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Articles Archive for October 2013

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[24 Oct 2013 | One Comment | 733 views ]

THE year 2011 was the year when people born straight after World War II turned 65. These were the thin end of a very large wedge.
The baby-boomers, that huge demographic group that has been slowly making its way up through the age brackets, are now starting to reach retirement age.
This presents a problem for governments and the economy in general.
The demand for aged care is likely to double, then triple over the next few decades with the costs rising commensurately.
Superannuation has been regarded as the answer to the problem, …

Columns »

[19 Oct 2013 | Comments Off on At home in the Ming dynasty | 3,472 views ]

BELIEVE it or not, our eloquent, long-serving conservative prime minister Robert Gordon Menzies was tongue-tied as a child and terrified of public speaking.
Menzies was born in the small Victorian country town of Jeparit in December 1894, the year of the second great shearers’ strike. His father ran a general store.
As Menzies’ daughter, Heather Henderson, points out in this memoir, after having been a student at Melbourne’s prestigious Wesley College, her father became a successful barrister and then Victoria’s, and later Australia’s, attorney-general. After a disappointing and divisive prime ministership from …

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[19 Oct 2013 | Comments Off on Change of tack on media cycle proves less is more | 499 views ]

The PM has wisely realised journalism’s frantic pace in incompatible with good government, writes ROSS FITZGERALD
CHANGES to the communications landscape pose enormous challenges for the executives of companies in the traditional media of print newspapers and radio and television stations.
The loss to internet companies of the “rivers of gold” classified advertising that underpinned the profitability of ‘The Sydney Morning Herald’ and ‘The Age’ is a prime example.
Other developments include the emergence of 24-hour news services such as SkyNews Australia and the availability of CNN, BBC World, Al Jazeera and others …

Reviews »

[12 Oct 2013 | Comments Off on Portrait of an elusive magnate | 1,373 views ]

The life and times of newly minted politician Clive Palmer.
Review by Ross Fitzgerald
There is something about Queensland that produces unusual and larger than life characters, especially in the field of politics.
In early December, 1899, if only for a week, Queensland boasted the first Labor government in the world.
From 1944 to 1950, for the seat of Bowen, Fred Paterson, known in Queensland as “the people’s champion”, was elected as Australia’s first and only Communist Party member of parliament.
Then there was the authoritarian Labor premier E.G. (”Ned”) Hanlon, who not only rigged …

Columns »

[8 Oct 2013 | One Comment | 809 views ]

MINI-CAMPUSES THREATEN TO HURT TERTIARY EDUCATION RIGHT ACROSS AUSTRALIA, WRITES ROSS FITZGERALD
A KEY question facing federal Education Minister Christopher Pyne as he begins his much-needed tertiary education review is how to ensure the financial viability of higher education in Australia.
Pyne needs to understand that it makes no sense for regional universities to try to balance their budgets by running mini-campuses in capital city CBD’s.
The sad reality is that, in order for mini-campuses to compete with capital city based universities, there is a costly race to the bottom.
Operating a regional …

Columns »

[5 Oct 2013 | One Comment | 1,282 views ]

Among other reforms, let’s introduce electronic voting to speed up the process, writes ROSS FITZGERALD
ELECTION night and its subsequent celebrations or commiserations for victors and losers hold a special place for Australian political aficionados.
David Williamson’s 1971 classic ‘Don’s Party’ is still a regular on the repertory scene – its story of dashed political expectations of a Labor victory as the results come in on a long-past election night is an experience many Australians can still appreciate.

Whether it is Laurie Oakes or David Speers or Antony Green churning through seat after …