On Wednesday 3 August the Albanese government announced that a review of the Australian Defence Force would be conducted jointly by former Labor Defence Minister Stephen Smith and retired ADF chief Sir Angus Houston, and throughout the days that followed, questions were raised over the suitability of Smith given that, during his time as Defence Minister, he had overseen a reduction in the Defence budget. Equally if not more problematic, however, is the appointment of Houston, who, as recently as October 2020, insisted that China is a friend of Australia and that it was wrong of Australia to act or think otherwise.
Australia deserves some credit for its role in the search for MH370. It was a flight connected with the interests of China more than any other country, in that its intended destination was Beijing, it first met with trouble whilst over the militarised South China Sea, and of the 239 passengers and crew who lost their lives, 154 were Chinese nationals. Yet, in the search effort that ended in January 2017, Australia’s financial investment was more than three times that of China’s in addition to Australia committing its own personnel and resources. It was good of Australia to do this. It was not acting under any legal obligation.
An edited version of this article was published on Flat White – here.
The Flat White article, ‘A South Australian perspective’, written by Ross Eastcoast, will win him plenty of admirers in Sydney and Melbourne. Of all of the articles written by journalists who seek popularity by slipping a boot into Adelaide or South Australia, I have never seen one that squeezes so many insults into a single two-minute read. Written in serious tones from start to finish, the article is a study in word economy in the Sydney-Melbourne practice of bagging South Australia.
Swift’s Drapier’s Letters all stated on their title pages that they were ‘Printed by John Harding of Molesworth’s Court’ but new evidence shows that the actual printing work was performed by Harding’s wife, Sarah. It is evidence that casts new light on a particular aspect of the prosecution levelled against the fourth of the Drapier’s Letters in late 1724.
A G-rated version of this little article was published in The Spectator Australia – here. The original version, as submitted to The Spectator Australia, is below.
In a bookshop at Adelaide airport last Christmas I saw a well-dressed woman, seemingly in her mid-sixties, looking studiously at the front and back covers of a book entitled The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck: a counter-intuitive approach to living a good life. I was intrigued. What had piqued her interest in this book? She did not strike me as someone in need of self-help. Maybe she was thinking of buying it for a niece or nephew who was having a rough trot. Or maybe, I thought, she was turning over the same kind of conflicted thoughts that I have about books like this ‒ unimpressed by the profanity in the title whilst wondering why they bothered with the asterisk.
(My 3AW interview with Tom Elliott about this article can be heard here. The article was published by The Big Smoke under the title, ‘Interstate ribaldry: Why is Adelaide the national punching bag?‘)
It’s been a bumper season for bagging Adelaide. The running ‘joke’ in Sydney and Melbourne that South Australia is the pits has made its way into the national discourse, with a growing number of journalists and other identities making derisory comments about Adelaide whilst on national platforms, having forgotten that they are being heard or read in South Australia as well. It is a peculiar thing, and seemingly uniquely Australian, that otherwise respected national voices should dump on one particular state. No doubt they would argue the ‘tongue-in-cheek’ defence. I myself prefer the diagnosis offered by Adelaide writer Andrew P. Street, who says there is a ‘national blind spot’ blanketing everything south-west from about Broken Hill.
A short history of the early decades of the South Adelaide Football Club, 1876-1900
Moves to establish a South Adelaide Football Club began in 1875 and were formalised in April the following year. The club is not to be confused with the ‘South Adelaide’ team that is referenced in newspapers from earlier years. This was a division of the Adelaide Football Cub which had been formed in 1860. This Adelaide entity arranged intra-club matches between different groupings of its players, and some of these matches, as reported at the time, were between its players that lived north of the Torrens, ‘North Adelaide’, and south of it, ‘South Adelaide’.
Jonathan Swift, privy to a murder? Could the author of Gulliver’s Travels, the champion of the Irish people and the man widely considered the greatest ever prose writer in the English language, have been party to the purposeful killing of another human being, his own printer? This is what I am asserting in an aspect of my research which has grown from my 2015 thesis, which was concerned with Swift’s dealings with the Dublin print industry in the 1720’s. It seems a preposterous notion. Evidence that has never been seen in almost three hundred years? Of a murder that implicates a writer who has been universally revered from before his death in 1745 through to and including today? This evidence, in my view, has been on the face of the record all this time.