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The Insider: The scoops, the scandals and the serious business within the Canberra bubble

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30 review for The Insider: The scoops, the scandals and the serious business within the Canberra bubble

  1. 5 out of 5

    Richard Evans

    Christopher Pyne is a generous and jolly chap who can tell a good story. From his memoir, it was interesting to learn his focus since very young was to always be in parliament. No outside 'real world' experience, just a healthy ego to move to parliament to achieve his goals through service. What a wonderfully privileged life he has had for a quarter of a century, now in the 'real world' to test his skills, with a healthy lifetime pension to support his new career. I'm sure he will be trotted out Christopher Pyne is a generous and jolly chap who can tell a good story. From his memoir, it was interesting to learn his focus since very young was to always be in parliament. No outside 'real world' experience, just a healthy ego to move to parliament to achieve his goals through service. What a wonderfully privileged life he has had for a quarter of a century, now in the 'real world' to test his skills, with a healthy lifetime pension to support his new career. I'm sure he will be trotted out again to talk politics at elections because he is a quality raconteur. I read his book hoping for jaw-dropping insider knowledge. There was none. Christopher talks about his many memorable political moments since 2007 he was involved, but only from a perspective from what we already knew. It's an easy quick read but it certainly doesn't meet the promise of the title. There really is nothing new and the 'insider' tag is a furphy. He brushes over the four Coalition leadership challenges since 2007 and implies that although he was involved, he wasn't a central player in any of them. He can't have it both ways - you are either a moderate leader or you're not. He implies he is both which he can't be but doesn't say so. Maybe he is overstating his influence or understating his Machiavellian ways. He paints a whitewash over the political dark arts and perhaps this is the expectation letdown from reading his book. Maybe he remains ambitious for a foreign posting and can't report too many provocative anecdotes, to keep in favour; but frankly, he joins other former politicians with their lightweight accounts of the drama that exists within the parliament. Christopher matches his jolly personality with this memoir writing, and his healthy ego evident in every page; it's an easy read, but if you follow politics you won't put it down having learned anything new. If you don't you'll have a smile.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Sue

    Any easy read and interesting to hear the insiders perspective.

  3. 5 out of 5

    SusanC

    I think when politicians leave office and publish a memoir its more about trying to justify their own actions and decisions. To say, 'see I was a good person. I had your best interests.' Considering this book covers some of the most turbulent political leadership changes in recent Australian history, I think this is no different. I got the sense that while he didn't weld the knife, he certainly walked over the body to congratulate the victor. But then that's largely what politics is all about, e I think when politicians leave office and publish a memoir its more about trying to justify their own actions and decisions. To say, 'see I was a good person. I had your best interests.' Considering this book covers some of the most turbulent political leadership changes in recent Australian history, I think this is no different. I got the sense that while he didn't weld the knife, he certainly walked over the body to congratulate the victor. But then that's largely what politics is all about, even if it is somewhat disconcerting. What I did find interesting was the behind the look at some of those political machinations. Don't think I will look at politics and the Liberal Party in quite the same way again.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Reemski

    Christopher Pyne is a true character and I was excited to pick this up. Subsequently let down. The title “The Insider” hints at stories and behind the scenes gossip that I was keen to hear about, but alas nothing.

