A message from Gareth Evans
Gareth Evans will be touring INCORRIGIBLE OPTIMIST around Australia in October
Politics has always been a bloody and dangerous trade. Public life involves inevitable stress, and almost certain pain. Those primarily motivated by idealism are almost always disappointed in what they are able to achieve. And those for whom exercising power, or being close to the action, is its own reward find out that just about every political career (and mine was no exception) does indeed end in frustration or failure.
For me at least, there is only one possible justification for spending more than two decades of my life in parliamentary politics. And for spending many years both before and since then fighting various public causes at home and abroad – including against racism, mass atrocity crimes and nuclear weapons. It is only through politics, public service and public action, that one can achieve change at the macro level – setting new policy directions, recognising and advancing our common humanity, and making Australia and the world a better place for all its people.
To believe that such positive change is possible, and to spend most of one’s adult life trying to achieve it, one has to be an optimist, and throughout my public life I have been just that. But in recent times my incorrigible optimism has been challenged more than I can ever previously remember. There has been a manifest deterioration in the quality of global political leadership, with Brexit a way-station and the election of President Donald Trump the nadir. And there has been an equally obvious decline in the quality of Australian politics and policymaking, with prime ministers changing with pantomime frequency, the major parties losing ground to fringe dwellers, and decision-making on important social and economic issues paralysed.
– Gareth Evans AC, QC
In his sometimes moving, often entertaining, and always lucid memoir Incorrigible Optimist, Gareth Evans looks back over the highs and lows of his public life as a student activist, civil libertarian, law reformer, industry minister, international policymaker, educator and politician.
The Hon. Bob Hawke AC GCL will launch Incorrigible Optimist by the Hon. Gareth Evans AC QC on ABC TV, Wednesday 4 October from 12.30pm at the National Press Club.
NATIONAL BOOK TOUR
Meet the Hon. Gareth Evans AC QC at an event near you. Visit our events page for details.
Incorrigible Optimist is out 2 October.