• 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.

Columns »

[16 Jan 2018 | No Comment | 12 views ]

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 | No Comment | 22 views ]

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 | No Comment | 13 views ]

Chifley, Labor and the Gink’s Revenge
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 | 41 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 | 20 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 …

Reviews »

[9 Dec 2017 | Comments Off on Monash and Chauvel: Australia’s greatest generals changed history | 29 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 | 61 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 …

Columns »

[21 Nov 2017 | Comments Off on Go Now, Mr Turnbull. Just Go | 50 views ]

Go Now, Mr Turnbull. Just Go
A prime minister who would rather not face the Parliament is a leader in terminal trouble. Let’s face it, PMs owe their position to their command of the party room and of the House of Representatives. But Malcolm Turnbull’s fear of both shows that his leadership has, at best, become a day-to-day proposition.
The government’s excuse for putting off the parliament just doesn’t wash. House leader Christopher Pyne says that all the parliament has to consider before Christmas is same sex marriage and …

Columns »

[21 Nov 2017 | Comments Off on The Light on the Hill and the Gink’s Revenge | 34 views ]

The Light on the Hill and the Gink’s Revenge
by Ross Fitzgerald
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 famed expression, “the light on the hill”. These words, both in the immediate post-Second World War Chifley years and ever since then in Labor circles, are intended to sum up the vision that supposedly energises and ennobles the ALP and its leaders as they strive for a fairer …

Columns »

[9 Nov 2017 | One Comment | 45 views ]

What a mess: and for once, it didn’t start with Malcolm Turnbull. The citizenship fiasco is a consequence of the Constitution, the High Court and politicians who assumed too much. But it’s now the Prime Minister’s responsibility to fix and, so far, he’s making a complete hash of it. Even a dud isn’t responsible for everything that goes wrong. But you can rely on a dud to further muck things up.
After floundering for weeks, Mr Turnbull has now announced a process of sorts …

Columns »

[6 Nov 2017 | 2 Comments | 24 views ]

Surely the revelation that the president of the Australian Senate, Stephen Parry, is ineligible to hold office will sound the death knell of this stumbling, embarrassing shambles we call the Australian government.
While former deputy prime minister Barnaby Joyce waits for the result of the December 2 New England by-election, the existence of the Coalition government rests with four independent members of the House of Representatives: Bob Katter, Cathy McGowan, Rebekha Sharkie and Andrew Wilkie. Each has pledged to support the Turnbull government on matters of supply and against no-confidence …