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Articles Archive for June 2011

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[27 Jun 2011 | Comments Off on Indebted to a grand obsession | 2,223 views ]

AUSTRALIA’S greatest book collector, David Scott Mitchell, was born in Sydney in 1836, the second child and only son of surgeon James Mitchell and his devoted wife Augusta. In 1907 this inexhaustibly energetic bibliophile gave his extraordinary library, and a bequest for its development, to Sydney and, indirectly, the world.
It is virtually impossible to overrate the importance of the Mitchell Library. Former NSW premier Bob Carr calls it the “DNA of Australia”. It is also hard to disagree with Carr’s contention that Mitchell’s massive collection can be viewed and interpreted …

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[24 Jun 2011 | Comments Off on Austen Tayshus biography hits a raw nerve | 1,712 views ]

THE new biography on iconic Australian comedian Austen Tayshus has one particularly tough critic: its subject.
“I don’t like it, Tayshus says, leaving a comedicly deliberate pause.
“No, I do like it. I think they’ve done a terrific job of putting a lot of stuff in there which is untrue.”
Austen Tayshus: Merchant of Menace by Ross Fitzgerald and Rick Murphy does have at least one positive review, from Tayshus’s mother, apparently.
The book explores the life of Tayshus, also known as Vaucluse resident Alexander “Sandy Gutman, from his early years growing up with his …

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[24 Jun 2011 | Comments Off on Comedy with shtick, Austen Tayshus style | 1,867 views ]

EVERYTHING about comedian Alexander “Sandy Gutman (aka Austen Tayshus) is a dichotomy. In life, he is a tea-totalling, erudite intellectual, the father of two daughters , a far cry from his foul-mouthed, incendiary, dark-glasses-clad on-stage persona.
He has a love-hate relationship with his audiences, which he is famous for taunting , recently he made a Japanese audience member get on stage and apologise for World War II in exchange for a cessation of tsunamis and earthquakes , and simultaneously describes his hero Barry Humphries as the gold standard of Australian comedy …

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[20 Jun 2011 | Comments Off on A crash (or crash through) course in civilising capitalism | 2,315 views ]

WHAT came to be known as the Australian Labor Party was formed in 1891 and by December 1, 1899, Queensland had the first Labor government in the world. Led by Anderson Dawson from the dual electorate of Charters Towers, it lasted only a week but it gave the ALP a valuable opportunity to get the dirt on the conservatives by examining previous governments’ files.
By April 27, 1904, the party’s progress was confirmed by the installation of the world’s first national Labor government. Led by Chilean-born J. C. (Chris) Watson, …

Columns »

[18 Jun 2011 | Comments Off on Up hill and down dail for Gerry Adams to unite Ireland | 843 views ]

AT the February 26 Irish general election this year, after controversial Sinn Fein president Gerry Adams resigned from both the Westminster and Stormont parliaments to enter politics south of the border, he topped the poll in the constituency of Louth, to secure a seat in the Irish Dail, the lower house of the country’s national parliament.
As befits a political party that fervently believes in a united Ireland, Adams’s presidency of Sinn Fein covers both the Irish republic and Northern Ireland, which Adams always refers to as “the north of Ireland”.
Sinn …

Columns »

[18 Jun 2011 | One Comment | 2,823 views ]

WITH the upcoming anniversary of Labor’s removal of Kevin Rudd from the office of prime minister, his successor Julia Gillard will be nervously keeping watch on her dangerously low approval ratings.
If she cannot turn public opinion, it can only be a matter of time before her caucus colleagues remove her from the top job.
Gillard’s ability to recover from her slide in the polls will depend on how well entrenched public opinion is of her and her leadership style.
If the public decides it has seen enough of this Prime Minister to …

Columns »

[11 Jun 2011 | Comments Off on Death of the minor parties | 1,509 views ]

ECENT draconian, anti-democratic provisions, especially in NSW, are threatening the survival of small parties such as the Australian Sex Party and the eccentrically named Outdoor Recreation Party.
As for aspiring political minnows, well, it’s getting tougher to register as official political parties in the populous state.
In last year’s federal election, 21 political parties nominated candidates in NSW for the Senate. In this year’s state election, only 14 political parties nominated candidates for the Legislative Council, its state equivalent.
Based on the potential for success, these numbers should have been reversed. The first …