  5. 5 out of 5

    John

    . “One of the most brilliant, funny and engaging books by an Australian public figure you will ever read.” Booktopia’s blurb. Given that, I was really looking forward to reading Pyne’s inside account of Parliament over the last quarter century. He early on stated: “The Liberal Party is made for government. That is its construction.” Labor? Oh, that’s just for trade unionists. “Labor’s favourite pastime is playing politics.” That sets the tone for his honesty and arrogance. He liked Abbott – in f . “One of the most brilliant, funny and engaging books by an Australian public figure you will ever read.” Booktopia’s blurb. Given that, I was really looking forward to reading Pyne’s inside account of Parliament over the last quarter century. He early on stated: “The Liberal Party is made for government. That is its construction.” Labor? Oh, that’s just for trade unionists. “Labor’s favourite pastime is playing politics.” That sets the tone for his honesty and arrogance. He liked Abbott – in fact he brown-nosed every leader from Howard through Turnbull to Morrison, never mind that two of them at least loathed each other, which seems to say something about his, er, flexibility? sycophancy? He refers to “the horror for the 43rd Parliament”, meaning Gillard’s, referring to Craig Thompson, Slipper, but doesn’t mention that her minority government in 3 years passed more progressive legislation than any other Parliament in recent history! (To use Pyne’s favourite punctuation mark). Abbott, Turnbull and Morrison on the other hand have passed little that was constructive, plenty that was destructive. He blames Gillard for that old lie about never putting a tax on carbon: she didn’t, as an ETS is not a tax, which Peta Credlin with a gotcha smirk later admitted. When Labor pulls a political trick it is “Taliban-like” in its ruthlessness, (that was over some Liberals mistaking that Parliament had not closed) while thoroughly endorsing Abbott’s “war on all fronts and at all times” as good politics not just ruthlessness. He is less than honest. Julia Banks went to the cross bench “in a fit of pique” when Turnbull was deposed, not because of the sexism of the House and of Morrison in particular. In fact he doesn’t mention sexism as such, although very gung ho on same sex marriage. He completely denies the suggestion that Morrison manipulated the numbers to get rid of Turnbull first, then Dutton second. Rather he saw himself as a brilliant ringmaster, scuttling between groups in order “to deliver the moderate”, Morrison! Moderate? Morrison? At which point he (rightly) thinks its time to go, and delivers a valedictory speech that even Bill Shorten praised: Pyne includes the speech for our delectation and admiration. Pyne prides himself on being liked by all sides for his humour, Turnbull says he is the most entertaining of dinner guests, but judging by this book, he comes across rather as self-righteous, self-obsessed, arrogant, dishonest. But funny? Not once did I even suppress a giggle.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Laurie

    If hell is an individualized experience, locked to eternity in your own personal torment, then being stuck in a cell with this book as the only entertainment available is the most unendurable anguish I could possibly think of. This. Book. Is. Awful. If you are after a book listing all the great friends this man has, all the dinners he attended, and smug recollections of lame jokes, then this is it. Honest to god. I am trying to read more from people with differing ideas, but unlike Turnbull's bo If hell is an individualized experience, locked to eternity in your own personal torment, then being stuck in a cell with this book as the only entertainment available is the most unendurable anguish I could possibly think of. This. Book. Is. Awful. If you are after a book listing all the great friends this man has, all the dinners he attended, and smug recollections of lame jokes, then this is it. Honest to god. I am trying to read more from people with differing ideas, but unlike Turnbull's book, this book does not offer one iota of insight other than a ode to ego. The lack of self awareness of this partisan is astonishing. His frequent references to the common folk (Bob and Nancy stringbag) come across as so contrived that you can tell this is a human who has never ventured from beyond his ivory tower or done any blue collar work once in his life. The word values is not mentioned once at all. No insight unfortunately, no introspection on the role of democracy. No meditations on how Australia can change it's place in the world with the geopolitical challenges faced, the widening class gap, unattainable mortgages, the challenges or rural Australia, indigenous imprisonment or climate change impacts. No insight into why or how the liberal party offers more clever policy nause that can assist Australia face the global economy or entrenched social issues. But if you are in the mood for some "witty" remenicense on how Pyne once slept in the lodge or how where he ate a meal or had a ... drinks party (Who the hell calls a party a drinks party?!) then this is the book for you So yeah. This book is 0/5 but Goodreads doesn't allow that. Avoid.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Loki

