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Articles Archive for November 2011

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[26 Nov 2011 | Comments Off on A voice for the outsiders | 1,541 views ]

WHEN he retired from the High Court of Australia in February 2009, Michael Kirby was our longest serving judge, and his retirement marked the beginning of assessments of his life and influence.
It’s important that we have Kirby’s personal side of the story and this memoir affords a fascinating insight into the career of a one of Australia’s most controversial figures.
As his great teacher, Professor Julius Stone, taught him at Sydney University, to pretend that the law was wholly objective might be “a comforting fiction to which many (particularly conservative) proponents …

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[26 Nov 2011 | One Comment | 2,157 views ]

ALCOHOLICS Anonymous is the most successful self-help group in the world and by far the most successful agency in helping alcoholic men and women stop drinking, and stay stopped.
Yet its critics (and there are many) argue that there is no reliable empirical evidence to support the efficacy of AA and its 12-step program. This is not true.
While it is the case that AA itself keeps no records and that its only membership requirement is a desire to stop drinking, recent American studies show how and why regular attendance at AA …

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[17 Nov 2011 | One Comment | 1,549 views ]

DURING the last federal election a friend was having her hair cut at a local hairdressing salon. Flipping idly through a magazine, she came across a photograph of Julia Gillard. The young hairdresser (but of voting age) peered over her shoulder and asked sweetly Who is that? It may come as a surprise to our politicians, but many Australians would struggle to name the senior members of cabinet, some would even struggle, unless prompted, to name the Prime Minister or the Opposition Leader.
Yet opinion polls indicate that many people appear …

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[12 Nov 2011 | Comments Off on The making of a nation | 867 views ]

A FASCINATING history of Australia unfolds in a prolific author’s grand narrative.
In the largest massacre of Europeans on the Australian frontier, in October 1861, rampaging Aborigines killed 19 European men, women and children who were encroaching on their tribal lands. This occurred on Cullin-La-Ringo, near the present town of Springsure, inland from Rockhampton. Predictably, the Aboriginal people paid many times over for these murders.
As the prolific Thomas Keneally makes clear, the leading slain settler, Horatio Wills, was the father of Rugby-educated cricket star Tom Wills who, fortuitously, was 80 kilometres …

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[12 Nov 2011 | Comments Off on Gloves are off in a ripping Aussie yarn | 1,396 views ]

BURDENSOME icon … Bond’s irrepressible alter ego, Aunty Jack. Photo: Marco Del Grande
Grahame Bond pulls no punches about his best-known creation.
An only child born in 1943, Grahame Bond is best known for two of his comic creations: the incredible Aunty Jack and butcher extraordinaire Kev Kavanagh.
Bond was born and bred in Marrickville in Sydney. His first hero was a neighbour from across the road, the legendary boxing trainer Ernie McQuillan.
As Bond recounts in this quirky memoir, two decades later, ABC TV chose McQuillan’s Boxing Gymnasium in nearby Newtown as a …

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[7 Nov 2011 | Comments Off on Satisfying bunch of five | 1,728 views ]

THESE five novels (several of them illustrated), among the latest offerings from Arcadia’s Press On series, are all by long-established authors whose careers have taken very different paths, yet who now find themselves in each other’s company in these attractively packaged and priced books. In order of seniority, the writers are Morris Lurie, Peter Corris, Michael Wilding, Ross Fitzgerald (whose book is co- authored with Trevor Jordan) and Garry Disher.
All of them work in a vein that has yielded some of their most popular fiction, although Corris gives us a …

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[7 Nov 2011 | Comments Off on Hopes sink fast in ALP ships | 617 views ]

THE first female premier of Queensland, Anna Bligh, and the first female prime minister of Australia, Julia Gillard, share one thing in common; they are both politically doomed. The only difference is that Bligh will almost certainly be defeated at a Queensland election in March, while Gillard will be replaced before the next federal election.
For Bligh, the timing of Gillard’s replacement is crucial. While Gillard remains Prime Minister she is dragging down Labor’s state vote in Queensland by 5 to 7 per cent. Yet while Labor is travelling badly under …

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[5 Nov 2011 | Comments Off on Light at end of the tunnel | 1,033 views ]

FROM 1978-83, Mark Dodd worked as a pearl diver on old pearling luggers that still plied the Kimberley coast. In this riveting yarn, Dodd canvasses the intimate details of work on board fabled wooden luggers, especially the ”DMcD” (or ”Dan McDaniel”), and life and play onshore among the exotic alleyways and pubs of Broome, most notably the infamous Roebuck Bay Hotel.
To cater for cashed-up returning lugger crews peopled by an assortment of mavericks and desperadoes, the ”Roey’s” amply proportioned manager, Terry (”Top Cat”) Cullen, would ”roster on additional barmaids just …

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[5 Nov 2011 | One Comment | 1,098 views ]

HAVING just been on the end of a less than ecstatic review of our political-sexual satire Fools’ Paradise, a friend reminded my co-author, Trevor Jordan, and myself of a quote attributed to Oscar Wilde.
The great playwright and poet allegedly opined that: “The artist’s opinion of the critic is rather like that of a telegraph pole’s opinion of a dog.”
Whether Wilde said this or not, it got me thinking about how best, as a writer, to deal with criticism. As those who know me know, my rule of thumb, and my …

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[1 Nov 2011 | Comments Off on My Alumni story | 668 views ]

Click here to read my Alumni story in The Fulbrighter Australia, October 2011