• Lyndal, Emerald, Ava & Ross at "Greystoke"
  • Ross Fitzgerald and Lyndal Moor at Catalins's on Valentines Day 2019
    Ross Fitzgerald and Lyndal Moor at Catalina's on Valentines Day 2019
  • Ross with comedian Barry Humphries. Sydney 2019.
  • Ross's 74th birthday
  • Ross & Lyndal celebrate their 42nd wedding anniversary
  • Ross with Archibald Prize winning Australian artist John Olsen
    Ross with Archibald Prize winning Australian artist John Olsen
  • Lyndal, Emerald and Adrian with our grandchild, Ava
  • Ross's dog Maddie
  • Ross and Lyndal's 40th anniversary
  • Daughter Emerald with our grandchild Ava
  • Ross becomes a member of The Order of Australia.

Reviews »

[18 May 2019 | No Comment | ]

Review

The People vs The Banks

By Michael Roddan. MUP, 342pp, $34.95

Blackout: How Is Energy-Rich Australia Running Out Of Electricity?

By Matthew Warren. Affirm Press, 270pp, $29.99

by ROSS FITZGERALD

As we head into this weekend’s federal election, few issues push the political buttons harder than banking and electricity. Both hit us where we live. As such, Michael Roddan’s The People vs The Banks and Matthew Warren’s Blackout are timely books.

On December 14, 2017, Malcolm Turnbull’s Coalition government reluctantly established the Royal Commission into Misconduct in the Banking, Superannuation and Financial Services Industry. Its recommendations, released in February, take …

Columns »

[17 May 2019 | No Comment | ]

by ROSS FITZGERALD

It’s depressing isn’t it?

Whatever the result of this election, Australia’s dismal decade of mediocre-to-poor government is likely to continue. Our economy is stagnating and our strategic environment is deteriorating. Yet none of what’s being offered by either side will make it significantly better and much will make it seriously worse. We have to have a government after tomorrow, and by a fair margin the Coalition one is preferable to the Labor alternative, but neither outcome will arrest what is becoming a period of long-term drift and decline.

By the …

Columns »

[29 Apr 2019 | No Comment | ]

by ROSS FITZGERALD

There’s much more at stake in Warringah than the future of a former prime minister

The battle for Warringah, normally a safe seat in northern Sydney, has become a struggle for the soul of the Liberal Party and a test of whether conservative politics can survive in modern Australia.

As anyone visiting Manly Beach on a Sunday morning or driving through Spit Road in the morning peak would know, GetUp, unions and former Labor operatives have blitzed the electorate, with hundreds of activists. The question is whether former Liberal …

Reviews »

[6 Apr 2019 | No Comment | ]

Review:

‘Don’t Hide the Madness: William S. Burroughs in Conversation with Allen Ginsberg.\

Edited by Steven TaylorThree Rooms Press, 341pp, $39.99 (HB)

by ROSS FITZGERALD

I met Allen Ginsberg in the early 1960s in the Indian holy city of Benares (now Varanasi). In the late 1970s I arranged for William S. Burroughs to teach creative writing at Griffith University in Brisbane, where I was based.

This idea lasted until a humourless bureaucrat freaked out after reading one of Burroughs’s books — probably ‘Naked Lunch’ or ‘Junk’ — and cancelled the invitation.

So we will never know …

Columns »

[28 Mar 2019 | No Comment | ]

But beware of Turnbull

But beware of Turnbull

            
By ROSS FITZGERALD

The return of the
Berejiklian government demonstrates that good governments can win a third
term, despite self-inflicted wounds. That will buoy the Morrison government,
even though it remains a long shot to win the federal election in under two
months’ time.

In New South Wales,
the Coalition has lost some country seats, but not to the Labor party. The
really significant fact is the rise of minor parties, especially the Shooters,
Fishers and Farmers in the bush, but also One Nation – especially in outer
metropolitan seats. Voters weren’t especially …

Reviews »

[23 Mar 2019 | No Comment | ]

Review 

Jim’s Book: The Surprising Story of Jim Penman, Australia’s Backyard Millionaire

By Catherine Moolenschot. Wiley, 284pp, $29.99

by ROSS FITZGERALD

The person who mows your lawn probably does a fine job, but is there a book in that? And who would imagine an enticing story behind the franchises of Jim’s Mowing, Jim’s Cleaning and Jim’s Fencing?

Subtitled The Surprising Story of Jim Penman, Australia’s Backyard Millionaire, this quirky, in-depth, warts-and-all book unravels the truthful tale of a bloke who built Australia’s largest home-service franchise.

Catherine Moolenschot explains how David J. (Jim) Penman, by ignoring conventional ­entrepreneurial …

Columns »

[8 Mar 2019 | No Comment | ]

There’s a great deal riding on Warringah

            ROSS FITZGERALD

It might be a little unfair to describe the announced departures of very senior Liberals Julie Bishop and Christopher Pyne as ‘rats leaving a sinking ship’, but they’d hardly be scurrying for the door if they thought their ministerial careers would continue. With only four Liberal cabinet ministers left from the Abbott government’s starting line-up (Morrison, Dutton, Hunt and Cormann), not only has there been a changing of the guard but there won’t be much leadership experience to draw on if, as expected, …

Reviews »

[23 Feb 2019 | No Comment | ]

Cavan Station: Its Early History, the Riley Legacy and the Murdoch Vision

By Nicola Crichton-Brown. HarperCollins, 232pp, $49.99 (HB)

Review by ROSS FITZGERALD

If anything is a reminder that Australia rode on the sheep’s back, it is Cavan Station. This massive sheep-run near the NSW town of Yass is the sort of pastoral property that helped shape our nation’s economic and social future.

Cavan Station, now owned by Rupert Murdoch — co-chairman of News Corporation, publisher of The Australian — has a special place in the history of the pastoral …

Uncategorised »

[18 Feb 2019 | No Comment | ]

Too-clever Shorten has given his political rivals a potential election-winning issue
by Ross Fitzgerald 
Bill Shorten was too clever by half last week, and in more ways than people have yet noticed. By giving doctors the right to order boatpeople to Australia for medical assessment, he’s watered down Australia’s tough border protection regime, made deaths at sea more likely and drawn attention to an issue that’s the Coalition’s strength and Labor’s weakness.
He’s put national security at risk just to win a vote on the floor of the federal parliament and embarrass the government. …

Columns »

[14 Feb 2019 | No Comment | ]

             ROSS FITZGERALD

The seat of Warringah, on Sydney’s northern beaches, has
never been marginal and has always been held for the conservative side of
politics. Nevertheless, it’s likely to be one of the most watched seats in the
coming federal campaign because the Labor Party, the Greens, and, it seems, a
handful of Liberals want to discredit the local MP, former PM Tony Abbott, by
driving him out of federal parliament.

  Late last year, the ‘Daily Telegraph’ reported union sources saying that they’d spend hundreds of …

Reviews »

[2 Feb 2019 | No Comment | ]

The Squatters

Barry Stone

Allen&Unwin

2019, pp. 245, $29.99

By ROSS FITZGERALD

It’s tricky writing about the European
settlement of Australia. One has to keep in mind the fact that the
successes of settlement were predicated on the damage inflicted on the
peoples who lived here first.

Barry Stone’s The Squatters is a fine piece of carefully
researched popular history. And there’s no doubt that the story of Australia’s
pastoral pioneers is fascinating.

Stone tells the epic tale of those mainly British settlers and
selectors who spread across Australia claiming land,
constructing windmills and fence-lines, dry-stone walls and storehouses,
livestock yards and droving routes, a number of which are still etched …