‘We cannot blame particular individuals for modern Labor’s malaise, because it is part of a systemic global phenomenon. We are all under the sway of politics without purpose. And politics without purpose is pointless.’
Nothing could better sum up Lindsay Tanner’s forthright attitude to politics and the public interest than these resounding sentences from the concluding section of Politics with Purpose.
In a parliamentary career spanning 18 years, culminating in his position as the minister for finance and deregulation in the Rudd–Gillard governments, Lindsay Tanner always talked straight, and was always worth reading or listening to.
Now we can see why. In this edited selection of his press articles, speeches, and occasional essays from 1990 to 2012, Tanner discusses a range of major subjects: Labor’s problems and prospects; globalisation and its discontents; the family ties that bind; facing up to important values; the need for compassion; and lessons from his own life.
Some pieces are short and lighthearted; others are longer and deeply serious. But whether the subject matter is economic, political, or personal, his range of interests and insights is remarkable. Lindsay Tanner’s thoughtfulness and humanity are evident on every page, demonstrating once again what the nation lost when he departed from national politics.