October 1, 2013

Editor’s Note

October Editor's Note

By John van Tiggelen

In January, Julia Gillard announced that the federal election would be held on 14 September. As an attempt to lock in her agenda and lock out Kevin Rudd, it failed on both fronts. At the Monthly, we were settling in for a long year, with Mungo MacCallum beginning our February issue as follows: “If it does nothing else, the election year of 2013 will vindicate some political careers and end quite a few others.”

In March, we ran a cover story on the seven female members of the Gillard ministry. (It would have been eight, had Nicola Roxon not resigned.) There was Penny Wong, Tanya Plibersek, Jenny Macklin, the PM herself, Kate Lundy, Kate Ellis and Julie Collins. How quaint they look now, next to Julie Bishop and 18 men. 

In April, we profiled Bob Katter. What were we thinking? And it didn’t help him much either. Evidently North Queenslanders were so dismayed to see their cowboy-in-chief on the cover of a left-of-centre magazine that they deserted him in droves. 

Our May issue featured a laughing Kevin Rudd as “The Saboteur”. Part of the final paragraph of Erik Jensen’s essay is worth repeating:

“Although the press gallery wrote off Rudd for good in the wake of the uncontested challenge [in March], and the country’s economic indicators could hardly be better, leadership speculation will be back on the agenda when Murdoch’s editors want it to be – that is, when their pollsters resume asking the question: who is your preferred choice for PM, Kevin Rudd or Julia Gillard?”

In June, John Birmingham took Clive Palmer’s candidacy surprisingly seriously, concluding “he is not a man to be underestimated. Or crossed.” Unfortunately, we also took Julian Assange’s quest for the Senate seriously, and put him on the cover. Oops.


The July issue starred Tony Abbott. “Pulling his punches” was the coverline, accompanying an image of Abbott adjusting his blue tie. Somehow it looks more ominous now than it did then. 

Chloe Hooper documented Julia Gillard’s last days as PM in our August edition. This was followed last month by Christos Tsiolkas’ powerful essay about asylum seekers, which served to keep front and centre those whom both major parties had forsaken. 

And now it’s October. We’re well in to spring, and we have a new government, even if it’s already starting to resemble an old one. We hope you’ll agree: our annual arts issue hasn’t come a moment too soon.

Correction regarding Richard Cooke’s article: At the time of writing, Paul Howes was still regarded as the man most likely to take Bob Carr’s seat in the Senate. This is no longer the case.

John van Tiggelen

John van Tiggelen is a freelance writer and the author of Mango Country.

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