• Lyndal, Ava and Ross
  • Lyndal, Emerald and Adrian with our grandchild, Ava
  • Ross's dog Maddie
  • Ross and Lyndal's 40th anniversary
  • Daughter Emerald with our grandchild Ava
  • Standing for the Senate in NSW with The Australian Sex Party
  • Ross becomes a member of The Order of Australia.
  • Ross with Gerry Adams, President of Sinn Féin.
    Ross with Gerry Adams, President of Sinn Féin.

Reviews »

[18 Feb 2017 | No Comment | 12 views ]

Nazis in our Midst: German-Australians, Internment and the Second World War
By David Henderson
Australia Scholarly Publishing, 197pp, $39.95
Any book with Nazis in the title is sure to receive attention, such is the fascination with the movement that personified evil in the 20th century. So it is that there will be considerable interest in the stories of former German-Australian internees and their families at the Tatura internment camp in rural Victoria, and in other Australian detention centres.
As La Trobe University academic David Henderson points out in ‘Nazis in our Midst’, the reality …

Columns »

[4 Feb 2017 | No Comment | 17 views ]

HISTORY
‘Last Words: The Hanging of Ronald Ryan’
Barry Dickins
Hardie Grant, $24.99
On Friday we marked one of our grimmest anniversaries – because it is 50 years since the last person in Australia was hanged. Ronald Ryan was the final victim of capital punishment in Australia and while some will say he was no victim, public opinion remains divided.
Ryan’s hanging has entered the bloodstream of literature. Who can forget Bruce Dawe’s chilling poem ‘A Victorian Hangman Tells His Love.’ In 1995 Barry Dickins’ play ‘Remember Ronald Ryan’ won the Louis Esson Prize for …

Reviews »

[28 Jan 2017 | No Comment | 12 views ]

Review
The Conscription Conflict and the Great War
Edited by Robin Archer, Joy Damousi, Murray Goot and Sean Scalmer
Monash University Publishing, 220pp, $34.95
In memorialising World War I the anti-war movements of the time have been somewhat overlooked. In all the sabre-rattling countries, efforts to prevent the outbreak of war were quickly overwhelmed. More’s the pity. But in Australia a movement to prevent the introduction of military conscription was surprisingly successful.
On October 28, 1916 and again on December 20, 1917 the federal government, led by the so-called “Little Digger” William Morris (“Billy”) Hughes, …

Columns »

[26 Jan 2017 | One Comment | 79 views ]

If Malcolm Turnbull had a plan, we would have seen it by now
ROSS FITZGERALD
Most people are bemused when I predict that Malcolm Turnbull won’t be prime minister by the end of the year. There’s no obvious alternative, they say; the Libs wouldn’t want to emulate Labor by yet again failing to allow a PM to complete a term, they mutter; a revolving door prime ministership is really bad for the country, they claim. And all of this is true. Still, it is likely that there will be a new prime …

Columns »

[16 Jan 2017 | One Comment | 62 views ]

It’s getting more expensive by the minute but is tertiary education worth the money?
It was actually in a better state when it was free. Secondary education in Australia is not doing well either but the situation with tertiary education is even worse and threatens the future standing and prosperity of the country.
With the exception of a few high-quality Australian universities, what often amounts to the criminal irrelevance of our massively expensive tertiary sector is something that urgently needs to be brought to light and, more importantly, remedied.
The parlous state of …

Columns »

[9 Jan 2017 | 2 Comments | 38 views ]

Recent education results should be ringing alarm bells throughout Australia.
Every three years the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) conducts standardised testing of the skills of 15-year-old school students from more than 70 countries. The tests – the Program for International Student Assessment (PISA) – focus on three areas: knowledge of and ability to use basics of science; maths; and what the program calls “reading”, formally known as comprehension in the days when Australian students received direct instruction in ability to use their own language.
The results of the …

Columns »

[3 Jan 2017 | 2 Comments | 68 views ]

As prime minister, Malcolm Turnbull knows he’s in trouble. Why else would he have said that polls don’t matter, when losing 30 polls in a row was his justification for knifing Tony Abbott? With the regicide genie well and truly out of the bottle, and with no polls won since the all-but-lost federal election, his colleagues won’t need another 24 bad polls to conclude that leadership change is needed.
What’s becoming blindingly obvious is that there’s no politically palatable way to cut spending – which is what Australia urgently needs.
Yet even …

Columns »

[28 Dec 2016 | One Comment | 147 views ]

The business of politics is a matter of the utmost seriousness for many Australians. As Paul Keating famously used to say, if you change the government you change the country. Yet, for the dedicated follower, the political game also provides experiences and entertainment akin to theatre.
A great source of fun is the observation of the speeches of leaders when an election result is known. Traditionally the winners promise to govern “for all Australians”. But what the ordinary punters receive is often something else again!
Occasionally, election night speeches provide unforgettable rhetoric. …

Reviews »

[28 Dec 2016 | No Comment | 18 views ]

Book Review
By Rama Gaind
‘Going Out Backwards: A Grafton Everest Adventure.’
By Ross Fitzgerald & Ian McFadyen, Hybrid Publishers, $26.95
Professor Dr Grafton Everest is said to be a ‘wonderful creation’. Depends on how you assimilate his tedious long-winded repartee.
This is not fact, but fiction: an incoherent academic accidently finds himself elected to the Australian Senate. What’s more, he has somehow ended up holding the balance of power. On top of it all, Australia is facing natural disaster from Tectonic Change.
It sounds like a familiar scenario, but Everest’s personal life does not …

Columns »

[27 Dec 2016 | One Comment | 36 views ]

Sometimes fiction is much more illuminating than fact. A case in point is a new novel by Michael Wilding, one of the stalwarts of Australian contemporary fiction. The Sydney writer’s ‘In the Valley of the Weed’, released this week, examines some key issues and implications of the move to decriminalise marijuana, a hot topic nowadays.
One of the leading characters of Wilding’s deeply subversive novel is Tim Vicars – an academic suspended because of his politically incorrect emails, who disappears. Then there’s Plant, the private detective hired to find him. Vicars’ …

Reviews »

[24 Dec 2016 | No Comment | 40 views ]

BOOKS OF THE YEAR FOR 2016.
By Professor Ross Fitzgerald
For me, the most important book of the year is a co-authored work published by the nimble Melbourne publisher, Hybrid. This finely researched and brilliantly written, hugely significant and thoroughly accessible scholarly work is by Australian Jewish writers Sam Lipski & Suzanne D. Rutland – “Let My People Go: The untold story of Australia and the Soviet Jews 1959-89.”
Two extremely revealing books about communism follow this fine work of and about Australian history and politics. The first fearless expose is Sheila …