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[16 Aug 2019 | No Comment | ]

by ROSS FITZGERALD
Australians’ greatest resource is not what’s under the ground but what’s between our ears. That’s so obvious when you think about it. The trouble is we rarely do. We endlessly ponder the challenges to our prosperity and security but take our education systems largely for granted. This even though a good grounding in the core culture, a sound grasp of the “three Rs”, and an unquenchable intellectual curiosity are the essential pre-requisites for our future well-being. If we are to continue to flourish, Australians must be at least …

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[17 Jun 2019 | No Comment | ]

The prolific and popular historian charts his own peripatetic past
BY ROSS FITZGERALD
Geoffrey Blainey’s long-awaited memoir, ‘Before I Forget’, is out ­tomorrow.

Blainey, one of Australia’s most popular, prolific and influential historians, was born in Melbourne on March 11, 1930. He was the second eldest of five children, born to a country schoolmistress and a Methodist minister who was an ardent teetotaller.
Much of Blainey’s relatively humble childhood was spent in country Victoria, ranging from Terang to Leongatha, Newtown (a suburb of Geelong near Corio Bay) to Ballarat, where he attended the local …

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[13 Jun 2019 | No Comment | ]

Libs must now lead
After the euphoria, where’s the dynamism?
ROSS FITZGERALD   
The euphoria is understandable. After trailing Labor in the polls throughout the last parliament, the Liberals can be forgiven a degree of triumphalism after their against-the-odds victory. But beware hubris. It was a narrow victory; and it could easily be different next time if the Liberals learn the wrong lessons from their win and Labor learns the right lessons from their loss.
Yes, the Liberals won because voters were alarmed at Labor’s soak-the-middle-class tax policies and Labor’s extreme climate policy. Average voters …

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[30 May 2019 | No Comment | ]

The PM navigated a tricky path to election victory. Now he must turn his attention to nailing his agenda.
BY ROSS FITZGERALD
Scott Morrison’s “quiet Australians”, like Sir Robert Menzies’ “forgotten people” and John Howard’s “battlers”, were the key to the federal election win and are at the heart of the Liberals’ electoral success. These “quiet Australians” are the people who preferred a Liberal government that had rolled two elected PMs to a Labor Party that was promising to steal their savings, increase their rent, reduce the …

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[17 May 2019 | No Comment | ]

by ROSS FITZGERALD

It’s depressing isn’t it?

Whatever the result of this election, Australia’s dismal decade of mediocre-to-poor government is likely to continue. Our economy is stagnating and our strategic environment is deteriorating. Yet none of what’s being offered by either side will make it significantly better and much will make it seriously worse. We have to have a government after tomorrow, and by a fair margin the Coalition one is preferable to the Labor alternative, but neither outcome will arrest what is becoming a period of long-term drift and decline.

By the …

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[29 Apr 2019 | No Comment | ]

by ROSS FITZGERALD

There’s much more at stake in Warringah than the future of a former prime minister

The battle for Warringah, normally a safe seat in northern Sydney, has become a struggle for the soul of the Liberal Party and a test of whether conservative politics can survive in modern Australia.

As anyone visiting Manly Beach on a Sunday morning or driving through Spit Road in the morning peak would know, GetUp, unions and former Labor operatives have blitzed the electorate, with hundreds of activists. The question is whether former Liberal …

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[28 Mar 2019 | No Comment | ]

But beware of Turnbull

But beware of Turnbull

            
By ROSS FITZGERALD

The return of the
Berejiklian government demonstrates that good governments can win a third
term, despite self-inflicted wounds. That will buoy the Morrison government,
even though it remains a long shot to win the federal election in under two
months’ time.

In New South Wales,
the Coalition has lost some country seats, but not to the Labor party. The
really significant fact is the rise of minor parties, especially the Shooters,
Fishers and Farmers in the bush, but also One Nation – especially in outer
metropolitan seats. Voters weren’t especially …

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[8 Mar 2019 | No Comment | ]

There’s a great deal riding on Warringah

            ROSS FITZGERALD

It might be a little unfair to describe the announced departures of very senior Liberals Julie Bishop and Christopher Pyne as ‘rats leaving a sinking ship’, but they’d hardly be scurrying for the door if they thought their ministerial careers would continue. With only four Liberal cabinet ministers left from the Abbott government’s starting line-up (Morrison, Dutton, Hunt and Cormann), not only has there been a changing of the guard but there won’t be much leadership experience to draw on if, as expected, …

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[14 Feb 2019 | No Comment | ]

             ROSS FITZGERALD

The seat of Warringah, on Sydney’s northern beaches, has
never been marginal and has always been held for the conservative side of
politics. Nevertheless, it’s likely to be one of the most watched seats in the
coming federal campaign because the Labor Party, the Greens, and, it seems, a
handful of Liberals want to discredit the local MP, former PM Tony Abbott, by
driving him out of federal parliament.

  Late last year, the ‘Daily Telegraph’ reported union sources saying that they’d spend hundreds of …

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[22 Dec 2018 | No Comment | ]

ROSS FITZGERALD, emeritus professor and author.
Fiona ­Patten’s ‘Sex, Drugs and the Electoral Roll’ (Allen & Unwin) is the most provocative memoir yet written by a sitting member of an Australian parliament.
The book opens with Patten’s maiden speech in the Victorian Legislative Council in February 2015, where she declared: “I may be the first former sex worker to be elected to a parliament anywhere in this country.” And then, after a short pause: “However, I am sure the clients of sex workers have been elected in far greater numbers before …

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[16 Dec 2018 | No Comment | ]

Ross Fitzgerald is the author of 40 books, most recently ‘So Far, So Good’, co-written with Antony Funnell and published by Hybrid.
THE KING JAMES VERSION OF THE BIBLE
While attending St Mark’s Anglican Church in Brighton in Melbourne in the 1950s, I started reading ‘The King James Version of the Bible.’ This inspiring translation had a huge impact on my appreciation of the wonders of the English language and the possibilities of reading and writing about history. Although I have been a devout atheist for decades, reading the King James Bible …