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Articles Archive for September 2013

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[28 Sep 2013 | No Comment | 438 views ]

TONY Hardy’s punchy biography of legendary Australian rules footballer Jack Dyer, published to mark his centenary, plays a bit fast and loose with reality. Right up front Hardy admits he has “invented some conversations, created minor characters and very occasionally shifted chronology” to produce “a mostly truthful telling” of the Richmond Football Club champion’s life story.
Indeed he confesses that one character who appears throughout the book, called “The Patient”, is invented. This is an extremely patient, always hoping, dyed-in-the-wool Richmond supporter whose ongoing obsessional nightmare is the hated rival club …

Columns »

[26 Sep 2013 | 3 Comments | 1,870 views ]

PORNOGRAPHY, non-violent erotica, blue movies, whatever you want to call it these days, doesn’t get the headlines that it once did. This is because the genre has mostly moved onto a different platform and is now largely beyond the reach of regulators.
Every now and then some feminists raise moral issues about certain types of ‘gonzo’ or radical material that transgresses ‘acceptable’ boundaries. But by and large, middle-class Australia appears to be negotiating explicit sex on the Internet without any moral outrage or evidence of actual harm.
In fact, the X-rated movie …

Columns »

[21 Sep 2013 | 2 Comments | 1,427 views ]

TWELVE months ago yesterday, my closest friend in Alcoholics Anonymous in Sydney – Stephen Clarke – died, aged 85.
His life was a testimony to the efficacy of AA in saving tens of thousands of men and women whose lives previously had been blighted by alcoholism. Hence the funeral for “Steve from Gordon”, as he was widely known, was attended by almost 200 people, most of them AA members he had inspired and helped through the decades.
Sober for 48 years, Steve touched the lives of so many people, not just in …

Reviews »

[17 Sep 2013 | No Comment | 825 views ]

Ross Fitzgerald reviews books on Bill Woodfull, Old Xaverians Football Club, Footy Town and Madeleine St John
Faced with reviewing four books it seems fitting that a cricket tragic should turn his attention first to Alan Gregory’s finely nuanced biography of former Australian cricket captain, Bill Woodfull.
Born William Maldon Woodfull in Maldon, Victoria in 1897 – the son of a Methodist country parson , he had a first-class batting average of 64.99, including 49 centuries.
However Woodfull is best known for being an extremely successful Test cricket captain (God knows we need …

Columns »

[17 Sep 2013 | One Comment | 998 views ]

THE election of a number of small party representatives in last week’s Senate election is both good and bad for Australian democracy.
A record number of registered parties and candidates ran for both houses of Parliament. As expected, the ALP, the Coalition and the Greens ran candidates in all lower house seats and in all jurisdictions for the Senate. They receive millions of dollars in public funding.
What was amazing was that for the first time we saw a new player contesting all seats – the Palmer United Party. Mr. Palmer, a …

Reviews »

[14 Sep 2013 | No Comment | 551 views ]

THIS self-published biography of the Tasmanian biologist who sired one of Australia’s greatest movie stars is a gem. With an excellent index and a revealing series of photographs, the thoroughly researched book is a credit to Hobart couple Vicki and Tony Harrison, who went down the self-publishing route after being unable to interest a commercial publisher.
Theodore Thomson Flynn was born in Coraki in northern NSW in 1883. He came from a modest background and at 15 started work as a pupil-teacher in country NSW. After completing his studies at the …

Columns »

[10 Sep 2013 | One Comment | 1,087 views ]

DESPITE the desperate spin that the campaign went quite well, the reality is that federal Labor is in turmoil and disarray.
In fact, the ALP post Kevin Rudd and Julia Gillard, desperately needs a straight shooter who can reinvigorate fundamental Labor values and move the party away from the highly damaging Greens-Labor alliance.
Neither Bill Shorten – who now seems tainted by his last-minute conversion to the Rudd camp – nor Bob Carr – who is stranded in the Senate – have these requisite qualities. Moreover the ALP populist ex Queensland premier …

Books »

[7 Sep 2013 | No Comment | 1,054 views ]
Australia's Game

IN the immediate aftermath of the Sydney Swans triumphing in an epic AFL grand final last year, pundits and punters alike asked if it was the best decider in the 115-year history of “our game”. Certainly, this far from fanatical Aussie rules follower, like many others, was transfixed by the late unfolding drama that day.
And with Sydney taking out the premiership by 10 points over Hawthorn, the emerald city was awash with red-and-white-clad supporters celebrating a memorable season, along with not a few out-of-the-woodwork hangers-on who will climb aboard the …

Columns »

[7 Sep 2013 | One Comment | 1,485 views ]

THERE may still exist some true believers, such as ALP tragic Bob Ellis, who predict a Labor victory, hoping against hope that Kevin Rudd will stand up tonight to repeat the lines of Labor’s great comeback kid Paul Keating and describe it as “the sweetest victory of all”.
Were he to pull off the unthinkable, after what arguably has been Labor’s worst federal election campaign, Rudd would deserve to be anointed as one of Labor’s immortals.
But if the polls are correct and (as I predicted early in the campaign) Tony Abbott …