• Lyndal and Ross
  • Ross with Archibald Prize winning Australian artist John Olsen
    Ross with Archibald Prize winning Australian artist John Olsen
  • 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 »

[16 Feb 2018 | No Comment | 16 views ]

History
John Curtin’s War, Volume 1
John Edwards
Viking $49.99
Review by Ross Fitzgerald
People have different ideas about turning points in our history. I would argue that John Curtin’s leadership during the Pacific War was pivotal. Gallipoli is a legend, the Western Front is important and Federation in 1901 is crucial but, as with John Edwards in his most recent book, I think it’s the ALP’s John Curtin who really helped secure our future.
On October 7, 1941, a mere eight weeks before Japan launched its war in the Pacific, Curtin became Australia’s 14th …

Columns »

[8 Feb 2018 | No Comment | 27 views ]

To stay or go?
by ROSS FITZGERALD
Senator Lucy Gichuhi’s decision to sit with the Liberal Party is a small but important step militating against the fragmentation of centre-right politics. She’s obviously decided that she can achieve more as part of a government or potential government than as a lone or isolated voice crying in the wilderness. For Malcolm Turnbull, this is the sort of consolidation he’d like: a new MP that should make it slightly easier for him to get legislation through the Senate. The question, though, is how much unity …

Columns »

[22 Jan 2018 | Comments Off on Factions a test for Turnbull | 20 views ]

It’s an iron law of politics that disunity is death. If you can’t keep your own team together, you never win elections. The NSW Liberal Party is about to make decisions that should seal its fate at the next state and the next federal election.
On February 10, the Liberal Party’s state council will decide whether its rank-and-file members count or whether it will remain, in John Howard’s words, a “closed shop” where factional insiders make the key decisions. If the party doesn’t change, its members will continue to desert, …

Columns »

[16 Jan 2018 | Comments Off on Australia, we need to calm down and talk, OK? | 23 views ]

by ROSS FITZGERALD
Australia took some important but long delayed steps in 2017.
We recognised same sex marriage nationally, allowed Voluntary Assisted Dying and approved a trial of a Medically Supervised Injecting Centre in Victoria and approved – in principle – a trial of pill testing at a youth music event in the ACT.
These decisions all involved increasing personal autonomy and were supported by a majority of the community.
Some critics argued correctly that improving national economic policy could potentially benefit more people.
But for some members of …

Columns »

[16 Jan 2018 | Comments Off on After same-sex marriage, we might reconsider our position on drugs | 31 views ]

by ROSS FITZGERALD
As we well know, last November the Australian Bureau of Statistics announced that almost 80 per cent of Australian voters had taken part in a national survey regarding marriage equality, with almost 62 per cent indicating support. This paved the way for federal parliament to pass the historic same-sex marriage bill last month.
Last October, in an important advance for drug reform, Labor Premier Daniel Andrews announced the Victorian government had approved a trial of a medically supervised injecting centre in inner-city Richmond. This follows the successful establishment in …

Columns »

[8 Jan 2018 | Comments Off on Chifley, Labor and the Gink’s Revenge | 30 views ]

Chifley, Labor and the Gink’s Revenge
by ROSS FITZGERALD
A young and ardent Labor supporter, Wolfgang Stargardt set out to produce a volume of Ben Chifley’s speeches. He succeeded in that endeavour, but not before coming to understand the luminosity of that “light on the hill” which supposedly inspired the ALP was not all it was cracked up to be.
Mythologising in politics rarely survives intact when confronted with the results of sober historical research. A case in point, with strong political resonance, concerns Australian Labor Party leader Ben Chifley and his …

Columns »

[5 Jan 2018 | One Comment | 56 views ]

If one believes the punditry, Malcolm Turnbull had a strong finish to 2017 and goes into this year with the momentum needed to restore his government and even to beat Bill Shorten. The same insiders say Shorten’s missteps are starting to catch up with him and someone more popular could replace him.
To predict that such fundamental changes will occur in 2018 makes a good story, but political punditry is rarely how things turn out. It’s possible Turnbull may finally discover how to unite his party and to keep power …

Columns »

[18 Dec 2017 | Comments Off on By-election victory still sends a message | 24 views ]

Bennelong was hardly a normal by-election. In most by-elections, the sitting member has decamped for a cushy job outside the parliament, which is why voters normally punish the incumbent party with a swing in the order of 5 per cent. This time, the sitting member was running again so Bennelong was more along the lines of a general election, only in just one seat.
Still, Malcolm Turnbull will ­believe that, like the earlier New ­England result, this victory is a vindication, and that nothing much needs to change. So there’ll be …

Columns »

[15 Dec 2017 | Comments Off on Eminent Australians join the push for republic | 16 views ]

The Australian Republic Movement will today announce establishment of a high-level advisory panel, comprising a diverse group from politics, business, academia, media and the law.
The group of eminent republicans includes former parliamentarians from across the political divide: Labor leader Kim Beazley, Victorian premier Steve Bracks, Nationals leader Tim Fischer and Liberal Senate leader Robert Hill.
The Australian Republic Advisory Panel will act as patrons for the republican cause, provide guidance on legal and constitutional issues and advise on campaign strategy and tactics.
The other appointments are: book publisher Louise …

Reviews »

[9 Dec 2017 | Comments Off on Monash and Chauvel: Australia’s greatest generals changed history | 40 views ]

‘Monash and Chauvel: How Australia’s Two Greatest Generals Changed the Course of World History’
By Roland Perry
Allen & Unwin, 567pp, $34.99
The legend of Gallipoli may never be eclipsed but recent celebrations have accentuated the heroes of the Western Front and the Middle East. The gallantry and sacrifice of our Diggers is legendary but we should also honour two of World War I’s most outstanding field commanders, both Australians: John Monash and Harry Chauvel.
In this fine book about the two Aussie generals, Roland Perry cogently argues that the Anzacs’ experience at Gallipoli …

Columns »

[4 Dec 2017 | 2 Comments | 77 views ]

Ross Fitzgerald
After the euphoria of Saturday night’s big win for Barnaby Joyce comes today’s Newspoll and, with it, once more, Malcolm Turnbull is back to a zombie prime ministership. To succeed, Turnbull needs big policy changes and big personnel changes that, temperamentally, he just can’t deliver.
More fundamentally, he’s doomed by his history. In a democracy, the top job is the gift of the people, not the politicians, and you can’t seize the job from the people’s choice and expect to overcome that dishonour.
Paul Keating just got away with politically …