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Articles Archive for August 2017

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[31 Aug 2017 | No Comment | 136 views ]

When Communists Invaded Cold War Canberra
by ROSS FITZGERALD
The seemingly endless second prime ministerial stint of Liberal Party stalwart Robert Gordon Menzies from 1949 to 1966 was not, as it is now often portrayed, a period of unbroken certainty, somnolence and solidity. The first years of the Menzies restoration in particular were quite rocky.
For a start, when Menzies won the 1949 federal election, his incoming government faced a hostile Senate. Sixteen months later a double-dissolution defeat for Labor ended the impasse. But success on this front was shortly …

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[30 Aug 2017 | No Comment | 240 views ]

A ROMAN CANDLE IN THE NIGHT
‘On the Wagon: Following in the footsteps of Jack Kerouac, sober’
By Lennox Nicholson
Publisher: Affirm Press: Melbourne, 2017
ISBN: 9781925344578
RRP: $24.99 (pb)
Reviewed by ROSS FITZGERALD
When I was drinking alcoholically I thought that I was a writer. But in those years I couldn’t even write a note to the milkman! However, since I became alcohol and drug free in Alcoholics Anonymous 47 years ago, I have written 39 books. They may not be “War and Peace” but they exist.
As it happens, I was introduced to AA in Cleveland, …

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[26 Aug 2017 | No Comment | 87 views ]

Tour de Oz
By Bret Harris
HarperCollins, 322pp, $29.99
Circumnavigating Australia by bicycle sounds like a grand folly, something that could form the basis of one of those amusing films about unlikely journeys.
But the story happens to be true. Four years before the inaugural Tour de France, four cyclists, widely known as overlanders, embarked on a race around Australia.
Bret Harris’s Tour de Oz is about their heroic attempts to “circumcycle” our vast continent. The timing is interesting. This pedal-powered adventure took place shortly before the colonies became a nation in 1901. In one …

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[25 Aug 2017 | No Comment | 94 views ]

Why safe drug-consumption rooms make more sense than drug-testing welfare recipients
BY ROSS FITZGERALD
Sparked by a spate of overdose deaths of young people, there is currently a debate about establishing a ‘Drug Consumption Room’ (DCR) in Richmond, in Melbourne.
This follows MP Fiona Patten introducing a bill in February in the Victorian Parliament for an Australian trial of such a facility.
But it is not only in Melbourne that debate is raging. It is now occurring nationally, and especially in western Sydney where, at Canterbury-Bankstown, the federal government is planning to drug-test welfare …

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[24 Aug 2017 | No Comment | 182 views ]

SPECTATOR AUSTRALIA: Australian Notes
Stopping Shorten
by Ross Fitzgerald
For once, Malcolm Turnbull’s current travails are not all his own fault. The Prime Minister could hardly be blamed for questions over the Deputy Prime Minister’s eligibility to sit in federal parliament. Indeed, it’s hard to see Barnaby Joyce’s culpability either: he could not be expected to know what his father – who had left New Zealand as a youth and never held a Kiwi passport – also didn’t know and had no reason to suspect.
The dual citizenship crisis is the kind of bolt-from-the-blue …

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[12 Aug 2017 | No Comment | 150 views ]

The Show: Another Side Of Santamaria’s Movement
By Mark Aarons, with John Grenville
Scribe, 265pp, $32.99
BA Santamaria was one of the most influential unelected Australian political figures of the 20th century. ‘The Show’ is a sometimes controversial reassessment of the role in labour history and Labor politics of this Melbourne-based Catholic layman who loomed large in our political and cultural landscape. From 1942, Santamaria (1915-98) helped organise and orchestrate anti-communist activities throughout Australia, especially in Victoria.
Mark Aarons’s previous book, ‘The Family File’, was a riveting account of four generations of his …

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[9 Aug 2017 | No Comment | 144 views ]

GOING OUT BACKWARDS: A GRAFTON EVEREST ADVENTURE
By Ross Fitzgerald & Ian McFadyen
Hybrid Publishers 2015
ISBN: 9781925272109
RRP , $26.9 pb
Reviewed by Gerard Henderson
Barry Humphries has described Grafton Everest as “a wonderful creation in the same ranks as Philip Roth’s Portnoy and Kingsley Amis’s Lucky Jim.
Dr Everest (for a doctor he is) makes a welcome return in ‘Going Out Backwards: A Grafton Everest Adventure.’ This is the fifth appearance by Professor (for a professor he also is) Grafton in print. On this occasion via the combined work of Ross Fitzgerald (the Sydney-based Emeritus …