Columns »

[1 Mar 2022 | No Comment | 47 views ]

by Ross Fitzgerald & Ian McFadyen
Ross Fitzgerald writes: 
One of my favourite stories concerns two Liberal Party politicians, both of whom were later knighted. One of them was arguably Australia’s most hopeless and devious prime minister, William (“Billy”) McMahon. He was in office from March 1971 until December 1972, when the coalition lost office to Labor under Gough Whitlam – who had famously described McMahon as “Tiberius with a telephone.” The second was James (“Jim”) Killen, who liked more than an odd beer on a hot day and who had served …

Reviews »

[19 Feb 2022 | No Comment | 29 views ]

Pillar of strength

 

MARGARET GUILFOYLE

by Anne Henderson

Connor Court, Politics

84pp, $19.95

Reviewed by ROSS FITZGERALD
    Dame Margaret Guilfoyle was a trailblazer whose influence is still felt in federal politics. Some may have forgotten how influential she really was and it’s worth noting that she mentored the current Treasurer, Josh Frydenberg.
  Dame Margaret, who died in Melbourne in 2020 aged 94, was a pioneer who came from the conservative side of the Australian political divide.
   Anne Henderson’s brief but satisfying biography points out that, among her many achievements, Margaret Guilfoyle was the first woman from any political …

Columns »

[9 Feb 2022 | No Comment | 36 views ]

by ROSS FITZGERALD
The ambush on Liberal Prime Minister Scott Morrison at his Canberra Press Club address last week was extraordinary. So too was the subsequent leaking of a damaging text message from Deputy PM and leader of the federal Nationals, Barnaby Joyce, who allegedly called Morrison a ‘hypocrite and a liar’.
The deputy Prime Minister’s attack on Morrison certainly added fuel to the fire, coming as it did from the second highest level of the federal Coalition government.
But as scathing as were Mr Joyce’s comments, they were nowhere near as damaging …

Columns »

[3 Feb 2022 | No Comment | 38 views ]

    The West is paying the price of constant appeasement
              ROSS FITZGERALD 
There’s a very clear reason why Ukraine is now exposed to a Russian invasion while other small countries, such as the Baltic states, that were once part of Russia are not. Ukraine is not part of NATO while Latvia, Lithuania and Estonia are.  
   Article 5 of the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation charter states that ‘an attack against one…of them…shall be considered an attack against all of them’ precipitating ‘the use of armed force to restore …

Columns »

[18 Jan 2022 | No Comment | 42 views ]

By ROSS FITZGERALD
Last time Scott Morrison faced a federal election, he pulled off a self-confessed “miracle” victory. That happened in 2019, but it may not happen again. This is because the Prime Minister faces a pincer movement from the left and the right. Also, the never-ending Covid saga finds him increasingly trapped between a rock and a very hard place.

The coming election will most likely turn on the public’s perception of who can best keep us safe. But regardless of its outcome, securing our personal health and safety is set …

Reviews »

[13 Jan 2022 | No Comment | 46 views ]

Stuart Macintyre
The Party – The Communist Party of Australia from heyday to reckoning
Allen & Unwin, $42.50, 512pp, ISBN: 9781760875183
reviewed by ROSS FITZGERALD 
    When I was a fifteen-year-old student at Melbourne High School, I tried to join the Communist Party of Australia. One afternoon after school in June 1959, outside the Bryant & May match factory in Richmond, I met a CPA organiser, who I later found was a leading operative, Rex Mortimer. Before our meeting, I’d had a few beers at the local pub.
   After listening for …

Books »

[30 Dec 2021 | No Comment | 43 views ]

The Sydney Morning Herald & The Age
FICTION PICK OF THE WEEK
The Lowest DepthsRoss Fitzgerald & Ian McFadyen, Hybrid, $24.99

reviewed by Cameron Woodhead
Riffing off The Lower Depths – the Maxim Gorky play about being down and out in Russia – the latest Grafton Everest novel sees our mock-hero on assignment in Moscow.
This time, Grafton’s breathless incompetence is required by the United Nations. His mission? To expose electoral fraud in Russia. He does have an ulterior motive – he’s found a decades-old letter from his mother to someone in the Soviet Union, suggesting that …

Reviews »

[30 Dec 2021 | No Comment | 37 views ]

 Ross Fitzgerald & Ian McFadyen, The Lowest Depths, Hybrid Publishers: Melbourne, $24.95.
Reviewed by Dr Alan Gregory
Graham Green’s term “An Entertainment”, probably best sums up this beautifully produced book.

The Lowest Depths is a very good read, with equal elements of a socio-politico farce and of a spy thriller, plus a touch of sci-fi!

As with its predecessor, The Dizzying Heights, this book featuring Dr Professor Grafton Everest is written by two Melbourne High School Old Boys – Ross Fitzgerald and Ian McFadyen.

Ross Fitzgerald AM is Emeritus Professor of History & Politics at Griffith University. …

Reviews »

[30 Dec 2021 | No Comment | 65 views ]

ROSS FITZGERALD
History Wars: The Peter Ryan – Manning Clark Controversy
by Doug Munro
ANU Press, 2021,193 pages, $55.  

Who doesn’t love a good literary stoush? But a controversy is even more intriguing if it touches on the History and Culture Wars of relatively recent times.
  The Australian historian Manning Clark (1915-1991) and his long-time publisher at Melbourne University Press, Peter Ryan (1923-2015) are both deceased. Some younger readers might be wondering who these two gents were. But an older demographic especially might like to read my take on what was, in the mid …

Columns »

[30 Dec 2021 | No Comment | 35 views ]

by ROSS FITZGERALD
Not long ago, federal Education Minister Alan Tudge wondered out loud whether today’s school kids would be willing to fight for a country they’d been taught not to believe in.

It’s a fair question: why would young people be willing to risk their lives for an Australia they’d been taught to believe was fundamentally illegitimate, had a sub-optimal culture and was helping to destroy the planet by exporting coal to the wider world?
Yet that’s the intellectual subtext for every course these days, given the national curriculum’s insistence that all …

Reviews »

[11 Dec 2021 | No Comment | 208 views ]

Cardinal George Pell: a man of sorrows

Sensationally, in April 2020, all seven judges of the High Court of Australia quashed Pell’s conviction.
Cardinal Pell, The Media Pile-On & Collective Guilt
By Gerard Henderson,
Connor Court Publishing
457pp, $39.95
Reviewed by ROSS FITZGERALD

The case of George Pell revealed deep fault lines in Australian society. Some people were convinced of his innocence, but many others wanted him to be guilty.

The trial, retrial, and conviction in December 2018 of Cardinal Pell for historical child sexual abuse of two choirboys at Melbourne’s St Patrick’s Cathedral that allegedly occurred in …