Sound recordings of his deceased father, an unpublished manuscript and his favorite pen were lost, along with virtually all the belongings of his wife Anne and their children Jack (14), Jenny (12) and Tom (8).
Mr Ellis ignored the smoldering mess and hoped that his merciless “Woody Allenisation of Dr Hewson” would be “received as geniusly as a very good sketch by Max Gillies”.
“That Hewson is some kind of robot with a thing in the back of his mind who was found at a young age in Kogarah by his fellow Kogarah resident Graham Richardson and then programmed to ruin the Liberal Party, I think is a very savage thesis,” agreed he.
He insisted it was also “a very serious book about what’s seriously wrong with Dr. Hewson…”
He admitted that his victims may not appreciate his satire, saying: “I think it’s a noble legal experiment. I think the big advantage of today is that they know they can’t sue me for anything.”
He derided suggestions of any connection between the fire and the book, except perhaps “the wrath of Dr. Hewson’s Baptist god lashing out at a critic”.
“It’s either a publicity stunt, a not-too-subtle act of political censorship, a shrewd way to show his lawyers they’re not going to make money or something,” he muttered sarcastically.
Having lost his home, Mr Ellis fears a Labor victory The Hewson Tapes as irrelevant as the secret lives of Billy Snedden or Frank Forde?
“Our ideal hope was that it would sell for six weeks and he would lose. The worst chance is that it will be sold for three years and he will win.”
Published by Hemynge and Condell, The Hewson Tapes costs $12.95.
As it turned out, Labor won the election and Ellis and his wife Anne Brooksbank were “roasted” by friends and colleagues as a way to offer “a little comfort and loose change” to cover some of their losses. Titled Up from the Ashes, the roast was co-hosted by Wendy Harmer and Graeme Blundell. Newly appointed Federal Secretary of the Arts Senator Bob McMullan also appeared.