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Category Archives: Tributes
During our three weeks holiday in the UK, Ramesh Thakur has been guest editor for Pearls & Irritations. Susie and I greatly appreciate his contribution. In considering the future of Pearls & Irritations, we may find that guest editorship provides … Continue reading
Graham Freudenberg climbed inside the soul of the Australian Labor Party in search of the words that lay there. He came back to us with an entire language. When Freudy said the Labor Party was built on speeches, the identity … Continue reading
ANU historian Angela Woollacott has written a major biography of Don Dunstan reflecting on his place in the pantheon of reforming Australian Labor politicians. A review of the biography follows.
Tim Fischer belongs to a unique generation of politicians we are farewelling fast; a generation such as Gough Whitlam, Malcolm Fraser and Bob Hawke. A generation which whether you agreed with their ideology or not you could not but respect.
To Australian Catholics the date 3 December is a holiday. In the Calendar of Saints this date marks the feast of Australia’s ‘patron saint’, sixteenth century Spanish Jesuit and companion of St Ignatius Loyola, founder of the Society of Jesus, … Continue reading
When I heard the news of Graham Freudenberg’s death last week I wept. Not just for the passing of this generous, passionate, erudite and supremely eloquent man, but for the dreams and hopes that were shared by those of us … Continue reading
Science can be incomprehensible to many, yet it requires others to help communicate and apply great works such as those of Albert Einstein. Climate change science is also quite complex and those in this field are facing similar difficulties to … Continue reading
SUSAN CHENERY. A Repost: The Scribe: portrait of Graham Freudenberg, author of the speech that changed Australia (The Guardian 9 October 2018))
Legendary Labor speechwriter Graham Freudenberg was at the centre of power for more than 40 years. A new film sheds light on the man who wrote the script. (This outstanding documentary will be telecast on the ABC on Sunday night … Continue reading
With the Love called Cancer
The first words addressed by the Hon David Hurley AC as Governor-General were to the Australian First People and their successors, including, specifically, ‘future leaders’.
It was my great honour to serve as a cabinet minister and Deputy Prime Minister under R J Hawke. He was a courageous, compassionate and disciplined leader who had the great political gift of wanting to be engaged with people, and for Bob, it … Continue reading
Bob Hawke did not suffer from false modesty. He always knew he was the smartest person in the room – and, unlike many egoists, he was usually right, which is saying something, given the stellar ministry over which he presided … Continue reading
Bob Hawke’s lasting monument is the Australian society of today. A modern open economy, which he skippered out of sheltered waters, for good or ill, mostly good, into the open sea. Reformed national institutions, some now, sadly, in poor shape … Continue reading
Sir John Monash was a visionary engineer, military leader and much more, who succeeded in spite of the prejudices of the conservative Melbourne establishment (read: The Coalition right wing), to become, in Field Marshal Bernard Montgomery’s view, “the best general … Continue reading
“Well, they killed King.” The matter-of-fact statement hung in the air of the kitchen where a roomful of women—including my mother (I was the lone child)—had gathered on that April day in 1968 to learn to make hot tamales for … Continue reading
JENNY HOCKING. The Best of 2018: Royal distortions of history: why the Queen’s secret “Palace letters” about Gough Whitlam’s dismissal should be released.
The long-running ‘Palace letters’ case over the Queen’s secret correspondence regarding the 1975 dismissal of Prime Minister Gough Whitlam heads back to court on Wednesday 28 November, with an appeal hearing before the full bench of the Federal Court in … Continue reading
Francis Sutherland Hambly, the doyen of university education in Australia, died in Canberra on 21 November 2018, aged 83. Frank served the universities as Director and Secretary of the Australian Vice-Chancellor’s Committee (AVCC) from 1966 to 1996; indeed he personified … Continue reading
The Surafend massacre shows that the core business of good history must always be the preservation of memory.
An Advent tale about a small father-less family from South West Africa that has been granted asylum in Australia. This is their first Advent in a new country.
IAN BURNET. ‘Friends in Australia’ – a message from Sutan Sjahir, the Prime Minister of the newly declared Republic of Indonesia, November 1945.
On 17 August 1945 and two days after the Japanese surrender, Soekarno and Hatta unilaterally declared Indonesia’s Independence and became the first President and Vice President of the Republic of Indonesia.
ADAM WAKELING. Tokyo Trial: how an Australian judge sentenced a Japanese leader to death (ABC NEWS).
“Accused Hideki Tojo, on the counts of the indictment of which you have been convicted, the International Military Tribunal for the Far East sentences you to death by hanging.”
The women who tried to stop the slaughter; the vibrant young nation crushed; that a nation’s soul cannot be sponsored by arms manufacturers; the Australian war.
Can’t we see parallels in leadership today, both in the Church and in society, where it can easily get more enmeshed in its own self-importance and self-interest, than in the rights and the good of the ordinary people, whom they … Continue reading
Lest We Remember traces the history of how Australia was drawn into wars by the British and the Americans, and looks at how poorly the strategies had been thought out and how poorly the troops themselves have been treated. The … Continue reading
One hundred years ago ‘the guns fell silent’ or at least WWI ended. Since the end of the war to end all wars, however, 120 million more people have died as a result of armed conflict. Well might we remember, … Continue reading
What the astonishing Chiune Sugihara teaches us about moral heroism.
Freda Whitlam, a formidable educator and church leader, was principal of a prominent Sydney private girls school, helped establish the University of Western Sydney and the University of the Third Age, and became Moderator of the Uniting Church of Australia. … Continue reading
Graham revealed in his memoir that he wrote his first speech in Brisbane in May 1945, aged 10, at the time of VE Day, and delivered it to his mother. In 1946 he scored a job with ABC Radio reading … Continue reading
It was a quintessential Australian death. On 17 December 1967, Australia’s 17th prime minister, Harold Edward Holt, waded into the churning surf at Victoria’s Cheviot Beach, defying a swift current and a strong under-tow that left others in his party … Continue reading