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Articles Archive for March 2010

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[27 Mar 2010 | 4 Comments | 9,470 views ]

NEW environmental laws are undermining indigenous and non-indigenous property rights.
The protection of property rights in Australia is an important issue that is uniting indigenous and non-indigenous landholders.
Both are concerned that in recent years the introduction of vegetation clearing laws, compulsory property acquisitions and, recently, the Wild Rivers legislation in Queensland threaten their livelihoods. So they are seeking recognition and protection of their rights where they have been removed by environmental and heritage laws, and just compensation if these rights are removed.
One unlikely champion to take a stand on this issue …

Reviews »

[19 Mar 2010 | Comments Off on Crash of symbols | 1,345 views ]

PUBLISHED in conjunction with the National Museum of Australia, this beautifully executed book is essentially an intellectual and emotional exploration of how our nation has imagined itself, and indeed still does. ‘Symbols of Australia’ thus examines, in some detail, the emergence and spread of 26 of our many and varied national symbols.
With each chapter written by different authors it is inevitable that there will be some quibbling about which symbols should have been included in the book, and which were not. While the kangaroo clearly rates a chapter, I …

Books »

[13 Mar 2010 | One Comment | 2,228 views ]
Full of humour, honesty and hope

WHEN he was 14 and dressed in his school uniform, Ross Fitzgerald stood in the public bar of a Melbourne pub and at 11am ordered a brandy, lime and soda. The barman suggested he take off his hat. And so began the alcoholic life of an eminent Australian academic who, until he joined AA, spent every Christmas Day in a mental hospital between the ages of 16 and 25.
“I was so enclosed and enmeshed in myself”, he writes, “that I virtually didn’t see anything outside”.
Sober for 40 years, Dr Fitzgerald …

Columns »

[13 Mar 2010 | Comments Off on Outdated state attitudes verge on the obscene | 2,012 views ]

KEVIN Rudd’s threat to force “co-operative federalism” on to the states on the issue of health sees him reading the electorate very well.
The PM is keenly aware of how long a memory can last when you’ve been forced to wait for five hours in casualty with a sprained ankle, or how deeply personal the political becomes when you’re forced to endure the grinding pain of a worn-out hip for 12 months before you can get a replacement.
If he hasn’t fiscally hammered the states into an agreement, Rudd may well get …

Books »

[3 Mar 2010 | 3 Comments | 3,225 views ]
On the booze

“The truth is that, quite often, a little bit of me goes a long way, Ross Fitzgerald writes towards the end of My Name is Ross. It is a characteristically disarming observation. Fortunately he stopped drinking forty years ago. But this account of his years of drinking and pill-popping nonetheless fills a substantial volume. And a harrowing account it is. But, again characteristically, it is relieved with wit and verve.
The temptation, and Fitzgerald is clearly not one readily to refuse temptation, must have been to present this as a …

Books »

[1 Mar 2010 | Comments Off on A riveting account of an alcoholic’s journey | 1,371 views ]
A riveting account of an alcoholic’s journey

Ross Fitzgerald is today a prolific writer; a distinguished historian and a well-known public figure. He is also an alcoholic.
At the age of 25 he was a broken man who, in a few short years, had gone from being an honours graduate from Sydney University to a man who, after many admissions to mental hospitals, living on what few wits remained to him, and having exhausted the patience of his many friends, had reached the nadir of his life with death closing fast upon him.
Last year he celebrated …

Books »

[1 Mar 2010 | Comments Off on Drink and the demons within | 1,336 views ]
Drink and the demons within

ROSS Fitzgerald hasn’t touched a drop of alcohol since November 1969. But alcohol has been the defining influence on his life. He began drinking as a 14-year-old (the barman suggested he take off his school hat when he asked for a brandy, lime and soda) and spent much of the next decade drunk.
Fitzgerald says he drank to pretend he wasn’t afraid and because of a difficult relationship with his mother and his genetic predisposition to addiction.
In person, he seems to inspire active like or dislike; in words, he …