Philip Ruddock was commended for conviction and condemned for cruelty in his management of Australia’s Immigration program between 1996 and 2003. As Australia’s longest-serving Minister for Immigration and second longest-serving Federal parliamentarian, he won praise in the 1970s and 1980s for his strong commitment to human rights and refugee resettlement but in the 1990s and 2003 drew sharp criticism for offshore processing and the mandatory detention of asylum seekers. A reserved man, Ruddock did not display his emotions when confronted with human tragedy or angry protests. His reserved manner led to allegations he was uncaring and callous.
This book is the first extended treatment of Ruddock’s political career, focussing specifically on Immigration and the place of compassion in the development and administration of public policy. It will interest students of Australian politics, particularly the Howard era, and engage anyone committed to the exercise of moral virtues and ethical values in national life.
Professor Tom Frame AM is Director of the Public Leadership Research Group at UNSW Canberra and the Howard Library at Old Parliament House. A former naval officer and Bishop to the Australian Defence Force, he is the author or editor of nearly 50 books including the HMAS Sydney: Australia’s Greatest Naval Tragedy, the Life and Death of Harold Holt, Moral Injury: Unseen Wounds in an Age of Barbarism, Gun Control: What Australia Got Right (and Wrong) and a five-volume series on the Howard Government.