• 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.

Columns »

[23 Mar 2017 | No Comment | 11 views ]

With Malcolm Turnbull hanging on by a one-seat majority federally, the devastating result in the Western Australian state election leaves the Liberal/National Party coalition in power in only one mainland state in Australia.
The party jewel that the conservatives retain is a significant one, the government of the biggest, wealthiest and most powerful state, New South Wales.
Media reporting of the Liberal/National government there generally has been benign; memories of the debacle that characterised the previous Labor governments in NSW still represent fresh wounds in the memories of many …

Columns »

[2 Mar 2017 | No Comment | 48 views ]

The Prime Minister is driving away Liberals and conservatives in droves
Most of the media just don’t ‘get’ Tony Abbott. They think he’s critical of Malcolm Turnbull because he wants his old job back. But after all Abbott’s been through, why would he want, for a second, to have to again work closely with the likes of Julie Bishop and Scott Morrison?
Actually, Abbott is thinking of the future of the Liberal Party and the fate of the government in trying to alert his colleagues to their peril while it may …

Reviews »

[1 Mar 2017 | No Comment | 25 views ]

‘Way Beyond Satire’
by Rowan Dean
Wilkinson Publishing, 2016, 160 pages, $34.99
Reports of the death of satire have been grossly exaggerated. Indeed in an age when fact is much stranger and more preposterous than fiction, satire is still alive and has never seemed more pertinent. Despite this, some of my writer friends still contend that satire is deceased.
I do understand why some are saying this, because satire now seems to have been eclipsed by reality. Hence the timely title of Rowan Dean’s book ‘Way Beyond Satire’— a collection of satirical essays, which …

Speeches »

[22 Feb 2017 | No Comment | 57 views ]

‘Dying with Dignity: A No-Brainer.’
by Professor Ross Fitzgerald AM.
Speech to Dying with Dignity, New South Wales at Port Macquarie.
Tuesday 21 February 2017.
Ever since having seen my late mother suffer so much when all she wanted was to slip away peacefully, I have been a strong public advocate, for others and for myself, of Dying with Dignity.
After a long struggle in the 1990s with a series of hospital physicians, my mother, Edna Fitzgerald (nee Beecher) of 41 Charles Street, East Brighton, in suburban Melbourne, eventually died in her mid-80s.
A few years …

Reviews »

[18 Feb 2017 | No Comment | 19 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 | 24 views ]

‘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 | 15 views ]

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 | 93 views ]

If Malcolm Turnbull had a plan, we would have seen it by now
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 | 67 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 | 44 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 | 72 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 …