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Articles Archive for February 2016

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[28 Feb 2016 | No Comment | ]

IT is hard to imagine life without the Adelaide Crows. They have become part of our social fabric, part of our identity. We have to remind ourselves they haven’t always been here.
In a new book, I have written what amounts to a potted history of the club — and the exercise became a reminder of so much that is good about the Crows and sport. In an interview for my chapter, Crows champion Mark Ricciuto said something quite remarkable.
I’ll get back to that but, first, remember the upheaval at the …

Books »

[27 Feb 2016 | One Comment | ]

He is as tough a man as ever played the modern game; but skilful, too. He has hurt opponents on and off the field. He played 312 AFL games, all with the Crows, and won a Brownlow medal. He is an eight-time all-Australian (twice named captain) and he captained Adelaide. One year he cried from the sidelines as his teammates won a grand final and the next he returned to hold the premiership cup. When the AFL allows cloning, the Adelaide Football Club’s first draft pick will be Mark Ricciuto’s …

Columns »

[27 Feb 2016 | No Comment | ]

Show us some backbone, PM, or lose marginal seats
Malcolm Turnbull has had a scrappy few months. While some boosters in the media still are willing him to succeed, the lustre is wearing off and the disappointment certainly is starting to show.
The basic problem is that Turnbull had a plan to become Prime Minister but no plan for running a government.
He’s talked a lot about “agility and “due process, but in almost six months his government has done nothing of substance. Turnbull may be Prime Minister but, to all intents and …

Columns »

[26 Feb 2016 | 2 Comments | ]

The changes to Senate voting proposed by Malcolm Turnbull and backed by the Greens and Nick Xenophon, represent unprecedented government interference in the Australian democratic system.
For all the talk about voters having to mark six boxes above the line on the ballot paper, the new laws will still allow a mark in one box above the line to stand as a legitimate vote. So let’s not kid ourselves that this is somehow a voting system that is in any way inclusive of small parties.
For Turnbull, this legislation is an admission …

Books »

[13 Feb 2016 | No Comment | ]

The Charles Family’s War
By Alan Fewster
Big Sky Publishing, 228pp, $29.99
When former journalist and diplomat Alan Fewster found a treasure trove of letters after the death of one of his uncles, he knew he had a book on his hands. Mind you, this intriguing and multi-layered tale of Australian twin brothers during World War II has had a long gestation.
It was in 1987, following the death of his uncle Edwin “Ted Charles, that the author came across a cardboard box containing the hundreds of letters that form the basis of this …

Columns »

[13 Feb 2016 | No Comment | ]

As well as being Valentine’s Day and the showing in Sydney of Tropfest, the world’s biggest short-film festival, Sunday marks the 50th anniversary of the adoption of decimal currency in Australia.
But less famously, February 14 is the centenary of one of the most disgraceful events in Australian military history.
During World War I, there was a strong push by the anti-liquor movement and the Women’s Christian Temperance Union to limit alcohol consumption in Australia. This was because male drunkenness was seen to be the root cause of many social problems, including …

Roundup »

[11 Feb 2016 | No Comment | ]

Telstra last night was dealing with a new crisis with some of its broadband users unable to access hundreds of websites most of yesterday. Businesses were among those hit, in some cases unable to access mail and with their hosted websites inaccessible to customers.
Not all websites were affected. But users were complaining that websites hosted by Bluehost, HostGator and Hostmonster would not load in the browsers of some Telstra broadband users.
The outage appeared to have gone on all day yesterday in what was a separate incident to Tuesday’s massive mobile …

Columns »

[8 Feb 2016 | No Comment | ]

It’s a sad fact that most of the alcohol in Australia is drunk by a small percentage of problem drinkers.
According to a recent report of the Foundation for Alcohol Research and Education, a fifth of all Australian drinkers consume three-quarters of the grog. The heaviest-drinking 5 five per cent , about 1 million Australians , consume more than eight standard drinks of alcohol every day, and the proportion of alcohol being consumed by heavy drinkers is increasing.
The alcohol industry has known for a long time that consumption is very uneven …

Columns »

[6 Feb 2016 | One Comment | ]

Since his corporate-style takeover of the Liberal Party in September, Malcolm Turnbull has had a charmed run.
He’s doing well in the polls. Progressives in the media see him as one of their own and those on the Right regard him as better than the Labor alternative. Hence, up to now, there’s been little scrutiny of what his government says or does.
All the pundits agree that Turnbull’s rise has lifted the government’s fortunes ahead of the next federal election and it’s tempting to see this as proof that the Coalition is …

Reviews »

[2 Feb 2016 | No Comment | ]

‘The Secret War: Spies, Codes and Guerrillas 1939-1945.’
By Max Hastings
HarperCollins Publishing London 2015
ISBN: 9780007503742
ISBN 10: 0007503741
RRP , $32.99
Reviewed by Ross Fitzgerald
While almost all historical narratives, including the recent account of the intertwined lives of John and Sunday Reed, are of necessity tentative and speculative, as Sir Max Hastings argues in his most recent book, ‘The Secret War’, “they become far more so when spies are involved.
As Hastings explains, when chronicling battles, writers can relatively reliably record how many ships were sunk and aircraft shot down, how much ground was won …

Reviews »

[2 Feb 2016 | No Comment | ]

GRAFTON TAKES A TUMBLE
GOING OUT BACKWARDS: A GRAFTON EVEREST ADVENTURE
By Ross Fitzgerald & Ian McFadyen
Hybrid Publishers 2015
ISBN: 9781925272109
RRP , $26.9 pb
Reviewed by Gerard Henderson
Barry Humphries has described Grafton Everest as “a wonderful creation in the same ranks as Philip Roth’s Portnoy and Kingsley Amis’s Lucky Jim.
Dr Everest (for a doctor he is) makes a welcome return in ‘Going Out Backwards: A Grafton Everest Adventure.’ This is the fifth appearance by Professor (for a professor he also is) Grafton in print. On this occasion via the combined work of Ross Fitzgerald …