The Sydney Papers Online 7th July 2015
THE BANDAR-LOG : A LABOR STORY OF THE 1950s
by Ross Fitzgerald
Australian Canberra Press Gallery journalist Alan Reid was both a player and an observer of the great Labor split of the 1950s. From his experience, he not only came to a very dark view of political players on all sides but also wrote a novel – The Bandar-Log – depicting the machinations of both key and peripheral participants in the drama that rent the ALP. Reid’s novel remained unpublished after a court case against …
Reflecting on his incumbency, former American President George W. Bush has made clear that he has learnt that “shock and awe” is not a good recipe for waging war or running government. Many Australian voters, it would appear, are also learning this lesson.
Although Labor leader Bill Shorten is currently on the ropes, polls show that the two-party vote, unlike in 2013, is neck and neck. Rather than “shock and awe”, these days voters are looking for more thoughtful government.
The wider electorate has little confidence in the current crop of …
The people who run universities bang on about excellence but the fact is university standards are plummeting. And it’s a national disgrace.
This is connected to the fact an increasing number of students, from Australia and overseas, are functionally illiterate in terms of their use and understanding of English. This is exacerbated by the fact that, once they are accepted for tertiary study, students are no longer required to think for themselves and often have no passion for the subjects they are studying. Add to this the fact there are far …
Alan Reid (1914-1987)
Alan Reid was one of the most influential political journalists in 20th century Australia. Working for most of his long career as Canberra correspondent for Sydney’s Daily Telegraph, he not only reported key events in Australian politics, but also from time to time actively participated in them.
As far as can be ascertained, Reid’s roman a clef about the 1950s Labor Split, The Bandar-Log, holds the dubious title of being the only Australian novel legally judged defamatory without having been published.
As myself and Stephen Holt point out in …
Review of ‘Joh for PM’
By Paul Davey
Newsouth Books, $29.99
As well as being a former journalist, for many years Paul Davey was a senior staffer for the National Party of Australia at state and federal levels. In particular, he was the National Party’s federal director during the tumultuous time of controversial Queensland premier Johannes “Joh” Bjelke-Petersen’s brief and spectacularly unsuccessful tilt at the highest office in the land.
Hence ‘Joh for PM’ is marketed as an insider’s story – of what is indisputably an extraordinary Australian political and parliamentary melodrama. Whether …
The reality is that, in recent years, no political party in Australia has won a federal election without the backing of small business. It is also true that a disunited government is extremely unlikely to be returned to office.
Led by the Small Business Minister Bruce Billson, the Abbott Government’s comprehensive small business package is proving to be an important vote winner which is now giving the Coalition the best possible shot at winning the next federal election.
It also shows the power of positive teamwork. As Billson, Abbott, Joe Hockey and …
‘Australia’s Boldest Experiment: War and Reconstruction in the 1940s’.
By Stuart Macintyre
NewSouth, 596pp, $34.99
Stuart Macintyre’s latest book examines the vast reconstruction and nation-building project in Australia after the end of World War II and throughout almost all of the 1940s.
‘Australia’s Boldest Experiment’ is dedicated to the historian’s wife, Martha — also an esteemed academic — who was born early on August 16, 1945. Martha’s mother, born the year the Great War ended, went into labour as the news broke in Australia late in the morning of August 15, 1945, that World …
Over the past couple of months we’ve seen two of Australia’s most established minor political parties deregistered by the Australian Electoral Commission. First there was the Australian Democrats and then the Democratic Labor Party.
Like many people I was quite surprised to hear that neither of these parties had a minimum of 500 members – this being the magical number that the Electoral Act defines as indicative of enough public support to register a party. But when it was announced that one of the rising stars in the political firmament, …
Who suffers most from drug prohibition? The conventional wisdom is that Western countries pay a very high price for illicit drugs originating from and transiting through some developing countries. But the truth is the highest price for our failed “war on drugs” is paid by those relatively few countries where the drugs are produced or through which they move.
This perspective was usefully analysed in a recent report from the United Nations Development Program, headed by former New Zealand prime minister Helen Clark. Entitled “Perspectives on the Development Dimensions of Drug …
As elsewhere in the West, the churches here have long been fighting a rearguard action to maintain their dominance and hegemony. But this is no easy task with an ever-growing list of clerical retreats and regroupings in response to an increasingly secular but nonetheless conservative Australia.
The Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse is making clear that the right of churches to operate above the secular law is no longer acceptable.
For decades, abortion law reform has liberated women from backstreet abortionists. Contraception and sex education are now …
Review of ‘Operation Chowhound: The Most Risky, Most Glorious, US Bomber Mission of WWII.’
By Stephen Dando-Collins
St Martin’s Press, 272pp, $32.99
The Berlin airlift of 1948-49 has become world famous. Yet three years earlier, in the dying days of World War II, a remarkable airborne operation took place over Nazi-occupied Holland. This involved, in late April and early May 1945, low-flying American and British heavy bombers dropping desperately needed food to Dutch civilians, many of whom were dying of hunger. Across 10 days, more than 10,000 tonnes of food was delivered. Most …