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[7 Feb 2020 | No Comment | 1,438 views ]

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 | 109 views ]

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 | 98 views ]

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 | 89 views ]

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 | 70 views ]

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 | 92 views ]

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 | 122 views ]

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 | 81 views ]

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 …

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[10 Oct 2019 | No Comment | 103 views ]

Scott Morrison’s Lowy speech was of historical importance
by ROSS FITZGERALD
Scott Morrison’s recent speech to the Lowy Institute was the most important prime ministerial foreign policy announcement in some years. This is because it acknowledged – for the first time – that we are now living in an era of strategic competition between the United States and China.  Indeed the PM was quite open about living in a new world of great power rivalry. It was a long-overdue recognition of a basic reality that virtually the whole Australian establishment has hitherto chosen …

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[19 Sep 2019 | No Comment | 86 views ]

by ROSS FITZGERALD
Just now, the Morrison government still seems secure. Its narrow but decisive win has shattered an opposition that had thought it was coasting to victory. The Labor Party is about to begin a civil war between green-left ideologues and old-fashioned pragmatists that the ideologues are likely to win, at least in the short-term. Even so, governments are expected to tackle problems, not just to play politics and in a host of areas, the Morrison government confronts practical challenges that it shows little sign of fixing.
The government has no …

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[16 Aug 2019 | No Comment | 74 views ]

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 …