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Articles Archive for July 2010

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[31 Jul 2010 | Comments Off on A new generation of faceless men pulls ALP’s strings | 1,965 views ]

JULIA Gillard is seeking election in her own right after she replaced Kevin Rudd as prime minister six weeks ago following an eruption of factional intrigue and personal ambition in the ALP. The successful coup was orchestrated by union and party insiders whose names — Feeney, Arbib, Bitar, Marles, Farrell, Shorten, Ludwig, Howes — meant little or nothing to the wider voting public.
In a wonderful coincidence, Rudd’s fall at the hands of the ALP’s present crop of faceless men occurred at almost the same time as my co-authored biography of …

Books »

[26 Jul 2010 | Comments Off on Sleeping with the enemy | 1,803 views ]

‘Ah, here’s the apostate.’ The voice was a cigarette-flavoured drawl from a slight figure with a hat tipped on his head. This, in the Bulletin office in March 1978, my first day as a journalist after six years with the Labor Council — hence the ‘apostate’. The speaker was Alan Reid, breaker of tabloid stories, most of them harmful to the Australian Labor Party, and, according to Paul Keating, an ‘infamous Labor hater’.
Labor wasn’t his only victim. John Grey Gorton, Liberal prime minister from 1968 to 1971, felt Reid had …

Reviews »

[25 Jul 2010 | Comments Off on Security, communism and one family’s very thick file | 2,412 views ]

This fascinating study canvasses four generations of an extended family of Jewish atheists and committed communists who challenged the “established order” in Australia and overseas.
The book’s author, Mark Aarons, came under the “adverse notice” of the Australian Security Intelligence Organisation in early 1965 when he was only 13, while his father’s ASIO files began when he was 14, in the early 1930s. Indeed, one of the great strengths of The Family File is the extensive use made of the detailed reports of the many ASIO agents who successfully infiltrated the …

Columns »

[23 Jul 2010 | Comments Off on Where truth lies | 1,286 views ]

Where truth lies
In my first year at Monash University in 1962 our wonderful history lecturer, Geoffrey Bolton, encouraged us all to read the London-born E. H. Carr’s provocative ‘What is History?’, which had been published the year before. This involved us thinking about the nature of historical truth and the complex relationship(s) between historians and the past. We were especially encouraged to confront the thorny issues of historical interpretation and of whether matters of fact and of value can clearly be differentiated.
Unlike Carr, Ann Curthoys & John Docker fundamental …

Columns »

[17 Jul 2010 | One Comment | 1,751 views ]

THE Coalition’s proposal to allow schools to self-manage projects makes perfect sense.
It is a bizarre irony that the former minister for education, Julia Gillard, succeeded Kevin Rudd as prime minister when it is the waste and mismanagement of a program she is entirely responsible for that seriously damaged the Rudd government’s credibility and contributed to his downfall.
Given what we know about Gillard’s abilities, it is not surprising that, during the first few weeks of her administration, the wheels have fallen off her solution to stop the influx of asylum-seekers, and …

Books »

[11 Jul 2010 | Comments Off on The secret’s out | 1,096 views ]

There is no graduation class. You have to go to the school of AA for the rest of your life, one day at a time.
His name is Ross and he’s an alcoholic. Don’t blame me. He outed himself in his own book. He can thank the Almighty God that no one reads any more or everyone will be pointing at him. On the other hand he has no one to blame but himself. He doesn’t even believe in God so he adds “Please before the Serenity Prayer so it goes …

Reviews »

[11 Jul 2010 | Comments Off on Our forgotten political prisoners | 1,465 views ]

Colonial Australia was a dumping ground for activists who fought for the freedoms that we take for granted today.
This concisely written, effectively illustrated “history from below” focuses on all those rebels and political malcontents banished by British authorities to the ends of the earth in the Antipodes.
Death or Liberty: Rebel Exiles Transported to Australia 1788-1868 usefully adopts the historiographical approach of the leading 20th-century scholars E.P. Thompson, Eric Hobsbawm and George Rude to understand and elucidate the forces producing rebellion in the mother country. As Moore explains, studies by these …

Books »

[9 Jul 2010 | Comments Off on Review: Alan “The Red Fox” Reid | 1,170 views ]

“Go for your life, sport.” That was my curt introduction to Alan Reid, the doyen of the Canberra press gallery. As a green young hack in the mid-1960s I’d tip-toed into the Daily Telegraph office in old Parliament House wanting to cadge some telex time to file my copy to Sydney. Reid was perched in his usual corner like a vulture in a rumpled suit, a roll-your-own durrie in his nicotine-stained fingers. It was a Saturday afternoon. All the politicians were back in their electorates, but The Red Fox …

Speeches »

[3 Jul 2010 | Comments Off on The 36 faceless men | 2,966 views ]

Who took the damning 1963 photographs of “the 36 Faceless Men”? Although actually it was 35 Men and one ‘Faceless’ Woman!
Professor Ross Fitzgerald’s speech about ALAN (“THE RED FOX”) REID at Dalton’s Books, 54 Marcus Clarke St, crn Rudd Street, Canberra, Wednesday June 30, 6 pm.
Thanks indeed Laurie (Oakes). As recent events here in Canberra demonstrate, in the ALP the faceless men and the factional warlords certainly live on! In many ways, the tiny Machiavellian world of Alan Reid is virtually the same world that made Julia Gillard PM.
In his …

Columns »

[3 Jul 2010 | One Comment | 1,983 views ]

Julia Gillard once pledged herself to the unions, but today her allegiances are unclear.
AS the dust settles over the prime ministerial demise of Kevin Rudd and the hype surrounding Julia Gillard subsides, the questions remain: who is she and what does she stand for?
The fact that Gillard was parachuted into the job of prime minister by the largely “faceless” union backroom boys has led to the inevitable claim that she is a puppet of the union movement. Gillard recognised she needed to move quickly to counter that impression and declared …