In the mid-1980s, Ray Evans and his boss at Western Mining Corporation, Hugh Morgan, became the pioneers of a new form of political activism. Morgan and Evans set up four small but potent organisations, intending to transform public thinking on industrial relations, the Constitution, Indigenous affairs and climate change.
Together they had an energy that bordered on fanaticism. They lobbied politicians and wrote opinion articles. They were born intriguers and colourful speakers. It was Bob Hawke who called them ‘political troglodytes and economic lunatics’, yet in their dogged pursuit of influence these hard right conservatives had an impact on mainstream public policy that continues today. Calmly, forensically and with a dry wit, Dominic Kelly shows how they did it.
Political Troglodytes and Economic Lunatics is a case study in how some very determined people can change a political culture.
‘This is the story of the last great shift in Australian politics, a tale of plutocrats and reactionaries who defied the times to drag Australia to the right.’ —David Marr
‘If you hope to understand the rightward drift of our recent politics, Dominic Kelly's calm and clear, fascinating and fair-minded, account of the work of Australia's three hard-right amigos – Hugh Morgan, John Stone and Ray Evans – is the place to start.’ —Robert Manne
‘Political Troglodytes and Economic Lunatics contributes to a deeper understanding of the Right in Australia, which has been relatively neglected.’ —David McKnight, author of Populism Now and Beyond Right and Left
‘This is a controversial subject about polarising figures, but Kelly’s approach is fair and honest. An important contribution to the literature on modern conservatism and neoliberalism.’ —Andrew Hartman, Professor of History, Illinois State University
‘A lucid and compelling account of the men and advocacy groups that drove Australia to the right.’ —Judy Brett