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Articles in the Columns Category

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[29 Mar 2014 | One Comment | 16 views ]

It wasn’t all that long ago that a great many sports fans loved the Swans. In Sydney, despite most having a rusted-on allegiance to rugby league, if you didn’t love the Swans at least you respected them. In the AFL heartland of Melbourne, as long as the Swans didn’t keep winning, most footy fans admired their no-fuss brand of tough, contested football.
How times have changed.
Tonight at ANZ Stadium in Sydney’s Olympic Park, two of the AFL’s most despised teams will go head to head in what is an utterly crucial …

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[15 Mar 2014 | No Comment | 36 views ]

WINNING a federal election from opposition was often described by Tony Abbott as a challenge akin to climbing Mount Everest.
While that may have seemed true for the man who is now Prime Minister, a greater challenge for many of his ministers is to deal with the sudden and massive workload that comes with the demands of government.
Some federal Coalition ministers have made the transition from opposition more successfully than others, most notably Joe Hockey, Attorney-General George Brandis and Foreign Minister Julie Bishop. Others, including the Assistant Minister for Health and …

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[8 Mar 2014 | One Comment | 65 views ]

IT may be an inconvenient truth but the fact is that, in terms of its harm, alcohol is by far Australia’s most dangerous drug.
I pointed this out way back in 2003, when I was a keynote speaker at the NSW Alcohol Summit organised by the hugely talented, but sometimes flawed, ALP state minister John Della Bosca.
Della Bosca was committed to alcohol reform, but since I gave my blunt assessment about the dire situation with regard to alcohol in Australia, little seems to have changed. Indeed alcohol abuse is rife and …

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[3 Mar 2014 | No Comment | 18 views ]

PETER RYAN – Narcissists Abroad
In the ‘Weekend Australian’ of December 14-15, Ross Fitzgerald’s article was headed: “Bilateral Relations with Asia Have Liberal Roots”. He says that Australians today tend to believe that their geo-political relationship to Asia was more or less recently discovered by the Labor Party, and that Labor and the Left deserve the credit for establishing active and fruitful relationships with our neighbours to the north. I agree with Fitzgerald about the prevalence of such beliefs, and agree with him also that they are false. Labor can claim …

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[15 Feb 2014 | 2 Comments | 53 views ]

WHAT is it about Australia that so little prominence is given to the first Aboriginal person to serve in the NSW parliament?
This is despite the fact she has been Labor MP for Canterbury since 2003 and is now deputy leader of the NSW opposition.
Born in 1957 to an Aboriginal man and an unmarried white woman in a small town in the Riverina, Linda Burney strongly identifies as a Wiradjuri woman.
After her mother abandoned her, fleeing the hospital, Burney was raised by an elderly aunt and an uncle who had worked …

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[8 Feb 2014 | 2 Comments | 61 views ]

APART from Tony Abbott, who is clearly the most influential member of federal parliament, for the remainder of this year there appear to be 10 other key parliamentary players.
Top of the list is Western Australia-based Julie Bishop.
Deputy leader of the Liberal Party, the most senior woman in the federal parliament, and our first female Foreign Minister, Bishop is responsible for managing relations with the US, China, and Indonesia, which arguably are the three nations most important to Australia.
In tandem with the ambitious Malcolm Turnbull, the influential Bishop will this year …

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[1 Feb 2014 | 5 Comments | 80 views ]

WHEN used with amphetamines, ice and steroids, and often on its own, alcohol is a very dangerous mood-altering drug. In a large section of the population, alcohol all too readily fuels violence, including public and domestic violence and sexual assaults.
Yes, most people drink responsibly. But, as the liquor industry knows, it’s the top 10 per cent of heavy drinkers who account for 50 per cent of total alcohol consumption, and the top 20 per cent who account for 70 per cent of alcohol consumed. These are the individuals whose alcohol …

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[25 Jan 2014 | No Comment | 44 views ]

IN May 2012, Victorian Liberal powerbroker Michael Kroger revealed he was sick of going to lunch with Peter Costello and hearing that the former long-serving federal treasurer regarded Tony Abbott as a “DLP stooge and an economic illiterate.”
Unsurprisingly, Costello’s opinion of the Prime Minister’s supposed lack of economic skills and abilities seems to be shared by a number of federal Labor shadow ministers, including Opposition Leader Bill Shorten and Treasury spokesman Chris Bowen. As it happens, one of the most critical assessments of Abbott came from former Labor prime minister …

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[18 Jan 2014 | One Comment | 38 views ]

AUSTRALIANS are travelling overseas in record numbers.
No longer considered a luxury, an overseas holiday is becoming the norm rather than the exception. Also the internet enables direct booking of international flights and accommodation without the necessity to seek advice from a travel agent or any other informed source. This means that many first-time travellers may arrive in another country without any advice or warnings about different laws, cultural sensitivities and the inherent risks of being in unfamiliar territory.
Considering the markedly different laws regarding social behaviour which apply in popular tourist …