Tag Archives: 1960s

Some Reflections on the 1960s

Most Australians born after 1970 could not be blamed for acquiring the impression that the 1960s was one long party of sexual abandonment, drunkenness, the defiance of authority, the Beatles and the Rolling Stones, British pop, anti-Vietnam protests, marijuana, hippies, flower-power and so on in that colourful style. One saying is that if you remember the 1960s, you were not there. A witty comment, but the small number abusing themselves to the state of memory loss are all long dead and in no position to make that boast. I can report first-hand, however, that this picture of widespread youthful abandonment is fanciful, designed to impress those who could not know better.

In July 1960, I turned fourteen. I was in my second year of secondary school. My father carried his camera around with him, ever at the ready to shoot photos of his adored children. We have thus a pictorial record of those years when five of my parents’ six children were in their teens.

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Where I’m up to with my book about Tony Abbott

Tony Abbott and the Times of Revolution

When I decided to write a book about the fall of the Abbott Government, I feared I might have bitten off more than I could chew.

My specialty – to the extent I have one – is philosophy,  specifically political philosophy.  My Master’s thesis was on Edmund Burke. Although I follow politics fairly closely, I am more interested in the ideological motivations and clashes than the day to day political activity. My mind concentrates on the logic and consistency of a politician’s ideas and the implementation of those ideas in the concrete circumstances.

What always appealed to me about Tony Abbott was the philosophical depth and consistency of his thought, qualities few people appreciate. The caricature manufactured by the leftist media has dominated the political discourse. I wanted to show that his demise was due more to the unrelenting attacks by his ideological enemies (including those in his party undermining him) than to his record and the policy program he was pursuing. His program was a solid conservative program, economically and socially. The appalling ideological pig-ignorance of the President of the AMA was just one illustration of what he had to deal with. 

The problem I thought might be my lack of knowledge of the detail necessary to my analysis. Nevertheless, I decided to go ahead to see how far I could get.

As I proceeded with my preparation, I saw that I had underestimated the reading necessary for the background I had planned to sketch. The prelude to Abbott’s political career was the 1960s and his time as a student politician in the second half of the 1970s. After much reading and making pages of notes, I sat down to write. 

I discovered as I wrote I had to do still more reading if I was to succeed in establishing those critical influences that made Abbott what he is as a political player. I had reached around 25,000 words when it occurred to me that Abbott’s time as a student politician was a story in itself – a fascinating story. I split the project into two books. Back to my reading and research.

Months passed while I amassed more than 300 pages of notes.  When I went back to my writing, I made good progress. I have a clear schedule now, the result of a strict ordering of the notes. I hoped I could catch up on the deadline I had set myself which was March this year for the first draft. 

I’m happy to say that I am steaming ahead, reaching 95,000 words as of today (3 Feb). I probably won’t achieve the end of March deadline, but it won’t be much beyond that. Stay tuned. I am sure many will find Tony Abbott the student politician as fascinating as I have.