Blogging the Bookshelf

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Entries from May 31st, 2012

Before Partisan Press Secretaries – “Inside the Canberra Press Gallery: Life in the Wedding Cake of Old Parliament House” – Rob Chalmers

May 31st, 2012 · Comments Off on Before Partisan Press Secretaries – “Inside the Canberra Press Gallery: Life in the Wedding Cake of Old Parliament House” – Rob Chalmers · Australiana, History, Journalism, Newspapers, Politics, Spin, The Media

Yet he was surprised to be asked by Leonard whether he would like to be Menzies’ press secretary, succeeding Charles Meeking. Cockburn agreed to be interviewed by Menzies in Canberra. On meeting the Prime Minister, Cockburn told him he had to understand that until 1949 he had not voted for any party but the Labor […]

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Tags:Australian Politics·conservative·Conservativism·Liberal Party·Political Staff··Staffer Life

Calwell’s Black Tie – “Inside the Canberra Press Gallery: Life in the Wedding Cake of Old Parliament House” – Rob Chalmers

May 31st, 2012 · Comments Off on Calwell’s Black Tie – “Inside the Canberra Press Gallery: Life in the Wedding Cake of Old Parliament House” – Rob Chalmers · Australian Labor Party, History, Politics

Calwell’s two great personal tragedies were the death of his only son, at eleven years of age—a victim of leukaemia. Calwell wore a black tie every day of his life from that point on.

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Tags:Australian Politics·Death·Fatherhood··Mourning·

The Kennedy Assassination and the 1963 Election – “Inside the Canberra Press Gallery: Life in the Wedding Cake of Old Parliament House” – Rob Chalmers 

May 30th, 2012 · Comments Off on The Kennedy Assassination and the 1963 Election – “Inside the Canberra Press Gallery: Life in the Wedding Cake of Old Parliament House” – Rob Chalmers  · Australian Labor Party, Campaigning, History, Politics, The Kennedys, US Politics

US President John Kennedy was assassinated on 23 November 1963, one week out from the election at which Labor suffered a heavy defeat. The assumption, which I share, is that voters were alarmed by the Kennedy assassination in the Dallas motorcade, seeing it as a signal of the heating up of the Cold War. Many […]

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Tags:ALP·Australian Labor Party··Elections··Labor·

The Kingo – “Inside the Canberra Press Gallery: Life in the Wedding Cake of Old Parliament House” – Rob Chalmers

May 30th, 2012 · Comments Off on The Kingo – “Inside the Canberra Press Gallery: Life in the Wedding Cake of Old Parliament House” – Rob Chalmers · Australian Labor Party, Australiana, Democracy

The Kingo was the venue for one of the most important conferences ever held in Canberra: the 22 March 1963 Special Federal Conference of the ALP. There were 36 delegates, six from each State—a form of federalism similarly embodied in the Australian Senate, which has an equal number of senators from each State. The conference […]

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Tags:ALP·Australian Labor Party··Labor·National Conference·Party Reform

Surveillance at the Kingo – “Inside the Canberra Press Gallery: Life in the Wedding Cake of Old Parliament House” – Rob Chalmers 

May 29th, 2012 · Comments Off on Surveillance at the Kingo – “Inside the Canberra Press Gallery: Life in the Wedding Cake of Old Parliament House” – Rob Chalmers  · Australiana, Multi-culturalism, Politics, Security Policy

Like other pubs in Canberra, the Kingston Hotel in Canberra Avenue was home to a number of journalists and was well known to me. Directly opposite the ‘Kingo’ was the Soviet Embassy—a few hundred metres east of Manuka. From a first-floor window in the pub, Australian Security Intelligence Organisation (ASIO) agents kept a watchful eye […]

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Tags:Canberra·Espionage·National Security··Pubs

Prayer in Parliament – “Inside the Canberra Press Gallery: Life in the Wedding Cake of Old Parliament House” – Rob Chalmers 

May 29th, 2012 · Comments Off on Prayer in Parliament – “Inside the Canberra Press Gallery: Life in the Wedding Cake of Old Parliament House” – Rob Chalmers  · Atheism, Australiana, Christianity, Democracy, Politics, Religion

Yet many people would believe no prayer is needed, from whatever faith. When the Federal Parliament first met after Federation, no prayer was offered. This led to a storm of protest from various Christian evangelical organisations, the Parliament gave way to the pressure and the prayer became part of proceedings. Gregor McGregor, leader of the […]

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Tags:atheism·Australian Politics·Christianity··

Don Chipp – Customs Minister – “Inside the Canberra Press Gallery: Life in the Wedding Cake of Old Parliament House” – Rob Chalmers 

May 28th, 2012 · Comments Off on Don Chipp – Customs Minister – “Inside the Canberra Press Gallery: Life in the Wedding Cake of Old Parliament House” – Rob Chalmers  · Art, Australiana, Culture, Humour, Politics

Minister for Customs and Excise in the Gorton ministry after the 1969 election, Chipp presented himself as the small-‘l’ liberal who believed in loosening up strict rules relating to the behaviour and rights of citizens. He made a name for himself by removing the ban on the sale of various books, such as Portnoy’s Complaint. […]

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Tags:Australian Politics·Censorship··Pornography·The Democrats

Sex and Australian Parliament – “Inside the Canberra Press Gallery: Life in the Wedding Cake of Old Parliament House” – Rob Chalmers

May 28th, 2012 · Comments Off on Sex and Australian Parliament – “Inside the Canberra Press Gallery: Life in the Wedding Cake of Old Parliament House” – Rob Chalmers · Politics

On matters of sex, the Australian Parliament has always been broad minded, as has the Australian population, certainly post war. Sexual encounters and adulterous affairs have been well known and common in the Parliament; it is said that powerful men have strong sexual urges and many women like powerful men.

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Tags:Australian Politics···Sex

Drunkenness in Australian Parliament – “Inside the Canberra Press Gallery: Life in the Wedding Cake of Old Parliament House” – Rob Chalmers 

May 27th, 2012 · Comments Off on Drunkenness in Australian Parliament – “Inside the Canberra Press Gallery: Life in the Wedding Cake of Old Parliament House” – Rob Chalmers  · Australiana, Culture, History, Politics

One of the more spectacular drunken performances of the 1960s was in the Senate chamber, when Labor Senator from Western Australia Harry Cant found himself seriously drunk and trapped by a division. The doors were locked and the division required Labor senators to cross to the other side of the chamber, sitting in the places […]

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Tags:Alcohol·Alcoholism·Parliament House·

Parliamentary Privilege and Jailing Journalists – “Inside the Canberra Press Gallery: Life in the Wedding Cake of Old Parliament House” – Rob Chalmers

May 27th, 2012 · Comments Off on Parliamentary Privilege and Jailing Journalists – “Inside the Canberra Press Gallery: Life in the Wedding Cake of Old Parliament House” – Rob Chalmers · Democracy, Ethics, Journalism, Newspapers, Politics, Power, The Law, The Media

One of the more sensational events involving parliamentary privilege occurred after I arrived in the gallery in 1951. The Treasurer, Arthur Fadden, was to deliver his budget speech in August of that year. On budget day, the lock-up for the gallery began in the afternoon. At the dinner adjournment of the house, Fadden briefed the […]

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Tags:Alcohol·Insider Trading·journalism·newspapers·Parliamentary Privilege·Politicians··The Media