Review: Crocs in the Cabinet by Ben Smee and Christopher A. Walsh

crocssmeewalshBy-line: Northern Territory politics: An instruction manual on how NOT to run a Government
Published by: Hachette Australia
ISBN 13: 9780733637520
Published: November 2016
Pages: 304
Format reviewed: Paperback
Site: Author Site
Goodreads: Book Page
Stars: Five out of Five
Related Reviews: What a Croc! By the NT News

This book is perfectly summed up in the byline. Written by two award-winning journalists from the NT News, it collects the political history that swept the Northern Territory from about 2012 through until now-ish, listing every single embarrassing or just straight up weird event that occurred in this time. The back of the book has a list to get you started:

  • a drunk Territory minister, a seedy Tokyo club with a $5,000 bar tab and a taxpayer-funded credit card.
  • the lewd videos a masturbating minister sent someone (not his wife)
  • the anguished words ‘WE ARE IN LOVE!’ echoing from the floor of parliament

I could go on, but that’s enough to be getting on with, isn’t it?

The thing that’s possible hard to understand about the NT political system is how small the area really is. The population of the Northern Territory is small, and suddenly a lot smaller when you eliminate everyone who isn’t crazy or egotistical enough to bother with politics. One in five Territorians works in a government job, and most can tell you how many ministers or CEOs they’ve gone through in the last five years. This book provides the commentary on what else was going on behind the scenes if you weren’t paying attention (or just lost track at the time when everything was even messier than usual over a few weeks), and as the Territory is so small it’s easy to know a few people mentioned in the book if you live up here.

The book sounds like it should be boring (surely we’re depressed enough at the state of politics in Australia, America, Brexit… let alone in a place few people care about), and yet it keeps you reading because it really is just that much of an emotional rollercoaster. They sum it up as ‘This is Fear and Loathing on the Campaign Trail meets Fawlty Towers’, and they’ve got that right.

Many people follow The NT News on facebook, twitter and instagram because they tend towards the weird and zany hilarious posts… if you like those, get this book to see their slightly more serious side. You won’t be disappointed.

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