It’s a sad fact that most of the alcohol in Australia is drunk by a small percentage of problem drinkers.
According to a recent report of the Foundation for Alcohol Research and Education, a fifth of all Australian drinkers consume three-quarters of the grog. The heaviest-drinking 5 five per cent – about 1 million Australians – consume more than eight standard drinks of alcohol every day, and the proportion of alcohol being consumed by heavy drinkers is increasing.
The alcohol industry has known for a long time that consumption is very uneven …
Since his corporate-style takeover of the Liberal Party in September, Malcolm Turnbull has had a charmed run.
He’s doing well in the polls. Progressives in the media see him as one of their own and those on the Right regard him as better than the Labor alternative. Hence, up to now, there’s been little scrutiny of what his government says or does.
All the pundits agree that Turnbull’s rise has lifted the government’s fortunes ahead of the next federal election and it’s tempting to see this as proof that the Coalition is …
‘The Secret War: Spies, Codes and Guerrillas 1939-1945.’
By Max Hastings
HarperCollins Publishing London 2015
ISBN 10: 0007503741
RRP – $32.99
Reviewed by Ross Fitzgerald
While almost all historical narratives, including the recent account of the intertwined lives of John and Sunday Reed, are of necessity tentative and speculative, as Sir Max Hastings argues in his most recent book, ‘The Secret War’, “they become far more so when spies are involved”.
As Hastings explains, when chronicling battles, writers can relatively reliably record how many ships were sunk and aircraft shot down, how much ground was won …
GRAFTON TAKES A TUMBLE
GOING OUT BACKWARDS: A GRAFTON EVEREST ADVENTURE
By Ross Fitzgerald & Ian McFadyen
Hybrid Publishers 2015
RRP – $26.9 pb
Reviewed by Gerard Henderson
Barry Humphries has described Grafton Everest as “a wonderful creation” in the same ranks as Philip Roth’s Portnoy and Kingsley Amis’s Lucky Jim.
Dr Everest (for a doctor he is) makes a welcome return in ‘Going Out Backwards: A Grafton Everest Adventure.’ This is the fifth appearance by Professor (for a professor he also is) Grafton in print. On this occasion via the combined work of Ross Fitzgerald …
‘Mind Beyond Matter
By Gavin Rowland
Burdock Books, 349pp, $30
As a devout atheist I’ve always been puzzled about why people believe in God. At the same time many of my God-believing friends are equally puzzled that I don’t believe in a deity that influences personal lives and world events.
I’ve never been at all clear about the notion of God, and in ‘Mind Beyond Matter’ clarity is not Gavin Rowland’s strong point either, with his writing style tending towards the opaque. But perhaps this lack of clear expression is not all that surprising …
There were only six heroin overdose deaths in Australia in 1964. But by 1997, heroin overdose deaths in Australia had climbed to 1116. Just imagine the number of mothers and fathers, brothers and sisters who had suddenly lost a young loved one.
Australia’s first supervised injecting facility began operating in Sydney’s Kings Cross in 2001 in response to the epidemic of heroin overdose deaths in the 1990s.
One in 10 of all heroin overdose deaths in Australia occurred within a couple of kilometres of Kings Cross. So reducing the number of heroin …
Much has been said and written recently about Tony Abbott’s alleged failures of leadership as prime minister. Yes, there were mistakes but the commentariat’s obsession with them obscures a record of solid achievement.
In securing our borders, finalising free trade agreements with our major economic partners and repealing harmful taxes, he achieved what many thought was impossible.
He was mocked for promising to “shirt-front” Vladimir Putin, but no one else had really taken on the Russian despot — and, short of going to war, a robust dressing down is the strongest response …
Alcohol industry reliant on problem drinkers, say critics.
“PM”, ABC Radio National and ABC Local Radio, 20 January, 2016
TIM PALMER: The message to drink responsibly tags nearly every alcohol commercial. But research published today suggests that’s a fairly pointless message.
It shows that the majority of drinkers, as the liquor industry likes to point out, already do drink responsibly.
But that 20 per cent of Australian drinkers don’t, and they seem inured to the message – they consume three-quarters of all alcohol bought in Australia and that’s going up.
The heaviest drinkers of …
Last year my favourite Australian book was Michael Wilding’s ‘Wild Bleak Bohemia’, which shared the Non-Fiction Prize for the 2015 Prime Ministers Literary Awards — of which I was a judge.
Wilding’s finely written and scrupulously researched book deals with the life and work of the three most important writers in colonial Australia — Marcus Clarke, Adam Lindsay Gordon and Henry Kendall. As it happens, they are my favourite nineteenth century novelists and poets — and in that order.
C.T. Clarke, who worked for the publisher George Robertson, wrote about “The Sorrows …
Review of ‘Australia’s Second Chance: What Our History Tells Us about Our Future.’
HAMISH HAMILTON, $34.99
Australian politics can be confusing. We’d probably all agree on that. But it has been this way for a long time. In fact in 1913 even the Russian revolutionary leader Vladimir Lenin found it so. After federal Labor’s narrow defeat by the Liberal Party’s Joseph Cook, Lenin, watching from afar, was baffled.
“What sort of peculiar capitalist country is this, in which the workers’ representatives predominate in the Upper House and, till recently, did so …
For many years, even though it was a huge problem, Australia managed to ignore the epidemic of domestic violence. But since Rosie Batty was named 2015 Australian of the Year for placing domestic violence on the national agenda, it has been increasingly difficult to keep on ignoring this issue.
Yet in some areas, ignoring the pivotal role of alcohol in domestic violence remains a national blind spot. This is despite the fact that alcohol is to violence as water is to fish.
Admittedly, we would still experience some violence even if alcohol …