Review of ‘The Compassionate Englishwoman: Emily Hobhouse in the Boer War’
By Robert Eales
Middle Harbour Press, 298pp, $29.95
IT was a terrible war with atrocities, war crimes and concentration camps but it had nothing to do with the Nazis. This was the Boer War, 1899-1902, and the camps were set up by the British, of whose empire Australia was an integral part. It was also a war that blooded Australians for the catastrophe to follow.
The British Army, led by the likes of Lord Horatio Kitchener of Khartoum fame, not only burned most …
BEFORE last year’s Victorian election I predicted in this newspaper that the Australian Sex Party’s Fiona Patten would win a seat in the Legislative Council. This occurred and the feisty Ms Patten is now one of those Upper House MPs who hold the balance of power.
With the Sex Party not standing in this month’s NSW election there is another minor party that deserves attention.
Formed nationally in 2013, the Voluntary Euthanasia Party (NSW) has endorsed Shayne Higson as its lead candidate for election to the NSW Legislative Council on March 28, …
Review of ‘Still a Pygmy’
By Isaac Bacirongo and Michael Nest
Finch Publishing, 234pp, $27.99
THIS is one of the most unusual and fascinating memoirs I have read in many years.
Written with the aid of Michael Nest, a freelance researcher with a PhD in African politics, ‘Still A Pygmy’ documents how Isaac Bacirongo — a BaTempo Pygmy from the forests of the Democratic Republic of the Congo — moved to Sydney with his wife Josephine and their 10 children.
The only member of his extended family to go to school and also for a …
Review of ‘The Cunning Man’
By Peter Stanley
Bobby Graham Publishers, 338pp, $29.95
HAVING enjoyed historian Peter Stanley’s many works of nonfiction, one turns to this historical novel with enthusiasm but also a degree of trepidation.
There’s little doubt Stanley is one of Australia’s leading military historians. ‘The Cunning Man’ was born of research for another project. It is squarely based on his detailed and painstaking doctoral research into the lives of European soldiers in early Victorian India. In 1998, Stanley’s PhD about the subject was published in a widely acclaimed book, ‘White Mutiny: …
IF the old saying of “follow the money” is any indication, this year will be a roller coaster for the medical marijuana movement.
Late last month, an Initial Public Offering for a company touted as “Australia’s first medical marijuana stock” was wildly oversubscribed and the issue price of 20c a share looked like a bargain as within days the stock headed towards $1.
Despite the prospectus going to considerable lengths to explain the highly speculative nature of the venture, there was little restraint. After opening at 20c, the stock soon reached 92c …
IN some ways it is not surprising that the new Opposition Leader in NSW, Luke Foley (who admits to twice having been found guilty of drink driving), has leapt on to the bandwagon by declaring “a war on ice” as one of his key policies for the state election on March 28.
Ice is indeed a nasty drug that lately has been catching the headlines, but it is important to understand that the drug causing most harm is alcohol.
This is why the trial legislation introduced in NSW in January last year …
Review of ‘Mateship: A Very Australian History’
By Nick Dyrenfurth
Scribe, 256pp, $29.99
NICK Dyrenfurth’s Mateship is the first significant exploration of what the author terms “our secular egalitarian creed” since Russel Ward’s path-breaking 1958 work ‘The Australian Legend.’
Many of the themes in Dyrenfurth’s well-produced book (though it unfortunately lacks an index) had been explored previously with fellow scholars at the Australian Society for the Study of Labour History. Moreover, as Dyrenfurth acknowledges, the early stages of this often provocative and insightful book benefited from his three-year postdoctoral fellowship, hosted by …
Review of ‘Paul Hasluck: A Life’
By Geoffrey Bolton
UWA Publishing, 492pp, $49.99
FOR 20 years, from 1949, when he won the newly created Perth-based seat of Curtin, Fremantle-born Paul Hasluck was one of Australia’s most prominent conservative federal politicians. Born into a Salvation Army family, Hasluck played a leading role in Aboriginal affairs and indigenous reform and also in helping prepare Papua New Guinea for independence.
After Liberal prime minister Robert Menzies in 1951 appointed him minister for territories, a position he held for 12 years, Hasluck (1905–93) was minister for external affairs …
IN the one-house 89-seat Queensland Parliament, Premier Campbell Newman’s Liberal-National Party holds 73 seats and the ALP a mere nine. This was after Labor won two by-elections to add to the abysmal seven seats it gained at the last state election in 2012.
Hence, despite considerable voter dissatisfaction with the conservative state government and with the federal Coalition, don’t be surprised if the LNP wins today’s Queensland election with more than a few seats to spare.
But even though he may have clawed back some ground, it is possible the autocratic Newman …