Philip Chubb

Power Failure

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The inside story of a wicked problem …

What should Australia do about climate change? A succession of leaders has tried to answer this question – and come unstuck. Politicians and public servants call it a “wicked” problem – one highly resistant to solution – and many approaches have been developed and discarded by the major parties. Some believe Australia’s dependence on coal makes effective action impossible.

In this book, award-winning journalist Philip Chubb examines the tenacity of fossil-fuel interests and their allies in business, politics and the media when their power is challenged. He reveals and analyses the political strategies of prime ministers Kevin Rudd and Julia Gillard as they tried to overcome the obstacles created by Australia’s carbon-intensive economy.

This is a dramatic study of leadership replete with new revelations. Using more than 75 interviews with key figures (including Julia Gillard, Kevin Rudd, Wayne Swan, Greg Combet and Penny Wong), freedom-of-information requests and good old-fashioned leaks, Chubb gives a persuasive account of success and failure in climate policy, and of the strategies that leaders must use in future.

‘[Philip Chubb’s] reading of the power struggles at the centre of Labor’s climate politics is detailed and revelatory’ —The Conversation

Power Failure … reads like a Greek tragedy. It is, mainly, the story of how hubris, madness, malice, political misjudgement and misunderstanding bring down an enterprise forged in common sense and goodwill.’ —the Monthly

‘This is an important book because it methodically chronicles Labor’s failures and, in the process, serves as a how-not-to manual for anyone interested in social reform.’ —Canberra Times

Philip Chubb was the creator of the renowned documentary Labor in Power, which told the inside story of the Hawke and Keating governments and won a Gold Walkley Award and a Logie. He has worked as National Editor of The 7.30 Report and held senior editorial positions at the Age and Time Australia. He is currently Head of Journalism at Monash University.
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364 printed pages
Original publication
2014

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