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Articles in the Columns Category

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[24 Sep 2018 | No Comment | 42 views ]

By Justin Burke
Celebrated author Anna Funder has quit the judging panel for the Horne Prize for essays, after rule changes were made banning entries about the experiences of Aborigines, gay people and other minorities without the writers belonging to these respective groups.
Funder, who won the Miles Franklin Award in 2012 for her work of fiction set in Nazi Germany, told The Australian the judges weren’t consulted in advance about the controversial changes to the $15,000 award.
“I really disagreed with them, and I felt like a lot of my work would …

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[24 Sep 2018 | No Comment | 35 views ]

BY ROSS FITZGERALD
By-elections matter. The Bass by-election in 1975 presaged the defeat of the Whitlam government. The Canberra by-election in 1995 predicted the defeat of the Keating government. The Aston by-election in 2004 foreshadowed the recovery of the Howard government. And most recently, the Longman by-election set in train the downfall of Malcolm Turnbull.
On the other hand, winning the Flinders by-election in late 1982 didn’t save the Fraser government at the general election just a few months later.
Winning next month’s Wentworth by-election won’t improve the Morrison government’s fortunes, but losing …

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[23 Sep 2018 | No Comment | 50 views ]

TURNBULL’S POLITICAL SUICIDE
by ROSS FITZGERALD
The Canberra press gallery can’t work out why their favourite Liberal is no longer prime minister because they have almost no understanding of how the Liberal Party actually works. Political journalists rarely talk to anyone outside the Canberra bubble and their Liberal contacts are nearly always from the party’s progressive wing. That’s why they didn’t see Malcolm Turnbull’s demise coming and have difficulty grasping what actually happened. It was much less …

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[30 Aug 2018 | One Comment | 115 views ]

Here’s my lead article in Spectator Australia.
Thanks for nothing, Malcolm.
by ROSS FITZGERALD
One thing we can be sure of is that the Liberal prime minister who once tried to join the Labor Party won’t be attending too many Liberal party gatherings in his retirement.
Before he moved too far to the left, even Malcolm Fraser had accepted life membership and had a retirement tilt at the Liberal party presidency. John Howard is still a rock star at party fundraisers, campaigns for key candidates, and chaired a committee recommending …

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[16 Aug 2018 | No Comment | 61 views ]

AUSTRALIAN NOTES: Energy wars
by Ross Fitzgerald
It’s a brave observer of politics who disagrees with Paul Kelly, who is rightly regarded as the finest Australian political journalist of his generation. In a series of strongly argued pieces for The Australian, Kelly has urged support for the government’s National Energy Guarantee; not because it’s the best policy but because it’s the least bad option on offer, and the only way to end the energy policy wars that Kelly rightly says have bedevilled our politics for over a decade and helped to …

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[26 Jul 2018 | One Comment | 102 views ]

by Ross Fitzgerald
When the elites ignore the electorate, a vacuum will form
Among political insiders, I detect some relief that the two-party-preferred Newspoll gap between the Turnbull government and the Shorten opposition has narrowed and a sense that a comforting normalcy may be returning to our politics.
Unlike the Liberal Party base, insiders quite like the current federal government because it doesn’t challenge centre-left orthodoxies the way the Howard government did and the way the Abbott government did to an even greater extent. That’s …

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[11 Jul 2018 | No Comment | 61 views ]

Australians confront a grim choice: a purported conservative who is nothing of the kind and an unctuously insincere main-chancer who makes the skin crawl. Labor doesn’t deserve to win and the Liberals deserve to lose, but one party will — and the country will go right on being stiffed and stuffed
OPINION BY PROFESSOR ROSS FITZGERALD
The federal government’s GST plan, to give the states more money but not to redesign a bad system, shows how degraded Australian public life has become. At …

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[28 Jun 2018 | No Comment | 69 views ]

by Ross Fitzgerald and Rowan Dean.
It’s hard to avoid the conclusion that Australia’s current energy policy is close to being insane. We are the world’s largest coal exporter, but can’t manage to open any new coal-fired power stations here. Or worse, deliberately do not want to. We are one of the world’s biggest uranium exporters, but building a nuclear power station in Australia would be illegal. We will soon be the world’s largest gas exporter, but are about to build an import terminal because too much of our local production …

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[27 Jun 2018 | No Comment | 101 views ]

Why alcohol and drug problems continue to be so severe in Australia
by ROSS FITZGERALD
The idea that drug abuse is confined to illegal drugs is a mistaken one that is often magnified by the media.
The ravages of ice are terrible but the figures show that more than 90 per cent of deaths due to drugs are caused by the legal ones: tobacco and alcohol.
But don’t expect our mainstream media to remind us of that crucial fact. Alcohol is a pernicious drug that is socially acceptable, even as it destroys lives and …

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[12 Jun 2018 | No Comment | 80 views ]

PM MAY BEAT ALP YET LOSE HIS PARTY
by Ross Fitzgerald
Call it the historian’s instinct but, based on more than 40 years’ professional interest in Australian elections, I am starting to think that the government is likelier than not to be returned, especially if Malcolm Turnbull as Prime Minister is pitted against Bill Shorten as Opposition Leader.
Sure, the government has lost 33 Newspolls in a row to Labor, has a majority of …

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[17 May 2018 | One Comment | 120 views ]

The unwritten rule that the PM broke now protects him
by ROSS FITZGERALD
It may be far too early to declare Malcolm Turnbull a potential winner of the next federal election but it’s not too early to declare that it’s now a real contest.
Despite Prime Minister Turnbull’s long losing run in Newspoll (we’re up to 32 now), with a strong and united federal election campaign the gap is now bridgeable and there’s every chance that the super-Saturday of …