Category Archives: Tributes

Remembering the financial brilliance of James Wolfensohn

At a time when Australia is desperately trying to push one of our own to lead a world economic forum, it’s worth remembering James Wolfensohn, our most influential global financial figure.

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Ignoring diplomatic advice with disastrous consequences

Remembering Harold David Anderson OBE AO David Anderson was a meritorious Australian who brought great distinction and much honour to his country. Anderson displayed strong ethical and moral courage in his realistic pessimism over Vietnam at a time when his … Continue reading

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Something to think about other than that election

In the past 75 years, there have been two authors who have profoundly demonstrated the effects when language is mangled and distorted and, conversely, how to write clearly and powerfully.

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Homily to Susan Ryan

As we gather here in the Lady Chapel at Newman College, people are gathered in socially distant numbers at St Mary’s Cathedral in Sydney for the state funeral of Susan Maree Ryan.

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Remembering Harold Evans (AIIA Oct 9, 2020)

Harold Evans had an indefatigable role in encouraging and expanding coverage of international affairs in the publications he edited and in the books he published. He also had great enthusiasm for hiring and fostering well-trained Australian journalists.

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Susan Ryan: a daughter of St Brigid

Long after Susan’s passing, Australians, and Irish-Australians in particular, will continue to be enriched by the legacy that this daughter of St Brigid has left us.’

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Susan Ryan: a forgiving politician

It is difficult to exaggerate the significance of the movements, legislation and offices shaped or led by the late Susan Maree Ryan (Oct 10, 1942 – September 27, 2020).

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An understated and yet a most influential and famous Australian.

Rupert Murdoch aside, which Australian has had the greatest impact on US political and public thinking in recent decades? He comes from Adelaide, is unfailingly modest, was once in the news all the time, despises most politicians and has both … Continue reading

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JOHN MENADUE. Vale Greg Dodds.

After a long illness Greg Dodds died last week in Perth. Kim Beazley will speak at his funeral  today(30 April 2020)  

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DEAN BAKER. Mark Zuckerberg is a Rich Jerk (Counter Punch 5-11-19)

Last week, New York Times columnist Timothy Egan had a piece headlined “Why Doesn’t Mark Zuckerberg Get It?” The piece then goes on to document how Facebook has become a medium for spreading lies and nonsense all over the world, … Continue reading

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BOB CARR. Vale Paul Francis Patrick Whelan.

Bob Carr Tribute to Paul Whelan October 31, 2019. Former New South Wales Premier Bob Carr paid tribute to his Police Minister Paul Whelan for his achievement in implementing the Wood Royal Commission recommendations to reform policing in NSW. 

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JOHN MENADUE. Thanks to guest editor, Ramesh Thakur.

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

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ANTHONY ALBANESE. Tribute to Graham Freudenberg (House of Representatives 10 Sep 2019)

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

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LIONEL ORCHARD. Don Dunstan in Perspective: A Review

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.

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ALI KAZAK. On the Middle East, Tim Fischer was a man of courage and integrity.

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.

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ROSEMARY O’GRADY. Hail & Farewell.

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

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RACE MATHEWS. Graham Freudenberg.

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

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BRUCE THOM. Climate Change and Relativity—Some Parallels.

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

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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

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TONY DOHERTY. Dancing to my Death.

With the Love called Cancer

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ROSEMARY O’GRADY. Lost leaders.

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’.

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BRIAN HOWE. Vale Bob Hawke

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

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MUNGO MacCALLUM. The bodgie.

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

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JACK WATERFORD. Bob Hawke: A larrikin, chairman and nation builder (Canberra Times 17.5.2019)

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

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IAN DUNLOP. The Best of 2018: The Monash Forum – of Coal & Horses.

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

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ANNETTE GORDON-REED : What We Lost. Martin Luther King

“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

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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

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Peter Drake- Vale FRANK HAMBLY AM.

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

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PAUL DALEY. The moment that forever changed my perspective on Anzac mythology (The Guardian).

The Surafend massacre shows that the core business of good history must always be the preservation of memory. 

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CECILIA MERRIGAN.“Is That an Advent Wreath?”

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. 

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