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Articles Archive for December 2009

Columns »

[28 Dec 2009 | 6 Comments | 8,719 views ]

WITH the rise of Kevin Rudd and Tony Abbott federally and Kristina Keneally in NSW, religion is re-encroaching on politics.
The biggest influence is in NSW. When Catholic World Youth Day descended on that state in July last year, many taxpayers resented being forced to pay $20 million in security charges for the event and $40m for the use of Randwick racecourse. The reason that atheists, agnostics, Jews, Muslims, Hindus, Anglicans and even a few Catholics were being forced to go along with this was essentially because then premier Morris …

Columns »

[19 Dec 2009 | No Comment | 3,070 views ]

TONY Abbott should not be underestimated. His direct approach to politics will have a powerful appeal to regional Australia. Abbott may have a Sydney seat in federal parliament but his greatest appeal may be outside NSW.
Too often much of Australia’s daily media coverage is Canberra-centric and political mood changes in states such as Queensland, Western Australia, South Australia and Tasmania are not likely to be detected in Canberra until a Newspoll or election result has highlighted them.
The reality is the new federal Opposition Leader’s direct, knockabout, open style will be …

Books, Featured »

[13 Dec 2009 | 64 Comments | 26,286 views ]

From his first drink at the age of fourteen Ross Fitzgerald has struggled with alcoholism. His story is one of despair, courage and hope – and living to see another day.
He writes about growing up in Melbourne, drinking his way through university in Australia and the US, being incarcerated and subjected to electric shock therapy and reaching rock bottom before being saved by Alcoholics Anonymous.

One of Australia’s most widely-published historians, his story is truly inspiring. Insightful and brutally honest, “My Name is Ross” is his account of life as an …

Reviews »

[13 Dec 2009 | One Comment | 3,635 views ]

At his best, Barry Dickens is very, very good.
One of my all-time favourite comic pieces is his account, when young, of selling Four’NTwenty Pies, just outside the urinal at the Aussie Rules football on a boiling hot Melbourne afternoon. As gnarled old men stumbled out of the toilet, a hot pie seemed just the right medicine to replace what had just been expelled.
Sadly, UNPARALLELED SORROW, Dickens’s memoir about finding his way back from depression, is nothing like the quality of some of his earlier writings. Why this is so is …

Speeches »

[13 Dec 2009 | One Comment | 7,770 views ]

Let me put some of my cards on the table. I turn 65 on Christmas Day. And if I survive until Australia Day 2010 I will have had no alcohol or other drugs in the last 40 years. This means I’ve had 40 more years on the planet than I otherwise would have had.
Like a lot of teenagers who are prone to addiction, I got into trouble with alcohol at an early age , in fact from my first drink of alcohol at age fourteen I drank in a manner …

Columns »

[12 Dec 2009 | No Comment | 1,358 views ]

THE immediate interpretation by much of the media of Tony Abbott’s first federal shadow ministry is that it is a turn to the Right for the Liberal Party and a return to some of the warhorses of the past. In some respects this is true.
But the first decisions by Abbott with respect to his personnel are more multi-layered than that.
In a much-needed move, Malcolm Turnbull, who in recent days has behaved like a petulant narcissist, has been replaced by the much more formidable Abbott.
But otherwise the opposition’s key leadership group …

Books, Featured »

[1 Dec 2009 | One Comment | 2,565 views ]
The Pope’s Battalions

More than half a century ago, the Catholic Church set out to take over Australian political life. The Church set up an underground organization to infiltrate political parties, to control their agenda, and to assume the leadership of their personnel. With church money, church facilities, and church authority, the organization had some noticeable successes. By 1952 it felt able to report that within a few years, Australian governments, federal and state, would be legislating its policies.
If this sounds shocking today, one should reflect that in a democracy it is legitimate …