Columns »

[6 Dec 2016 | No Comment | 31 views ]

A rebel union set up in opposition to the main shop assistants union is facing claims of deception for using a university lecturer posing as a shelf stacker in a promotional video on its website.
La Trobe University academic Lachlan Clohesy, an expert in Soviet infiltration and executive member of the hard-Left National Tertiary Education Union, appears in the Retail and Fast Food Workers Union video posing as a retail worker claiming he is owed thousands in unpaid salary from stacking shelves at Coles.
The video from the union, which has …

Columns »

[3 Dec 2016 | One Comment | 45 views ]

Recent opinion polls on intended voting patterns relative to federal politics in Australia have been at once fascinating and deeply uncertain.
It is clear that a significant percentage of former Liberal/National voters have departed to support Pauline Hanson’s One Nation. Such a move was entirely predictable. Many Australian voters hold deeply conservative views. There were sufficient of them at the Federal election before last to give Tony Abbott victory with a large majority.
Yet within the first term of that government Abbott was deposed, not by voters but by members of his …

Columns »

[24 Nov 2016 | One Comment | 40 views ]

How many punters missed the bravura performance of former NSW State National Party parliamentary deputy leader Adrian Piccoli on Thursday November 16? Television news services and the front page of ‘The Sydney Morning Herald’ displayed Piccoli on the floor of the House lambasting the state’s Labor opposition regarding their preferencing the Shooters, Fishers and Farmers Party at the recent by-election for the seat of Orange.
As a result of a record 34 per cent swing against it, the National Party have lost this hitherto blue-ribbon seat to the Shooters, Fishers and …

Columns »

[16 Nov 2016 | One Comment | 28 views ]

It got less attention but something else significant happened on election night in America. As Donald Trump was being made President-elect, citizens in four states‚¬ California, Massachusetts, Nevada and Maine — voted to tax and regulate recreational cannabis. As well, voters in Florida, North Dakota and Arkansas approved medical marijuana initiatives, while voters in Montana rolled back restrictions on an existing medical marijuana law.
This means that eight American states out of 50 have now voted to regulate cannabis and 28 states out of 50 have now either voted for or …

Books »

[12 Nov 2016 | No Comment | 24 views ]

Shared awards at PM’s literary night of nights.
“Malcolm Turnbull was a good boy and did as he was told.” — so one of the judges of the Prime Minister’s Literary Awards told me, in jest I hasten to add, after there were dual winners for the third year in a row. The point is that, unlike Tony Abbott in the fiction award three years ago, Turnbull did not use his prime ministerial prerogative to make a “captain’s call”. I understand the judges agreed to split the history prize between Geoffrey …

Reviews »

[12 Nov 2016 | No Comment | 116 views ]

Victory at Villers-Bretonneux: Why a French Town Will Never Forget the Anzacs
By Peter FitzSimons
William Heinemann, 764pp, $49.99 (HB)
Writing about defeats is an honourable and necessary part of any war historian’s job, but it is refreshing to read about a victory.
‘Victory at Villers-Bretonneux’ is the third instalment in Peter FitzSimons’s fine trilogy about the experiences of soldiers on both sides in World War I.
Having previously written about Gallipoli and the twin battles of Fromelles and Pozieres, FitzSimons now deals with what was arguably the Anzacs’ greatest triumph, the second battle of …

Columns »

[5 Nov 2016 | One Comment | 42 views ]

There are five reasons why Malcolm Turnbull should restore Tony Abbott to federal cabinet.
First and foremost, he’d do a very good job in a government that’s seriously short of ministerial star power. Under John Howard, Abbott was the employment minister who made the Job Network a success and Work for the Dole a reality. He was the workplace relations minister who established the Cole Royal Commission as a prelude to the ABCC. He was the health minister who ended the medical indemnity crisis, restored bulk-billing, doubled medical research funding, …

Reviews »

[29 Oct 2016 | No Comment | 41 views ]

Passchendaele: Requiem for Doomed Youth
By Paul Ham
William Heinemann 565pp, $45 (HB)
Passchendaele serves as an emblem signifying all the tragedy and suffering of World War I.
The battles at and around the small Flemish town were fought from July to November 1917. It was the worst year of the war for Allied forces, a time of catastrophic loss and unimaginable carnage on the battlefields of the Western Front.
Written with the aid of three researchers — Glenda Lynch in Australia, Simon Fowler in Britain and Elena Vogt in Germany — Paul Ham’s …

Reviews »

[29 Oct 2016 | No Comment | 20 views ]

COMIC HISTORY
True Girt: The Unauthorised History of Australia, Volume 2
DAVID HUNT
BLACK INC., $32.99
David Hunt is an Australian historian, comedy writer, and children’s book author. His ‘Girt: The Unauthorised History of Australia’ was shortlisted for the 2014 NSW Premier’s Literary Awards and for the Australian Book Industry Awards. He is in the fine tradition of writing gleefully and outrageously about our past, present and future.
In ‘True Girt, the second volume of his unauthorised history (which makes me think of Manning Clark), Hunt states that he will have succeeded with this book …

Columns »

[28 Oct 2016 | One Comment | 26 views ]

Last month, the entire state of South Australia was blacked out for 24 hours because wind turbines shut down and the interconnector to Victoria’s electricity grid broke down. People were stuck in lifts, traffic lights stopped working, and businesses closed because renewable energy is inherently unreliable and back-up systems couldn’t cope. Unfortunately, much more expensive and much less reliable power is Australia’s future under the Labor Party’s renewable energy policy at state and federal levels.
Given the current state of technology, Labor’s commitment to a national 50 per cent renewable energy …

Reviews »

[15 Oct 2016 | No Comment | 46 views ]

Review
Richard Brooks: From Convict Ship Captain to Pillar of Early Colonial Australia
By Christine Maher
Rosenberg Publishing, 248pp, $29.95
As captain of the convict transport ship ‘Alexander’, Richard Brooks sailed in a convoy of seven vessels bringing incoming governor William Bligh to Sydney in 1806. Four years earlier Brooks, a rum trader, had presided over arguably the worst single voyage in a convict ship coming to Sydney Cove, that of the ‘Atlas’. A third of the convicts — 73 people — died from disease and neglect, with the latter in large part because …