Should politicians use ghost writers?

I spent most of my weekends in January and February this year writing my chapter for Peter van Onselen’s edited collection Liberals and Power: The Road Ahead. As has recently been reported, not all the other contributors spent quite so much time writing their chapters.

We know this because recycled material has shown that neither Brendan Nelson nor Julie Bishop wrote the chapters that appeared under their names. The Bishop chapter partly plagiarises New Zealand Business Roundtable Executive Director Roger Kerr, and with her chief of staff Murray Hansen taking responsibility for the whole mess we know that he was the author of her contribution (or co-author, with Kerr). Tom Switzer has outed himself as the author of Brendan Nelson’s chapter by repeating some of it in the Australian edition of The Spectator.

Last month I defended Bishop in her previous plagiarism controversy, on the grounds that senior politicians aren’t using their time effectively if they write all their own material. But Louise Adler, the publisher of Liberals and Power, is is taking a much tougher stance in The Age this morning:

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