The Bandar Log

With Sex Party MP Fiona Patten

Christmas 2014

Ross, daughter Emerald and wife Lyndal

Best friend

Ross with a Sydney policehorse, Redfern, May 2015

Order of Australia

More details


Queen's Birthday 2014

Book launch

Australia‘s Game

Archibald 2013


With Gerry Adams


My dog Maddie


With Austen Tayshus


Book launch

Alan "The Red Fox" Reid

Book launch

My Name is Ross

Lyndal and Ross


Reviews »

[22 Aug 2015 | No Comment | 18 views ]

The Money Men: Australia’s 12 Most Notable Treasurers
By Chris Bowen
MUP, 472pp, $34.95
Many books have been written about Australian prime ministers but treasurers have not received the same attention — until now. This is strange because being treasurer is justifiably regarded as the country’s second most important job.
In The Money Men, Chris Bowen, who was treasurer for four months under Kevin Rudd and is now shadow treasurer, has written an honest and unbiased evaluation of occupants of the office. He demonstrates considerable sympathy for them, as well as understanding.
In the author’s …

Columns »

[22 Aug 2015 | No Comment | 14 views ]

Smoking rates are declining in Australia, but not in one community — our prison system. As well as being used for their mood-altering effects, tobacco and other drugs are also widely used as currency in our prisons.
As well as prisoners, other disadvantaged groups are overrepresented among smokers, in particular indigenous people, the mentally ill, and alcohol and drug-dependent people.
While most prisoners already have serious physical and mental health problems, in Australia 85 per cent of prisoners also smoke, even though at least half would like to stop, especially when released …

Columns »

[14 Aug 2015 | No Comment | 33 views ]

For the first time in 15 years, tonight Collingwood will head to the SCG to take on the Sydney Swans.
ANZ Stadium has run its course as an AFL venue for ­Sydney.
The fans don’t like it. The Swans — fresh from signing a 30-year deal with SCG Trust — have fallen out of love with a stadium at which Collingwood has regularly beaten the Swans.
That’s not to say ANZ Stadium hasn’t been a good thing for the promotion of Australian football.
The Swans’ use of the stadium has been an important part …

Reviews »

[8 Aug 2015 | No Comment | 31 views ]

Santamaria: A Most Unusual Man
By Gerard Henderson
The Miegunyah Press, 505pp, $59.99
As it happens, in early October 1997, accompanied by Brisbane-based film director Pat Laughren, I conducted what turned out to be the final film interview with leading Catholic activist BA (‘‘Bob’’) Santamaria, who was born in Brunswick on August 14, 1915, and died in Kew on February 25, 1998.
This interview, held at the headquarters of the National Civic Council in North Melbourne, was for a planned television documentary entitled ‘Stories from the Labor Split.’ In this lengthy interview, the person …

Columns »

[8 Aug 2015 | No Comment | 12 views ]

At the beginning of this year, if you stood up in the local pub and suggested the Abbott government would have a chance of winning the next election, you might well have been met with some raised eyebrows by punters before they went back to their game of pool or downed another beer.
Now, only months later, if you did that, many more people might say, “You’re probably right” and possibly even engage you in conversation. If the punter were a tradie, the talk might well turn to how they were …

Columns »

[7 Aug 2015 | 3 Comments | 41 views ]

It looks like the Central Queensland University – the official name of the university as constituted by the Queensland Parliament Central Queensland University Act 1998 – is up to its old tricks again.
Back in 2006, CQU students complained about being treated as “cash cows” and former Victorian premier John Cain agreed. He said the university’s Melbourne city campus did not have appropriate facilities for a tertiary institution. “The university is detached physically by some thousands of kilometres from its base, giving its name and blessing to the courses but the …

Reviews »

[25 Jul 2015 | No Comment | 11 views ]

By Nick Brodie
Hardie Grant, $29.95.
As Tasmania-based historian and archaeologist Nick Brodie traced his family tree back to some of the earliest white arrivals in the Antipodes, including transported felons, he also began to observe a pattern of European settlement in Australia.
As the intricate and interweaving lives of his extended family members, especially the Brodies, the O’Raffertys and the O’Keeffes, intersected with colonial and then post-Federation Australian history, Brodie managed to uncover a series of stories of hardship and travail, of revival and treasured memory, of individual hope, and of social, …

Columns »

[25 Jul 2015 | No Comment | 101 views ]

Article 18 is a section of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights signed by every member of the UN in 1948. Written just after World War II, it attempted to find a form of words that would help ease the traumas of global friction. Its terms are included in many treaties, declarations and bills of rights.
Attempting to deal with the belief and religious dimension of that friction, article 18 states: “Everyone has the right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion; this right includes freedom to change his (sic) religion …

Reviews »

[18 Jul 2015 | One Comment | 23 views ]

Secrets, Spies & Spotted Dogs
By Jane Eales
Middle Harbour Press, 292pp, $29.95
Jane Eales, who was born in London in April 1947, was 19 when she was told she was adopted. She was living in South Africa at the time and needed to produce her birth certificate in case of wishing to take up permanent residence. When she requested this document from her Jewish parents, who were then living in Salisbury, Southern Rhodesia (now Harare, Zimbabwe), they insisted on paying her airfare to fly her ‘‘home’’ for the weekend. That’s when she …

Columns »

[11 Jul 2015 | No Comment | 9 views ]

Review of The Bandar Log: A Labor Story of the 1950s
By Alan Reid
Edited by Ross Fitzgerald, Connor Court, $34.95.
Towards the end of The Bandar Log, Macker Kalley (“Machiavelli”), the fictional character resembling Alan Reid himself, muses on the role that jealousy plays as a “driving force” in history: “If Stalin hadn’t intrigued Trotsky out of the party he’d never have had supreme power … that simple act of jealousy changed the entire course of the Russian Revolution. And yet we persist with the myth that it is always impersonal …

Columns »

[11 Jul 2015 | No Comment | 25 views ]

The rise of the Labor Left — and its expected ascendancy to con­trolling Labor’s powerful national executive committee — could not come at a worse time for Bill Shorten.
The Opposition Leader is already feeling the heat internally from members of the Labor caucus who are embarrassed to go back to their communities and sell Labor’s weak — indeed, virtually non-existent — economic narrative.
Although the fallout from his appearance before the Royal Commission into Trade Union Governance and Corruption remains to be seen, Shorten certainly is feeling significant pressure in the …