Columns »

[27 Oct 2017 | One Comment | 14 views ]

Here’s the link to this week’s ‘Future Tense’ program on ABC Radio National about Tertiary Education, which features Ross Fitzgerald and others being interviewed by Antony Funnell.
The audio is available to listen to from this site as either a download or streaming audio –
This program on Tertiary Education will be first broadcast this Sunday (October 29) at 10.30am on ABC Radio National, then at 7.30pm next Wed on RN and finally at 1.00pm on RN next Friday .

Columns »

[26 Oct 2017 | One Comment | 58 views ]

The “Malcolm project”, to the extent that it’s not all about him, is actually about making the Liberal Party less conservative. Malcolm Turnbull let the cat out of the bag in London in July when he noted that Robert Menzies said: “We took the name ‘Liberal’ because we were determined to be a progressive party (and) in no sense reactionary.”
Although the Prime Minister also said “the Liberal Party stands for freedom or it stands for nothing”, contrasting this with Labor’s insistence that “government knows best”, so far the …

Columns »

[15 Oct 2017 | One Comment | 44 views ]

Surely it is time for Australia to abandon its punitive approach to people struggling with illicit drug problems. This should include rejecting the draconian Welfare Reform Bill in its entirety.
The Senate is expected to vote on the Turnbull government’s bill on October 18, with a proposal to trial drug-testing applicants for income support, as well as including the use of a cashless welfare card for some recipients.
This trial has attracted overwhelming criticism from professional groups.
The Welfare Reform Bill also proposes some harsh exclusions for the receipt of …

Columns »

[12 Oct 2017 | Comments Off on Ten More Newspolls To Go… | 25 views ]

Ten More Newspolls To Go…
Thirty Newspoll losses in a row: this is the leadership test that Malcolm Turnbull used to justify his coup against Tony Abbott. Turnbull has now lost twenty Newspolls in a row and there seems to be no light at the end of his tunnel. So what does the Prime Minister do when he fails his own leadership test? This is the question that must be haunting Turnbull. And what does the Liberal Party do when its leader fails the leadership test that he himself …

Books »

[10 Oct 2017 | Comments Off on Dr Professor Grafton Everest | 17 views ]

My friend, the historian and author Ross Fitzgerald, has written a series of novels about a character who lets himself go regularly.
Grafton Everest is an academic who is somewhat akin to Sir Les Patterson. He stars in a string of fictional adventures, the latest of which was entitled Going Out Backwards, written by Ross in collaboration with the comedian Ian McFadyen.
Some people have noted vague similarities between the author and his creation but there is a big difference between the two. Ross says Grafton Everest is what he would …

Reviews »

[5 Oct 2017 | Comments Off on Re-discovering Cook | 40 views ]

Captain James Cook:
Claiming the Great South Land
By John Molony
Connor Court: Queensland
196 pages, $49.95
Despite an unpleasant resurgence of anti-British, anti-European political correctness, Captain James Cook (1728-1779) remains one of the world’s greatest explorers.
And just when we thought there was nothing new to be known about this intrepid English mariner, John Molony has written a fascinating account of Cook’s first voyage on the HMS Endeavour.
This voyage from August 1768 to July 1771 had two purposes. Cook was first to sail from England to Tahiti to observe the Transit of …

Columns »

[28 Sep 2017 | One Comment | 90 views ]

As 38 public universities face budget cuts from federal Education Minister Simon Birmingham where can they find their own cuts?
With the taxpayer salary bill for Vice Chancellors (VC) in excess of $34 million each year, the superstructure of Vice Chancellors, Deputy Vice Chancellors (DVC), and Pro-Vice Chancellors (PVC) is an obvious starting point.
Reducing VC’s salary packages from an average $1 million per annum to only just over three times the average salary for a full Professor, or about twice the salary of a Vice-Admiral in the Royal Australian Navy, would …

Roundup »

[22 Sep 2017 | Comments Off on Re Queensland Premier Joh Bjelke-Petersen. | 49 views ]

From The Courier-Mail, September 22, 2017 by Terry Sweetman
As Queensland premier, Joh Bjelke-Petersen’s savage use of defamation writs not only silenced his political critics, it made the media understandably gun-shy when it came to looking under rocks.
Not even history was safe from his baleful glare.
In 1984 when Professor Ross Fitzgerald published the second volume in his history of Queensland, the first print run had to be recalled and pulped because of defamation action threatened by Bjelke-Petersen’s government.
The alleged libel concerned the government’s pursuit of conservationist and schoolteacher John Sinclair, who …

Reviews »

[16 Sep 2017 | Comments Off on Ups and downs of persistent Pauline | 40 views ]

‘Please Explain: The Rise, Fall and Rise Again of Pauline Hanson’
By Anna Broinowski
Viking, 312pp $34.99
Anna Broinowski’s revealing documentary ‘Pauline Hanson: Please Explain!’ ran on SBS television a year ago. Throughout 2015 the award-winning filmmaker had unfettered access to Hanson and her Fed Up campaign, as Hanson attempted to win a Queensland Senate seat at the 2016 federal election.
This involved following Hanson on the hustings as she flew from Rockhampton to Sydney to Great Keppel Island and other parts of rural and regional Queensland in her Jabiru two-seater …

Columns »

[14 Sep 2017 | Comments Off on Our energy farce | 41 views ]

Our energy farce
What a mess! Australia has the world’s largest readily available supplies of coal, gas and uranium yet our power prices are among the world’s highest. Moreover it looks like the lights are likely to go out this summer, especially in Victoria and South Australia. This is what happens when our energy policy is to reduce carbon dioxide emissions rather than to produce the most affordable and reliable power.
The absurdity of our position and its implications for our future as an industrial economy seem …

Reviews »

[2 Sep 2017 | Comments Off on Sky was no limit for extragalactic explorer | 29 views ]

Radio Astronomer: John Bolton and a New Window on the Universe
By Peter Robertson
NewSouth, 432pp, $59.99 (HB)
The moon landing was an American-led space adventure but it also shone a spotlight on an Australian scientific success story.
The Parkes radio telescope in rural NSW became world famous when, in July 1969, it relayed Neil Armstrong’s first steps on the moon.
Science writer Peter Robertson is known for his 1992 book on the telescope, ‘Beyond Southern Skies’. He spent much of his working life with the CSIRO Publishing group in Melbourne. Now he has …