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[11 Apr 2016 | 12 Comments | 138 views ]

Up till now, the only political party I ever considered joining was the Communist Party of Australia.
When I was a 15-year-old student at Melbourne High School, along with fellow student and future millionaire, Alan Piper, with whom I played for the Victorian schoolboys cricket team, I met a Communist Party of Australia organiser outside the Bryant and May match factory in Richmond. The organiser paid no attention to Alan but after listening to me for less than a minute he put up his hands and said “I think you can …

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[9 Apr 2016 | No Comment | 15 views ]

Review of ‘Growing Wild’
By Michael Wilding
Arcadia, 302pp, $39.95
“I do wish you would write your campus farce rather than live it all the time,” one of Michael Wilding’s colleagues once suggested. He proceeded to do both — though Wilding delayed publishing ‘Academia Nuts’ until he had safely taken early retirement.
Appointed to a lectureship at the University of Sydney in his 20s, the English-born Wilding encountered a strange new world, with figures such as Germaine Greer holding forth at morning tea about suckling her kitten in the bath. He also came …

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[6 Apr 2016 | 2 Comments | 49 views ]

Six months ago, when Malcolm Turnbull replaced Tony Abbott as Prime Minister, many people breathed a sigh of relief. Abbott had never been personally popular and had compounded this by knighting Prince Philip on Australia Day, persisting with an over-generous parental leave scheme at a time when other spending was being cut, and introducing the 2014 horror budget that Australia needed but that appeared to break pre-election commitments. Abbott, it seemed, was almost as bad as Julia Gillard who had promised no carbon tax but then brought one in.
On the …

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[5 Apr 2016 | No Comment | 18 views ]

Review of ‘Going Out Backwards: A Grafton Everest Adventure’.
By Ross Fitzgerald & Ian McFadyen, Hybrid Publishers, $26.95
Professor Dr Grafton Everest is said to be a ‘wonderful creation’. Depends on how you assimilate his tedious long-winded repartee.
This is not fact, but fiction: an incoherent academic accidently finds himself elected to the Australian Senate. What’s more, he has somehow ended up holding the balance of power. On top of it all, Australia is facing natural disaster from Tectonic Change.
It sounds like a familiar scenario, but Everest’s personal life does not run smoothly.
He …

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[28 Mar 2016 | No Comment | 31 views ]

It’s back. That unforgettable, almost indescribable roar that tingles your entire body any time you’re standing outside an AFL ground, and something monumental has just happened inside.
Whoooooooorrrrraaaahhhhhhhhhhhh … interspersed with the pounding of feet, jeers and cheers.
There is no other sound like it. It is frightening, but reassuring. Compelling, sucking you in. A little disconcerting, as it resembles a warning signal that a mob is about to become unruly, but still inviting you to be involved in our game. The Australian game.
You cannot help but rush towards the turnstiles to …

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[26 Mar 2016 | No Comment | 26 views ]

Heartfelt Moments in Australian Rules Football
Edited by Ross Fitzgerald
Connor Court, 251pp, $29.95
This book and its 37 essays reflect the nation’s enthusiasm for football and the incessant talk about it. All prime ministers and almost every child, it seems, have to support an AFL team, even if they scarcely know how the game is played.
We learn that in 1975, not long before he became prime minister, Malcolm Fraser was informed by John Elliott, a Liberal powerbroker, that he must publicly support a team: “I said, ‘It is simple Malcolm, you should …

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[26 Mar 2016 | No Comment | 60 views ]

It’s been hailed an Easter Saturday homecoming for the Sydney Swans. Tonight they take on my beloved Collingwood Magpies at the Sydney Cricket Ground in a venue change that has infuriated Pies president Eddie McGuire. But there could be far more to McGuire’s latest outrage than meets the eye.
When, just over three weeks ago, the Swans announced the relocation of three home games, including tonight’s clash, from ANZ Stadium at Homebush to the SCG, McGuire was furious that he found out through a news release. The Magpies president lambasted the …

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[14 Mar 2016 | 2 Comments | 43 views ]

Having for decades operated with no Indigenous members of federal Parliament, the Australian Labor Party may soon have three.
Esteemed Aboriginal leader Patrick Dodson will join Nova Peris in the Senate. On the other hand, Linda Burney – who resigned recently as deputy leader of the NSW Labor Party to contest the federal seat of Barton – could be the first Indigenous woman in the House of Representatives.
The talented Burney is likely to win Barton, which, following a recent electoral redistribution, is now notionally a Labor seat. As well, Burney will …

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[12 Mar 2016 | No Comment | 29 views ]

This powerful personal narrative is a difficult book to negotiate, not least because it comprises 309 pages of text entirely devoid of chapter numbers or headings, followed by a blank page and the acknowledgments.
But this caveat in no way means that the book — the author’s first — is not an enormously rewarding and revealing exploration of the effects of war on family life and on the human soul and psyche.
Enemy begins with a striking opening sentence: “I was born into the war still raging inside my father.” Indeed Ruth …

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[5 Mar 2016 | 2 Comments | 58 views ]

Our national game, Australian Rules Football, cuts across all divides of class, income, ethnicity, gender, religion, race and sexual preference.
Hence contributors to my recent collection of 37 original essays, ‘Heartfelt Moments in Australian Rules Football’, range from devout atheists like myself, Dick Whitaker and Barry Dickins to believing Christians such as Geraldine Doogue, John Birt and Cardinal George Pell – who writes about his decision whether to become a priest, or to train and play with Richmond.
The reality is that not only unbelievers, but also clerics of all persuasions often …

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[4 Mar 2016 | No Comment | 16 views ]

THE IMPACT OF GRAFTON EVEREST – MOVING FORWARDS (SIC)
As avid MWD readers will be aware, last December this august (sic) publication issued its very own 2015 Summer Reading List for Nancy’s (Male) Co-owner. It was inspired by the awesomely pretentious 2015 Summer Reading List for the Prime Minister prepared by the awesomely pretentious Dr John Daley (for a doctor he is) of the taxpayer subsidised Grattan Institute in Melbourne.
In what turned out to be a remarkably successful reading list, Hendo went for the (previously) little known How To Be …