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Articles Archive for September 2009

Columns »

[26 Sep 2009 | No Comment | 1,255 views ]

ALTHOUGH Tony Abbott, a senior federal Liberal MP, says there are grounds for optimism about Aboriginal policy (Inquirer, September 5), it’s far too early to declare victory.
Still, there have been advances. Take Cape York, for example. Thanks to Noel Pearson, there are now at least some controls on alcohol in four indigenous communities. Also, the Queensland government is finally providing appropriate police numbers in Aboriginal communities and, thanks to a mix of carrot and stick, at least in Cape York more children are going to school.
But there’s still an enormous …

Columns »

[18 Sep 2009 | No Comment | 1,007 views ]

The increasingly shrill debate over the proposal to allow the parallel importation of books is the Australian chattering classes’ latest ideological battle.
Ever since the Rudd government’s Productivity Commission handed down a report that suggested lifting the current Parallel Importation Restriction (PIR), the literary cultural warriors have been manning the barricades to defend the protected Australian publishing industry.
The usual suspects: Tim Winton, Tom Keneally and other left-leaning authors have been loudly proclaiming that allowing normal competition to rule the local market would sound the death knell for Australian literature.
But the key …

Columns »

[12 Sep 2009 | No Comment | 1,756 views ]

A RECENT decision in the NSW Land and Environment Court means developers and investors in that state (and potentially the nation) now have no idea where they stand.
The decision of judge David Lloyd on August31 exposes land developers in NSW to crippling uncertainty.
Perhaps more worrying is the fact that the state Labor government and the planning minister in particular immediately signalled that they would not challenge the decision. The handling of this crucial planning matter highlights the weakness of the government, which does not appear to have the courage to …

Books »

[5 Sep 2009 | No Comment | 1,145 views ]

IN August 1806 the newly appointed governor of NSW, William Bligh – he of Mutiny on the Bounty fame – made a tour of the Hawkesbury district.
He found to his dismay that “a pernicious fondness for spiritous liquors was gaining ground, to the destruction of public morals and happiness”.
Bligh’s concerns were shared by his superiors in Britain, the local clergy and many industrious free settlers throughout the colony. Soon afterwards, Bligh introduced tough measures to address the problem, including a total ban on distilling.
The …

Columns »

[5 Sep 2009 | No Comment | 1,182 views ]

Alcohol abuse and misuse is increasing “exponentially”, with the number of young women indulging in binge drinking increasing by 200 per cent since 2000, the co-author of a new book on the role of alcohol in Australia warns.
Speaking at the launch of Under the Influence at Annandale Galleries, in Sydney’s inner west on Wednesday night, co-author Professor Ross Fitzgerald referred to a finding by NSW police commissioner Andrew Scipione that a violent city like Los Angeles has fewer alcohol-related assaults than Newcastle and Sydney.
“Faced with the reality that tens of …

Columns »

[3 Sep 2009 | No Comment | 1,118 views ]

THREE weeks ago I wondered if there was something wrong with the Canberra press gallery. Despite a growing list of problems in the programs for which she has been responsible, their infatuation with Julia Gillard seemed to know no bounds.
A remarkable demonstration of political acrobatics last week by the Deputy Prime Minister proved to be the straw that broke the camel’s back. First was the backdown on youth allowance, an admission that country kids can’t be expected to live at home while attending university. Then there was the duck-and-weave on …

Books, Speeches »

[2 Sep 2009 | No Comment | 2,896 views ]
Under the influence: speech

This evening I’d especially like to welcome Professor Gail Crossley from the Australian Catholic University, where I am proud to be a Professorial Fellow at the North Sydney campus.
As I was listening to the news of John Della Bosca’s resignation as Health Minister, yesterday I walked into South Sydney library to borrow my favourite P.G Wodehouse novel, ‘Love Among the Chickens’. As I stood in a queue, I overheard a young woman say to a friend, “I’ve just finished reading ‘Under The Influence’.
When her friend asked, “What’s it like? my …