1787: The Lost Chapters of Australia’s Beginnings
HARDIE GRANT, $29.99
In many history books, including some of my earlier works, the time before European settlement of Australia is often presented as a prefatory chapter that begins 50,000 years before the present. In such accounts it is only when the so-called “Dreamtime” finishes that a history proper is seen to begin.
As a result, a great slab of past human experience is, as Nick Brodie explains, “relegated to archaeology and hermetically sealed by the founding of a British colony”. But, as Brodie maintains, …
Malcolm Turnbull’s friends and supporters thought that once he was prime minister in his own right, all would be well. The dithering and the waffling would stop and he’d be the leader everyone hoped for when he seized the prime ministership from Tony Abbott.
Maybe the narrowest of wins has shattered Turnbull’s self-confidence. One Liberal campaign insider is now describing him to confidants as a “broken man”. Effective leaders learn from setbacks; they’re not overwhelmed by them. But, on the evidence so far, our country is in for three years …
Australia could learn a lot from the fact that a number of American cities are successfully reducing the role of criminalisation in their drug policies.
This is something that should be addressed at the Drug Summit in Sydney today.
This cross-party summit, to be held at Parliament House in Macquarie Street, will consider the context of the illicit drug policy and evaluate its efficacy. In particular, the summit will debate the merits of harm-minimisation and highlight new strategies to deal with the scourge of drug misuse and addiction.
Seattle and King County in …
There were three items for the first meeting of the new Turnbull cabinet: the cliff-hanger federal election, the response to Four Corners’ teenage detention revelations, and Kevin Rudd. And so the Coalition government has started as it seems doomed to continue: reacting badly to events and to other people’s agendas.
It’s increasingly obvious that Malcolm Turnbull’s desperation to be prime minister was not matched by any particular vision for the country. After deposing his predecessor, he spent nine months raising subjects before ruling them out; and the “economic plan” he referred …
‘Flagship’: The Cruiser HMAS Australia II and the Pacific War on Japan
By Mike Carlton
William Heinemann Australia, 642pp, $49.99 (HB)
Author and broadcaster Mike Carlton has a lifelong commitment to Australian naval history. ‘Flagship’ is his third book in a magnificent four-part series that began with ‘Cruiser’ (2011), continued with ‘First Victory’ (2014) and which will end with a final, so far untitled work that is yet to be completed.
‘Flagship’ deals with HMAS Australia II, a ship fast, spacious and modern by the standard of the times. It centres on the …
The tragic situation of Harriet Wran, daughter of the late NSW Labor premier, Neville Wran, recently received saturation media coverage. Spiralling problems with ice ended with Ms Wran pleading guilty to accessory after the fact of murder and robbery in company.
In the sentence hearings in court, Harriet Wran revealed the personal demons she has been fighting for many years. She will not be the last person to turn to alcohol and other drugs to get relief from personal demons only to find heaven in the short term and hell in …
Whole Wild World
According to Walkley Award-winning journalist Tom Dusevic, plying his trade is a demanding business, rather like bricklaying with a deadline. Dusevic usefully puts it thus: “Sentences are laid down like courses, one on top of the other, aiming for plumb on shaky ground.”
As those of us who have crafted a memoir know, conjuring up a sustained exploration of one’s past, including that of one’s parents and siblings, is an even more difficult task.
Set in suburban Sydney in the 1960s and 1970s, Dusevic’s memoir tries to …
You don’t politically execute prime ministers and not pay a price – as Julia Gillard, Kevin Rudd , and now Malcolm Turnbull have all discovered. There is not the slightest doubt that the drop in the Liberal National coalition’s primary vote and the spike in support for conservative micro-parties owes much to dismay at what the Liberal Party did to the person who had led them into government.
“He was elected by the people and should have been judged by the people,” was Tony Abbott’s lethal response to Rudd’s political …
The Man on the Twenty Dollar Notes: Flynn of the Inland
By Everald Compton
Xlibris, 247pp, $29.99
Decades ago, when I was a student at Melbourne High School, I was entranced by reading a battered biography of John Flynn, founder of the Royal Flying Doctor Service. First published in 1932, ‘Flynn of the Inland’ was written by that vastly underrated Australian writer, Ion Idriess.
Now, 84 years and eight books about him later, yet another biography of Flynn, who was born at Moliagul, central Victoria in 1880, has seen the light of day. Self-published …
Celebrity independents and a hostile crossbench are poised to stymie Malcolm Turnbull’s key election promises to cut company tax and restore the building industry watchdog if he wins today’s election, thwarting the Prime Minister’s intention of the double- dissolution election.
As voters abandon the major parties for independents, voting reforms appear unlikely to end the horsetrading and chaos in the Senate, which could cruel the Coalition’s chances of passing its centrepiece promises.
As Mr Turnbull used his last day of campaigning to call again for stability and a vote for the …
OPINION by ROSS FITZGERALD
As this federal election campaign grinds boringly to an end, more and more citizens are becoming alienated from the major parties. Is it any wonder that ordinary punters regard both the federal coalition and the ALP as being both a double disillusion and doubly dissolute?
So don’t be surprised if, after July 2, one or two minor parties are elected to the Senate in a number of states. And this despite the hypocrisy of the Greens (once a minor party themselves) having teamed up with the Turnbull government …