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Articles Archive for October 2016

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[29 Oct 2016 | No Comment | 125 views ]

Passchendaele: Requiem for Doomed Youth
By Paul Ham
William Heinemann 565pp, $45 (HB)
Passchendaele serves as an emblem signifying all the tragedy and suffering of World War I.
The battles at and around the small Flemish town were fought from July to November 1917. It was the worst year of the war for Allied forces, a time of catastrophic loss and unimaginable carnage on the battlefields of the Western Front.
Written with the aid of three researchers — Glenda Lynch in Australia, Simon Fowler in Britain and Elena Vogt in Germany — Paul Ham’s …

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[29 Oct 2016 | No Comment | 77 views ]

COMIC HISTORY
True Girt: The Unauthorised History of Australia, Volume 2
DAVID HUNT
BLACK INC., $32.99
David Hunt is an Australian historian, comedy writer, and children’s book author. His ‘Girt: The Unauthorised History of Australia’ was shortlisted for the 2014 NSW Premier’s Literary Awards and for the Australian Book Industry Awards. He is in the fine tradition of writing gleefully and outrageously about our past, present and future.
In ‘True Girt, the second volume of his unauthorised history (which makes me think of Manning Clark), Hunt states that he will have succeeded with this book …

Columns »

[28 Oct 2016 | One Comment | 100 views ]

Last month, the entire state of South Australia was blacked out for 24 hours because wind turbines shut down and the interconnector to Victoria’s electricity grid broke down. People were stuck in lifts, traffic lights stopped working, and businesses closed because renewable energy is inherently unreliable and back-up systems couldn’t cope. Unfortunately, much more expensive and much less reliable power is Australia’s future under the Labor Party’s renewable energy policy at state and federal levels.
Given the current state of technology, Labor’s commitment to a national 50 per cent renewable energy …

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[15 Oct 2016 | No Comment | 137 views ]

Review
Richard Brooks: From Convict Ship Captain to Pillar of Early Colonial Australia
By Christine Maher
Rosenberg Publishing, 248pp, $29.95
As captain of the convict transport ship ‘Alexander’, Richard Brooks sailed in a convoy of seven vessels bringing incoming governor William Bligh to Sydney in 1806. Four years earlier Brooks, a rum trader, had presided over arguably the worst single voyage in a convict ship coming to Sydney Cove, that of the ‘Atlas’. A third of the convicts — 73 people — died from disease and neglect, with the latter in large part because …

Columns »

[15 Oct 2016 | 2 Comments | 113 views ]

In good times and in bad, the federal government’s duty is clear: to keep our country safe and to maximise Australians’ ability to get ahead. This is never easy and could get even harder under an America led by Donald Trump or more likely by a second president Clinton, especially economically.
So, with China inexorably moving to dominate our region; with the Islamist contagion checked on the battlefields of the Middle East but not in the hearts of tens of millions of Muslims; with Russia dangerously destabilising Eastern Europe; and with …

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[11 Oct 2016 | 2 Comments | 230 views ]

Chris Mitchell, ‘Making Headlines’
Melbourne University Press 2016, $32.99
Reviewed by Ross Fitzgerald
For years from the mid-1990s onwards I wrote a regular column for Chris Mitchell when he ran Brisbane’s ‘Courier-Mail’ and then, from July 2002, when he was editor-in-chief of ‘The Australian’. This was the case until he retired from his extremely demanding editorial position in December 2015.
My experience is that Mitchell genuinely believes in freedom of speech and in the free play of ideas. Indeed, I can’t remember a single instance when he tried to prevent or influence me …

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[7 Oct 2016 | No Comment | 173 views ]

BIOGRAPHY
Phillip Schuler
MARK BAKER
ALLEN & UNWIN, $32.99
Two books, both entitled ‘Gallipoli’, have stood the test of time. The first, published in 1956, is by Alan Moorehead. The second, published in 2001, is by Les Carlyon, who breathed new life into Moorehead’s magnificent account of the ill-fated campaign.
Now we have a third excellent book about Gallipoli that takes the form of a biography of one of the finest war correspondents Australia has produced and who eventually died as a soldier, aged 27, on Flanders Fields on June 23, 1917.
This remarkable human being …

Columns »

[2 Oct 2016 | 3 Comments | 253 views ]

A former Liberal premier of NSW used to tell confidants that his state was basically Labor and the only way for the Liberals to win was to have Labor values but Liberal competence. I doubt that Prime Minister Turnbull has thought that deeply about this but the only way he will win the next election is if his NSW ex-colleague’s dictum applies to the whole country.
The Turnbull government is said to have had its best fortnight yet but its three cited achievements: a superannuation compromise, some modest savings measures and …