McMullin, Ross: So monstrous a travesty

McMullin, Ross

So Monstrous a Travesty: Chris Watson and the World’s First National Labour Government, Scribe, Carlton North, Vic., 2004

We were leading the world [the author said in a lecture about his book]. It might be hard to imagine now, but the advent of the Watson government confirmed that a century ago Australia was leading the world in progressive government, in pioneering measures benefiting the working class. Remarkable as it may seem today, curious visitors crossed the globe to scrutinise this advanced social laboratory for themselves.

Reviews are here, here and here. (The last of these reviews notes that McMullin does not dwell on the fact that Watson sided with Hughes in the conscription split and helped found the anti-Labor Nationalist Party.) The title of the book is taken from one of many newspaper fulminations about the lack of credentials – and worse – of the government.


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