    There have been many insightful, thoughtful and entertaining books written by retired politicians. This is not one of them. This is a book that make you wonder why exactly Pyne thought he wouldn't fit in with the Morrison government. It ticks all the same boxes: it's boastful, lacking in substance, overly triumphal, written at an approximately Year 10 level (seriously, the copy editor should lose their job for the lack of clarifying commas alone), believes itself to be smarter than it actually is, There have been many insightful, thoughtful and entertaining books written by retired politicians. This is not one of them. This is a book that make you wonder why exactly Pyne thought he wouldn't fit in with the Morrison government. It ticks all the same boxes: it's boastful, lacking in substance, overly triumphal, written at an approximately Year 10 level (seriously, the copy editor should lose their job for the lack of clarifying commas alone), believes itself to be smarter than it actually is, and is, above all else, an exercise in pretending to get a little egg on one's face in order to better cover one's arse. It also reveals Pyne, a man who sat in the Federal Parliament for nearly three decades, to be shockingly naive (a politer term might be idealistic) about who votes for both the LNP and the ALP. In short, even hardcore political junkies can safely skip this one, as it will add little to their understanding of events from 2007 to 2019. Still, it will probably be the definitive work, and indeed, political headstone, of the Lupine Wonse of Australian politics.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Lachlan

    Don't like what he says, but I like the way he says it. Don't like what he says, but I like the way he says it.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Corey

    Summary: The Insider moves through Christopher Pyne's career in stages, but as the name suggests doesn't really provide any remarkable information not already available elsewhere. I suppose it provides his specific viewpoint of notable political events that he observed, but even this is a bit fuzzy as his values and beliefs aren't well defined throughout the book. I would have been more engaged had there been more reflection on this and on the rights and wrongs of political life, but The Insider Summary: The Insider moves through Christopher Pyne's career in stages, but as the name suggests doesn't really provide any remarkable information not already available elsewhere. I suppose it provides his specific viewpoint of notable political events that he observed, but even this is a bit fuzzy as his values and beliefs aren't well defined throughout the book. I would have been more engaged had there been more reflection on this and on the rights and wrongs of political life, but The Insider provides a light, and thus rather unremarkable, summary of a career of someone with a front row seat to Australian politics. There are a number of instances where he compares circumstances to obscure historical events that just came across as strange and out of place. He talks about being a history buff so must have been keen to jam them in there, but they fell flat for me. I would recommend this book to anyone specifically interested in Christopher Pyne's career, but other than that, I'm unlikely to recommend it. The main message I took from this book is that politicians have dinner together a lot. Some notable points: - The Liberal party is made for government, that's its construction. Labor is the party of the labour movement. The Liberal party is not well designed for being in opposition (many would questions its suitability for being in power too). - There's nothing worse in life than a fair weather friend. - A basic principle of liberal democracies that the majority should not bind the minority. - One new migrant creates four new jobs. Shifting the entrenched Australians often hold that migrants take jobs from them is difficult, but aided through lived experience. - There are Australian military personnel in every American state, either serving or embedded in one capacity or another.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Ian Burrell

    Well worth reading Christopher is a genuine political animal but clearly one with good intentions and with a lot of skill to bring to the job. He achieved much in his long successful political career and departed in good grace and young enough to have a life afterwards. I read the book to get another view of the events of the turbulent years which revolved around Abbott, Gillard, Rudd, Turnbull and Morrison. I was not disappointed and his input has broadened and tempered my views.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Guy

    Really? Snorkeling over the Mariana Trench. Staffpersons pushing a tea trolley through the corridors of power could write a juicier memoir. Though, there's detail about the leadership challenges that might have significance to the cognoscenti. And an interesting Turnbull quote: "It is better to make a mistake and fix it later than to not make a decision and never get anything done." Really? Snorkeling over the Mariana Trench. Staffpersons pushing a tea trolley through the corridors of power could write a juicier memoir. Though, there's detail about the leadership challenges that might have significance to the cognoscenti. And an interesting Turnbull quote: "It is better to make a mistake and fix it later than to not make a decision and never get anything done."

