Julia 2010: The caretaker election

Edited by:
ISBN (print): 9781921862632
ISBN (online): 9781921862649
Publication date: February 2012
Imprint: ANU Press

This book provides a comprehensive coverage of one of Australia’s most historic elections, which produced a hung parliament and a carefully crafted minority government that remains a heartbeat away from collapse, as well as Australia’s first elected woman Prime Minister and the Australian Greens’ first lower house Member of Parliament.

The volume considers the key contextual and possibly determining factors, such as: the role of leadership and ideology in the campaign; the importance of state and regional factors (was there evidence of the two or three speed economy at work?); and the role of policy areas and issues, including the environment, immigration, religion, gender and industrial relations. Contributors utilise a wide range of sources and approaches to provide comprehensive insights into the campaign. This volume notably includes the perspectives of the major political groupings, the ALP, the Coalition and the Greens; and the data from the Australian Election Survey. Finally we conclude with a detailed analysis of those 17 days that it took to construct a minority party government.


Norman Abjorensen, of the ANU Crawford School of Public Policy, reviewed Julia 2012: The caretaker election in the recent Australian Journal of Politics and History (Volume 58, Number 3) . He provides historical context for the book, writing “for a whole range of reasons, the 2010 election is a landmark even in its own right, producing the first hung parliament in Australia in seven decades and leading to a politics, from government formation to policy, that has rarely been seen in the country before.” Abjorensen touches on a few of the articles from the book, highlighting “The acerbic Rodney Cavalier” and Carol Johnson’s “fascinating chapter” .

Abjorensen praises the book as a whole, declaring “A most useful component in this volume is an analysis of each state and territory which breaks down the big picture into its component parts, more accurately reflecting both the complexities and the crosscurrents woven into the whole.

“This will not be the last book written on the 2010 election — one of the most remarkable of all, in the words of Liberal Party federal director, Brian Loughnane — but it will become the essential starting point for all those that follow. It showcases Australian political analysis at its incisive and analytical best.”

(Norman Abjorensen, review of Julia 2010: The caretaker election, edited by Marian Sims and John Wanna, Australian Journal of Politics and HistoryVolume 58, Number 3, 2012, pp 465–466.)