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[30 Jun 2020 | No Comment | 270 views ]

by Ross Fitzgerald
Founded in London in January 1884, with the aim of establishing a socialist society by peaceful means, the Fabian Society in Britain speedily evolved into the first modern-style think tank. It did much to craft the policies advocated by the British Labour Party, which was founded in London in February 1900.
The Fabian Society’s early success had its echoes in Australia.  Fabian societies sprang into life in several of our capital cities after the Labor Party first emerged as a force to be reckoned with at the state and federal level. …

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[29 Jun 2020 | No Comment | 276 views ]

Serious interest in the voting patterns of Eden-Monaro long predates next Saturday’s by-election. It goes back to the mid-1950s when the study of voting outcomes was starting to take off as a field of research in Australia.

In 1954 Professor Leicester Webb from the Australian National University in Canberra published a study of the failed 1951 referendum campaign to legalise the banning of the Communist Party. In the same year Webb’s colleague Joan Rydon together with Henry Mayer from Sydney University published a study of the …

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[10 Jun 2020 | No Comment | 628 views ]

From The Australian newspaper online, June 10, 2020. 
The great characters of the AA movement
Since it began, Alcoholics Anonymous has saved the lives of millions of people across the globe. That’s something worth celebrating today (June 10), which is Founders Day on the AA calendar. 
The inspirational story of AA began in 1935 when a newlysober New York stockbroker, Bill Wilson visited Akron, Ohio on a business trip. Afraid he might drink again, he decided to talk with another alcoholic.  The person he found wasa seemingly hopeless alcoholic  physician, Bob Smith. Afterlistening to Bill tell the story of his alcoholism he was so …

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[25 Mar 2020 | No Comment | 185 views ]

   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 | 138 views ]

 This cautionary tale of corruption and violence should be told again and again
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 | 108 views ]


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 | 1,452 views ]

Politicians must judge how much voters will sacrifice to achieve lower emissions.
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 | 115 views ]

From humble beginnings, Alcoholics Anonymous has saved millions of lives
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 | 102 views ]


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 | 93 views ]

Long after the fires are out we’re going to need these valuable Asian neighbours
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 | 74 views ]

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

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 …