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Articles Archive for December 2011

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[31 Dec 2011 | 4 Comments | 2,716 views ]

IN the new year, Julia Gillard and the poor standing of federal Labor will not be responsible for the defeat of Anna Bligh’s Labor government in Queensland.
The blunt reality is that Bligh’s government is one of the worst in Queensland history. Neither the Premier nor her government is up to the job. Its defeat will be primarily because of its incompetence. It is little wonder that eight key members of the Bligh team, including six former ministers, are retiring at the state election. They have simply given up on Bligh …

Reviews »

[24 Dec 2011 | No Comment | 1,243 views ]

WE pride ourselves on being the land of a fair go, a more egalitarian society than those of the old world of Europe and elsewhere.
But is this true? Peter Hartcher’s new book has something to say about all this and the subtitle contains a warning: ‘How Australia Made Its Own Luck , And Could Now Throw It All Away’.
After reading ‘The Sweet Spot’ I’m still unsure that we are or ever have been a land of liberty, equality and fraternity.
Also I am far from convinced by Hartcher’s championing of Adam Smith. In his 1776 work ‘An Inquiry into the Nature and …

Reviews »

[17 Dec 2011 | No Comment | 1,288 views ]

WHEN I was six, my teetotal father Bill Fitzgerald, who for years had played in the ruck for Collingwood seconds, took me to see the 1950 Caulfield Cup. It was my first day at the races.
After walking from our deeply suburban home in nearby East Brighton, we positioned ourselves on the cheapest part of the racecourse, known as the Flat. On Dad’s urging, I had two bob each way on the favourite, Grey Boots, with a gnarled old bookmaker who scribbled down some hieroglyphics that looked to me indecipherable.
Ridden by …

Columns »

[17 Dec 2011 | No Comment | 1,400 views ]

FEW events in politics work out precisely as expected. Some issues burn intensely, like a flare that lights up the sky but then fades quickly from view, with little to no ongoing impact on the political process.
The Coalition’s attempts to link then opposition leader Kevin Rudd to disgraced former Western Australia premier Brian Burke is an example of what could have been an all-consuming scandal that went nowhere.
The more dangerous issues usually start off slowly, often taking months or years to reach the perilous proportions of a political scandal.
Labor backbencher …

Reviews »

[3 Dec 2011 | No Comment | 2,072 views ]

TO a certain degree this lovingly one-sided book is an attempt to set the record straight as far as Sue Pieters-Hawke, the eldest daughter of Bob and Hazel Hawke, is concerned.
With that in mind I suppose it’s no surprise that neither Bob Hawke nor his second wife, Blanche d’Alpuget, were interviewed for the book; that no photograph of d’Alpuget appears; and that the final chapter is titled My Mother, My Hero.
This means this biography, written with the assistance of Hazel Flynn, is much closer to hagiography than to objective analysis …

Columns »

[3 Dec 2011 | One Comment | 1,530 views ]

IN a time of doom and gloom in the publishing world it’s uplifting to read about an era when publishing was exciting and the future was pregnant with possibilities.
Yet even then, books needed smart people willing to take a punt on talent.
In ‘Wild & Woolley: A Publishing Memoir’, the Sydney-based Michael Wilding recalls how he and Pat Woolley set up a small press in the 1970s to do just that. Wilding and Woolley knew that there was a lot of good writing around that wasn’t getting out. So get it …