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Articles Archive for November 2012

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[24 Nov 2012 | Comments Off on Man who’s been eclipsed by myth | 3,484 views ]

I am a great fan of donkeys, which, as well as being stubborn and well hung, are clever animals with a much stronger sense of self-preservation than the horse.
This means it is extremely difficult to persuade donkeys to do something that they perceive places them at risk. The day after he landed at the Gallipoli Peninsula on April 25, 1915, John Simpson Kirkpatrick, 22, an Englishman who had jumped ship in Newcastle, Australia, and who enrolled in the Australian Imperial Force as Private John Simpson, found the donkey that helped …

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[24 Nov 2012 | Comments Off on Uplifting tale of gifted survivor | 1,468 views ]

ON March 1, 1942, Ray Parkin survived the sinking of HMAS Perth off the coast of Java. For the remainder of World War II he was a prisoner of the Japanese, first in Bandung and then briefly in Changi. After this he worked on the construction of the Thai-Burma railway and then in a Japanese coalmine, labouring under unspeakable conditions.
Remarkably, during Christmas 1942 he received from his beloved wife, Thelma, in Melbourne a telegram that had been simply addressed to “Ray Parkin, Prisoner of War, Java”. This lifted his spirits …

Columns »

[19 Nov 2012 | 4 Comments | 10,507 views ]

DISCUSSION of death and dying is still something of a taboo in our society.
But, as Australia’s best-known voluntary euthanasia activist Philip Nitschke argues, patients who are seriously ill deserve to have a choice about how to exit this world. That is perhaps why this medico has spent years developing peaceful and reliable methods designed to give dignity and choice to those whose physical suffering has become too much to bear.

What the good doctor never banked on is the reaction of the Australian Health Professionals Regulatory Authority. In August, AHPRA launched …

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[3 Nov 2012 | Comments Off on Daredevils enthral with derring-do | 2,258 views ]

WARREN Brown’s stirring story of Francis Birtles, a most unusual Australian adventurer – and a hugely popular one in his time – is a pleasure to read.
Brown, a cartoonist with Sydney’s The Daily Telegraph, has produced a thoroughly researched and well-illustrated biography of Birtles, whose motto in life was “Chance it”. It’s a life with all the elements of a Boy’s Own adventure.
Born on November 7, 1881, in the slums of Melbourne’s inner-city Fitzroy, the third of nine children, Birtles was a character indeed: intrepid Boer War scout and Australian …

Columns »

[3 Nov 2012 | 3 Comments | 1,662 views ]

JULIA Gillard has been rightly criticised for her poor judgment.
There are too many examples to list, but they include her farcical announcement of an East Timor processing centre for asylum-seekers; her citizens’ assembly that sank without trace; her panicked decision to suspend live-cattle exports to Indonesia; her introduction of the carbon tax that she promised would not be introduced; her lax oversight of the heavily rorted school building program; and her support for disgraced MPs Peter Slipper and Craig Thomson.

Even though I initially thought it a good idea, another poor …