Tuesday, 12 November 2013

Anne Henderson's bad biography of joseph Lyons

A friend of mine had Anne Henderson's biography of Joseph Lyons so I asked him if I could read it.

It is really bad  Sinclair Davidson bad.

I would just write on some of the errors. inconsistencies or blatant propaganda the book involves.


  • In the preface she talks about why there should be more books on the man. He was the first prime minister to win 3 elections in a row. This was a remarkable achievement. Whoa there. The Opposition was split badly  ( the Big Fellah anybody) until one John Curtin was able to unify the party. A drover's dog could have won the elections for the UAP under those conditions! Indeed why was there an election in 1931 anyway. Oh that's right Langites voted against the Government!
  • She says Amity Shales has reevaluated what people think about the New Deal. I have dealt with Shales before. She is one strange lady .She considers people on jobs unemployed. Shales is considered a joke in the USA. Her favourite president had 3 recessions in 7 years during the roaring twenties, Say no more!
  • She compares unemployment in Australia with unemployment in the USA in 1937. Only problem is in the USA you had the largest change in fiscal policy. From a structural deficit to a small structural surplus. This meant GDP actually fell after averaging nearly double digits during the new deal time. Unemployment rose in the USA because of policies Joseph Lyons advocated.
  • Unemployment only fell to 8% at best in Australia. This is the level they were in a recession before the great Depression hit Australia. so in her own words Australia went from a depression to a recession. some recovery
  • She hides the fact the economy fell in 1932 ( it had marginally risen in 1930) after the disastrous 1931 budget and then only rose after that because of the massive devaluation that occurred. This devaluation meant inflation ( something that Joseph Lyons foolishly feared) . This meant monetary policy suddenly worked.( No liquidity trap) Real wages fell drastically and of course economic growth occurred. She missed that. Funny about that!
  • She claims Enid Lyons was quite an attractive lady but all the photographs show a largish plain looking woman!
  • Joseph Lyons was in love with her when Enid Lyons was only 15 and he was over twice her age. This was be scandalous now but in the early 1900s it would be an outrage but nothing is said. 
I will leave it at that. Joseph Lyons is an interesting subject but deserves better than this rubbish!