The infamous photo which ended Ivan Molloy's political career and tore his world apart.
The infamous photo which ended Ivan Molloy's political career and tore his world apart. Contributed

Ivan Molloy's book takes no political prisoners

IN 2004, Ivan Molloy's star was on the rise.

A respected academic married to a state Member of Parliament, he was prominent in the Noosa community and had visions of winning the federal seat of Fairfax and taking his place in the corridors of power in Canberra.

But then the media uncovered a 20-year-old photo of him posing with an assault rifle beside an Islamic guerrilla in the Philippines and overnight his political ambitions came to a shuddering halt.

The photo, he claimed, was taken while he was researching international terrorism but his political opponents jumped on the chance to paint him as a terrorist sympathiser.

Prime Minister John Howard demanded his sacking, the media had a field day and he claims even his political allies - Kevin Rudd and Opposition Leader Mark Latham included - deserted him and gagged him from publicly defending himself.

"My life-long quest to enter active politics was not just in tatters, it was destroyed," Mr Molloy writes in his recently-released book Ceasefire! The Ivan Molloy Story.

"From that point on for the rest of the political campaign and even after, I was ruthlessly hounded and publicly derided by a relentlessly vicious media campaign intent on portraying me as some sort of murderous terrorist, or at best a sympathiser with foreign Islamic killers.

"Barraged by obscene calls, even death threats from lunatics, it was 'all over red rover' for me, the academic and aspiring politician.

"Such gut-wrenching infamy destroyed any hopes I ever had of winning and more than that, I knew instinctively it would also destroy what was left of my academic career."


04/06/04  130552L-R Shadow Foreign Affairs Minister Kevin Rudd at the launch of  Dr Ivan Molloy's new Book. Photo:David Thomas
Once a key supporter of his political campaign, Ivan Molloy says Kevin Rudd was one of many political colleagues who deserted him. David Thomas

In 2009, with both his personal life and his dreams in pieces and suffering from severe depression, Mr Molloy fled to a small village in France.

"I was fleeing the nightmare of a destroyed career and a shattered family," he says.

"As I tried to battle the 'black dog' of depression, suicide was a very real option for me.

"But first, I decided to write a book about my research and involvement with Muslim 'terrorists' and revolutionary guerrilla groups in the Philippines."

The result was Ceasefire! The Ivan Molloy Story, which documents Mr Molloy's younger years travelling the world, accounts of growing up a communist, mixing with Hells Angels, Islamic and communist guerrillas in the Philippines, witnessing murders, spending nights with terrorist squads, suffering bouts of PTSD and the experiences of his father and grandfathers in the two world wars.

"On one level it is part my autobiography, on another it deals with three generations of my family's active involvement in war, terrorism, political and social conflict and the tragic emotional and psychological consequences my family endured as a result," he said.

"It was a way of combating a public media smear campaign that destroyed my professional and private life. But to do this I needed to retrace both my own and my family's earlier experiences with conflicts elsewhere which influenced me to choose such research.

"In so doing, I discovered new realities about the psychological condition I was battling and how it impacted on, and haunted, my own extended family over generations, and all due to war and social conflict with horrific human consequences."

Tragically, Mr Molloy's insights into depression and human frailty proved almost prophetic as his adult daughter Melanie took her own life prior to his book's publication.

Ceasefire! The Ivan Molloy Story, which is dedicated to her memory, is now available paperback and ebook from Amazon-Kindle.