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[25 Mar 2020 | No Comment | ]

   By Martin Hanson

Every few years around St Patrick’s Day, historian Ross Fitzgerald “reminds” everyone how the Communist MLA Fred Paterson was “bashed” that day in 1948 during a Brisbane street march.

Fitzgerald started out condemning Queensland’s Hanlon government as being of the awful, long-successful, right-wing Labor type. In 2007 he advanced to the allegation that a police officer may have bashed Paterson on the ­orders of premier Ned Hanlon. Now he links the event to the corruption that was exposed by the Fitzgerald Inquiry after 32 years of Liberal-Country Party …

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[16 Mar 2020 | No Comment | ]

 This cautionary tale of corruption and violence should be told again and again
by ROSS FITZGERALD
Tuesday is Saint Patrick’s Day, which is an occasion to celebrate — but it also marks one of the most infamous incidents in Australian political history.

On March 17, 1948, in Brisbane, Australia’s first and only Communist Party MP,  Frederick (“Fred”) Woolnough Paterson, was savagely bashed by a plainclothes ­policeman — almost certainly on the direct orders of authoritarian ALP premier Edward Michael (“Ned”) Hanlon.
This brutal attack occurred while Paterson was legally observing a march of striking …

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[19 Feb 2020 | No Comment | ]

by ROSS FITZGERALD

In ten years’ time, what will people say about the Morrison government? The Coalition’s deepest problem is not that the National Party has become a circus; it’s that the government itself has no major mission to carry it through the inevitable storms of parliamentary politics.
The Morrison government’s basic problem is actually the same one that characterised the Rudd-Gillard government. Apart from “more action” on climate change – which Kevin Rudd eventually squibbed and Julia Gillard turned into the electorally disastrous carbon tax – what was the point of …

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[7 Feb 2020 | No Comment | ]

Politicians must judge how much voters will sacrifice to achieve lower emissions.
ROSS FITZGERALD
In recent days, climate change policy has divided the Nationals as much as it divides the Liberals.

But the question “Do you believe in climate change?” is a curious one because it suggests that change in climate is not a matter of fact but a matter of faith.
The recent bushfire disasters in Australia have been taken by many to confirm that the climate is indeed changing and have prompted more urgent demands that the government do much more to …

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[27 Jan 2020 | No Comment | ]

From humble beginnings, Alcoholics Anonymous has saved millions of lives
by ROSS FITZGERALD
Yesterday, on Australia Day, I was sober for 50 years.

Since I stopped drinking and drugging on January 26, 1970, Alcoholics Anonymous has continued to teach me that for an alcoholic one drink is too many and 100 is not enough.
Indeed, the trick for an alcoholic like me is not to pick up the first drink, and to keep attending AA meetings.
The stark reality is if I hadn’t stopped drinking and drugging aged 25, I wouldn’t have made 26.
Yet had …

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[20 Jan 2020 | No Comment | ]

ROSS FITZGERALD

Joe Hockey didn’t get the credit he deserved as a reforming treasurer so it’s good that he’s being credited as an outstanding ambassador to the US.

At his farewell party in Washington there were glowing tributes from former prime minister Tony Abbott, White House chief of staff Mick Mulvaney, and Australian businessman Anthony Pratt. All said Hockey not only had done a fine job over 25 years of public life but was one of the most likeable and straightforward of people.
Australia has always appreciated that Washington is one of those …

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[7 Jan 2020 | No Comment | ]

Long after the fires are out we’re going to need these valuable Asian neighbours
ROSS FITZGERALD
It’s understandable that Scott Morrison cancelled his trip to India and Japan after the abuse he received over his holiday in Hawaii. But it’s an error of judgment. There’s a world of difference between an overseas holiday taken while most people are still working and when there’s a bushfire crisis, and, on the other hand, an official trip to deepen co-operation with two key regional partners. Provided the Prime Minister had fully announced the government’s response …

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[23 Dec 2019 | No Comment | ]

Prime Minister’s holiday — and honeymoon — are over
Scott Morrison and his government need to get busy on policy and performance

by ROSS FITZGERALD
Prime ministerial holidays are often contentious: where they go, who they stay with, what they cost and, most importantly, what they’re not doing while they’re away. After media intrusion had made his traditional family holiday at Hawks Nest almost impossible, from 1997 on John Howard just went on light duties from Kirribilli House. Given that you could hardly beat the setting, Scott Morrison would be well advised to …

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[9 Dec 2019 | No Comment | ]

by ROSS FITZGERALD
Winning a federal election the pundits thought he would lose makes Scott Morrison a first-rate politician. So far, though, he’s been much better at politics than policy. If he wants to be a first-rate prime minister, he’s going to need an agenda for government and it can’t just be modest tax cuts and prudent budget management. He has to tackle some of the big problems the country faces — and there’s none bigger than persistent drought.

Right now, the federal government is doing what it can to help struggling …

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[13 Nov 2019 | No Comment | ]

Where to now for Tony Abbott?
by ROSS FITZGERALD

Former prime minister Tony Abbott. Picture: AAP

    Tony Abbott’s colleagues ignominiously ended his prime ministership after just two years and his constituents humiliatingly ejected him from parliament with a 20 per cent swing; so why is the Liberal Party this week honouring his contribution to public life with a testimonial dinner even bigger than John Howard’s? Perhaps it’s because a politician who’s never lost is one who’s never really tried to make a difference.

READ MORE: Rock star reception for Abbott
Starting from his days …

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[13 Nov 2019 | No Comment | ]

The Useful and Much Abused Tony Abbott
by ROSS FITZGERALD

Tony Abbott’s colleagues ignominiously ended his prime ministership after just two years and his constituents humiliatingly ejected him from parliament with a 20 per cent swing. So why did the Liberal Party honour his contribution to public life with a testimonial dinner even bigger than John Howard’s? Perhaps it’s because a politician who’s never lost is one who’s never really tried to make a difference.
Starting from his days as a conservative student activist in the 1970s, Abbott has been one of those …