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Articles Archive for January 2010

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[30 Jan 2010 | One Comment | 1,966 views ]
Reflections through a sober eye

HERE I am, stretched out straight and still, enclosed in a tunnel, having an MRI brain scan at St Vincent’s Hospital in Sydney to find out why I’m bleeding from the brain in four places.
The only way I can survive the 25-minute claustrophobic ordeal is to wear a sleeping mask and recite, like a mantra, the Serenity Prayer: “God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, courage to change the things I can, and wisdom to know the difference.”
My situation brings back deeply buried memories of …

Books »

[30 Jan 2010 | One Comment | 1,887 views ]
The struggle to be sober

MANY great writers were alcoholics. F. Scott Fitzgerald, Ernest Hemingway, Dorothy Parker, James Joyce and Henry Lawson are but a few from a very long list. Shakespeare’s drinking habits are not known, but several of his most memorable characters put away plenty of grog. The Porter in Macbeth, severely hungover, pronounces to his aristocratic betters that drink is a great provoker of three things . . . nosepainting, sleep and urine.
For Ross Fitzgerald, those three afflictions must have seemed relatively trivial. Starting at the age of 15, he drank for …

Books »

[30 Jan 2010 | Comments Off on Personal pain of demons and drink | 1,073 views ]
Personal pain of demons and drink

IT would be easy to fill every shelf in a bookshop with books published on, for, about and by alcoholics. A quick search online reveals thousands of books on alcoholism, from self-help to the confessional, and everything in between.
Australia is a nation whose identity, for better or worse, rests squarely on the consumption of alcohol. It is part of our social fabric and always has been. Captain James Cook took beer with him on the Endeavour and the first settlers brought beer with them in 1788. Our first prime minister …

Columns »

[23 Jan 2010 | Comments Off on X marks the rot as we go the way of China and Iran | 1,436 views ]

X marks the rot as we go the way of China and Iran

THE last couple of months have seen a tsunami of censorship wash over Australia. Once we were a nation where the freedom of non-violent ideas and speech was guaranteed but now we are sadly approaching China and Iran, as one of the worst nanny states in the world.

Last month a Sydney man became the first person in Australia to be jailed for selling an X-rated …

Columns »

[16 Jan 2010 | Comments Off on Unions gain upper hand from Rudd’s workplace reforms | 1,567 views ]

A spate of MUA industrial action threatens to lead Australia back to its uncompetitive past
THERE is much more to the ongoing industrial action taken by the Maritime Union of Australia against shipping companies servicing our offshore oil and gas industry than merely the news that there have been five strikes in just two months.
Escalating industrial action and union militancy in the maritime sector will put at risk Australia’s international reputation as a reliable supplier to the world of energy and resources.
Yet Workplace Relations Minister Julia Gillard is refusing to intervene …

Reviews »

[8 Jan 2010 | Comments Off on Waters without equal | 1,195 views ]

Review of Ian Hoskins, Sydney Harbour: A History, UNSW Press, Sydney, 2009, pp 359, $49.95
In 1836 when the naturalist Charles Darwin arrived in New South Wales, Sydney harbour was already a remarkably busy place and Sydney town, with a population of almost 20,000, a hub of activity.
Darwin’s ship the Beagle was but one of 570 vessels that arrived that year in Port Jackson. Only 16 of these were convict ships, with the rest comprising immigrant vessels, whalers, traders and local coasters carrying produce. As Ian Hoskins points out in this …

Columns »

[2 Jan 2010 | Comments Off on Della can breathe life back into the moribund party | 2,143 views ]

WITH a political lightweight, Kristina Keneally, shoehorned in as NSW Labor Premier, it seems that in next year’s election the conservatives will come to power in Australia’s most populous state.
This is despite the fact that NSW Liberal Party leader Barry O’Farrell is a conspicuous underachiever and a lacklustre media and parliamentary performer.
The fact is the NSW Labor government has well and truly lost its way. It is clearly on the nose and is widely perceived as divided and incompetent. It’s simply not listening to the concerns of voters and not …