• 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.

Columns »

[17 Jun 2019 | No Comment | ]

The prolific and popular historian charts his own peripatetic past
BY ROSS FITZGERALD
Geoffrey Blainey’s long-awaited memoir, ‘Before I Forget’, is out ­tomorrow.

Blainey, one of Australia’s most popular, prolific and influential historians, was born in Melbourne on March 11, 1930. He was the second eldest of five children, born to a country schoolmistress and a Methodist minister who was an ardent teetotaller.
Much of Blainey’s relatively humble childhood was spent in country Victoria, ranging from Terang to Leongatha, Newtown (a suburb of Geelong near Corio Bay) to Ballarat, where he attended the local …

Columns »

[13 Jun 2019 | No Comment | ]

Libs must now lead
After the euphoria, where’s the dynamism?
ROSS FITZGERALD   
The euphoria is understandable. After trailing Labor in the polls throughout the last parliament, the Liberals can be forgiven a degree of triumphalism after their against-the-odds victory. But beware hubris. It was a narrow victory; and it could easily be different next time if the Liberals learn the wrong lessons from their win and Labor learns the right lessons from their loss.
Yes, the Liberals won because voters were alarmed at Labor’s soak-the-middle-class tax policies and Labor’s extreme climate policy. Average voters …

Reviews »

[9 Jun 2019 | No Comment | ]

Lofty: My Life in Short
By Ian Fulton, with Nicole Partridge.
HarperCollins, 343pp, $19.99

by ROSS FITZGERALD
His grandmother reckoned Ian “Lofty” Fulton should have just stayed at home and be locked away from the world.

But for better and worse Fulton, the Australian-based voice-over artist who was born with achondroplasia (a form of dwarfism) had other ideas. Despite suffering from a condition that results in the shortening of the arms and legs and enlargement of the skull, Fulton has flourished. And he grew to be taller than expected, reaching 142cm.
Born in Launceston, Tasmania, on …

Columns »

[30 May 2019 | No Comment | ]

The PM navigated a tricky path to election victory. Now he must turn his attention to nailing his agenda.
BY ROSS FITZGERALD
Scott Morrison’s “quiet Australians”, like Sir Robert Menzies’ “forgotten people” and John Howard’s “battlers”, were the key to the federal election win and are at the heart of the Liberals’ electoral success. These “quiet Australians” are the people who preferred a Liberal government that had rolled two elected PMs to a Labor Party that was promising to steal their savings, increase their rent, reduce the …

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, …