) his considerable contribution as a crossbencher from my own backbench position.
The crossbenchers all played a role in the functioning of the forty-third Parliament. Rob Oakshott and Tony Windsor in particular, while not always on board with the Labor Government, exhibited the capacity to work very hard and supported some if not all of the defining issues and successes of the Gillard Government in the forty-third Parliament. This support came often at the expense of their standing in their respective communities.
Our Nation owes them a great deal and I regard both as people of impeccable integrity.
The Independent Member for Lyne should be compulsory reading for students, political junkies and all those that take an active interest in our National affairs.