Politics, Death and Addiction tells how an active Member of Parliament, psychologist and mother became addicted to alcohol and 'pokies', while rearing her granddaughter and working as a Member of Parliament, following her daughter's suicide. Grounded in the reality of Labor Party politics and public policy making, it exposes the impact on Carolyn Hirsh's public life of unacknowledged grief and undiagnosed post-traumatic stress disorder. The book offers insight for others suffering from similar challenges, by providing a professional self-analysis. Through blending current dilemmas with childhood flashbacks, the reader gets a real sense of why Hirsh reacted as she did to the humiliation of being told to resign from the Labor Party over her misdemeanours. Politics, Death and Addiction is much more than a political who, what and when: Hirsh shines an unforgiving light on people and processes during her time in the media spotlight and beyond. The manuscript was shortlisted for the Finch Memoir Prize, 2013.
Carolyn Hirsh is the mother of three daughters and spent most of her adult life in the workforce following her husband's early death. She was successful as a teacher, a psychologist and a Member of the Victorian Parliament. She suffered from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) following her eldest daughter's suicide, and developed addictions to alcohol and poker machines. This led to two convictions for drink-driving, and one for driving unlicensed, all under the public spotlight.