If all political biographies warrant journalists filling in the significant gaps, where was Laurie Oakes when the Gareth Evans biography surfaced three years ago.

Hillary didn’t there must have been a particularly engrossing Penny Vincenti out at the same time but presumes it was a bonkbuster. After all, Laurie Oakes would have rushed into print and onto the News and A Current Affair if all the details of the old in-and-out had been omitted by author Keith Scott, wouldn’t’ve he?

Why, even the address of Gareth’s web site tends to give it away with a wink and a grin www.garethevans.dynamite.com.au. Dynamite as in “I wanna get up and do my thang, you know, movin’, doin’ it, like a, like a”.

The web site of the publishers, Allen and Unwin, spells it out too. Their blurb describes the book as “A comprehensive and engaging exploration of the public and private life of one of Australia’s most substantial politicians and accomplished foreign ministers” . Note that private life?

Still, Hillary can’t work out where all the Gazza luvs Chezza dirt is, looking at the chapter headings:

1. The Evanses of Yea

2. A Tramways Man

3. A Bright Boy

4. A Young Rationalist

5. Student Activist

6. Oxford and Marriage

7. A Modern Socialist in Victoria

8. An Intellectual Among Unionists

9. Lawyer and Libertarian

10. On the Make

11. Biggles

12. Following Gough

13. Down the Mines

14. Front Man for Reform

15. A Foreign Minister for the Times

16. The Odd Man In

17. A Search for Community

18. International Statesman

19. Peaks and Troughs

20. Return to Opposition

“Odd Man In”, perhaps?

Ah well. It’s down to the library this afternoon to look at the clips and the remainder shop for the book itself.

Laurie Oakes has said he only received the incriminating e-mail he used last week as “documentary proof” of the Evans-Kernot affair in 2000 but like Hillary and everyone else round the House, he would have heard the yarn.

And, no doubt, as he believes that truth is an essential and central theme in political biographies, it will be fascinating to see what he had to say when it was published back in 1999.

Hillary Bray can be contacted at [email protected]

Peter Fray

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