  12. 4 out of 5

    Jed

    Christopher Pyne is an Interesting Person. I've never as much agreed with his policies, but reading this memoir was an interesting view of the other side of the fence. I've often forgotten that politicians are actually people, and deserve the same amount of respect that You, or I, or the person next door deserves. I would recommend this book to any person who is politically minded, regardless of which side of the room they vote. Christopher Pyne is an Interesting Person. I've never as much agreed with his policies, but reading this memoir was an interesting view of the other side of the fence. I've often forgotten that politicians are actually people, and deserve the same amount of respect that You, or I, or the person next door deserves. I would recommend this book to any person who is politically minded, regardless of which side of the room they vote.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Jay Moran

    uproariously funny and a great read on Australian politics, no matter your political inclinations. Too many political books these days are written and launched for the sake of a 'book tour'. This may well be that, but unlike the others, this one is readable. Humour translates well to the pages. Good work. uproariously funny and a great read on Australian politics, no matter your political inclinations. Too many political books these days are written and launched for the sake of a 'book tour'. This may well be that, but unlike the others, this one is readable. Humour translates well to the pages. Good work.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Penny O'shea

    A very easy and engaging read about the ‘Canberra Bubble’ during some turbulent times. Christopher Pyne is likeable, tells a good story, and provides an interesting perspective on some of the behind the scenes dealings of politicians. His love of the parliamentary process shines through.

  15. 4 out of 5

    David

    I kept thinking this blokes got tickets on himself. It was also a reminder that politicians need a very thick skin.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Matt John

    Rating based on the writing and the ability to read, not necessarily the content.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Lois Barnard

    Easy to read and very enlightening

  18. 4 out of 5

    Preston Tsamassiros

    Love him or hate him, Pyne's irreverent style oozes from every page. Love him or hate him, Pyne's irreverent style oozes from every page.

  19. 5 out of 5

    A

    Starts out interesting then lapses into a mish mash of double standards, mysogeny and self promotion. Disappointing.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Greg

    Interesting to read Christopher Pyne's insights into politics. Biased of course but still useful. Interesting to read Christopher Pyne's insights into politics. Biased of course but still useful.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Gary Eastwood

    The audiobook is very good. You get used to the plummy South Australian accent and can then enjoy this genuine and honest take on recent political history.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Darcy French

    As expected, this book was enjoyable to listen to, and I thoroughly enjoyed the Fixer's narration. I find him funny, insightful, and honest. I learned an immense amount about a tumultuous period in Australian politics whilst listening to it. However, as much as I find Pyne to be one of the most tolerable members of the coalition, I do disagree with many of his policy positions and a lesser number of his principles. I found the chapter on his time in the defense portfolio to be particularly confro As expected, this book was enjoyable to listen to, and I thoroughly enjoyed the Fixer's narration. I find him funny, insightful, and honest. I learned an immense amount about a tumultuous period in Australian politics whilst listening to it. However, as much as I find Pyne to be one of the most tolerable members of the coalition, I do disagree with many of his policy positions and a lesser number of his principles. I found the chapter on his time in the defense portfolio to be particularly confronting. He described with almost a childlike glee his travels around the world to meet with warmongers and arms dealers. His descriptions of military hardware and the policy imperatives of Australia's defense buildup were well articulated, but neglected any mention of their ultimate aim, to kill people. Of course, this is implied, but I was disappointed that there was absolutely no philosophical reflection on the morality of defense spending. I found the childlike enthusiasm for big guns to be immature and reflected poorly on such an esteemed parliamentarian. Nonetheless, the book was well written and insightful, so it receives four stars! I'm rating a book after all, not a policy.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Kat

  24. 4 out of 5

    Belindab

  25. 5 out of 5

    Daniel Reynolds

  26. 4 out of 5

    Carol De Kievit

  27. 5 out of 5

    Meg Wilson

  28. 5 out of 5

    EC

  29. 4 out of 5

    Alan Tran

  30. 4 out of 5

    Larraine Marchment

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