Simon Benson

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Simon Benson

The story everyone is talking about…The book that helped trigger a change of Prime Minister… and helps explain why Labor failed to win a majority in the recent election… and what Labor needs to do about it! 

A story that some in the Australian Labor Party would prefer to keep buried. But to others, including former Labor giants, it’s a story that needs telling.

Betrayal is a shocking, often crude, even hilarious war-story about politics, policy and petty personal ambition.

More important, it’s about the train wreck of the NSW Labor Party & the policy reform framework that past Labor leaders fought hard to make it stand for, and how that culture infected Federal Labor… ultimately what cost Labor majority government in the recent federal election.


“A portrayal of the dirty world of politics…secret meetings and broken promises…”  – Steve Liebmann, Radio 2UE

Available as:

  • Hardback First Edition
    Published 31/05/2010 ISBN 978-0-9807418-2-7 Pages 320 Pages

Simon Benson

Simon Benson

Simon Benson

Simon Benson is the political editor and former national affairs editor at The Australian. Prior to that he was the national political editor for the Daily Telegraph. He has reported on state and federal politics for 18 years. He is the author of the bestselling 2010 political book Betrayal: The Underbelly of Australian Labor. Benson was awarded the Peter Hunt Eureka Prize for environmental journalism in 2001.

He is the author of Betrayal (2010) and Plagued (2022).

More about the author

“One big morality tale… a cracker read.”

” …probably be the best-selling political insider’s account in years.”

“A riveting read… although it’s not a pretty picture.”

“This book takes readers inside the corridors of power and re-creates critical conversations through painstaking interviews. It’s a remarkable feat of investigative journalism.”

“You are going to hate what you learn.”

“an extraordinary book…meticulously detailed…I couldn’t put it down…an absolutely gripping story.”

“An accurate portrayal…I had a…deal with the Prime Minister and it should have been honoured.”

“I supported the government’s policy. On the question of organisational matters within the Australian Labor Party, Mr Iemma’s recollection of events is not accurate.”

“What I said is 100 per cent accurate. Mr Rudd’s the one who’s got it wrong…the one whose recollections are hazy.”

“A book that will shatter the credibility of Prime Minister Kevin Rudd.”

“A portrayal of the dirty world of politics…secret meetings and broken promises…”

“An outstanding read…”

“An explosive tell-all book…”

“A ripper book.”

“Benson has the quality tabloid journalist’s feel for detail… Betrayal, however, is more than a compelling political potboiler. It should stimulate the beginnings of the conversation about what Labor government in NSW between 1995 and (if the polls are correct) 2011 has meant. If the answer to that question by most media commentators and editorialists would appear to be ‘unalleviated disaster’, that simply reflects shortness of memory, including for many of their own previously held positions.”

“Benson is best of breed in political reporting… and his skill and access shines through his book, which reads like a political spy-thriller where you’re compelled to turn the next page to read the next act of intrigue, skullduggery or bloody-mindedness. We, of course, know how it ends but it’s no less compelling for it.”

“an account of the destruction of the Iemma government in NSW on electricity privatisation reform. In effect, the party destroyed the government.” (Paul Kelly)

“Simon Benson’s riveting account…of how the unions, the state ALP machine and even the opposition brought down the Iemma government…” (Michael Stuchbury)

“The book does a brilliant job capturing the often cinematic quality of the treachery within the ALP. There is one scene straight out of a movie.” (David Penberthy)


“…a book with more twists than a Rubik’s cube.”

“In the most explosive political book of 2010 the underbelly of Australian politics… finally exposed!”

“The first book which captures the disillusionment which followed the glory days of Kevin 07 and explores the chicanery of  The Lodge’s present tenant.”

“As a snapshot of what happened, the book deserves comparison with Alan Reid’s The Gorton Experiment (1971). The events, scheming, the atmosphere and personalities, drama and ultimate tragedy are deftly sketched. Benson’s book illuminates how the NSW machine betrayed its own traditions. That’s the real betrayal…”

“…A rollicking read… a readable and an accessible account of the dysfunctional, damaged and cynical culture of the NSW ALP”

“…Benson’s narrative is fast-paced and captures the hectic untidiness of politics behind the scenes… Amid the often colourful recriminations, Betrayal has a serious point to make. It is that when the party machine lacks ‘policy purpose, it has nothing more to offer than to focus on marketing and polls’…”