My Pa ‘bullshitting’ Ray Martin on national TV (1992)

As a celebrated bullshit artist, it’s really no surprise my charismatic grandfather Laurie Sheales ending up on national TV in May 1992 telling Ray Martin one of his tallest tales. My 87 year old and gloriously hirsute Pa was sitting in a pub one night, swilling beer and telling those assembled how he’d been completelyContinue reading “My Pa ‘bullshitting’ Ray Martin on national TV (1992)”

Did the promise of pudding swing the Victorian election?

THE internet engaged in a collective ‘isn’t he adorable’ a few months back when it transpired actor Benedict Cumberbatch couldn’t say the word “penguins”. You can watch the video here. (The fact Cumberbatch had just lent his voice to a nature documentary about penguins — or “pengwings” — and is currently starring in the PenguinsContinue reading “Did the promise of pudding swing the Victorian election?”

How clumsy Hollywood broke the hearts of two Australian schoolgirls

HOLLYWOOD is now actively crushing our children’s hopes and dreams. Too dramatic? Let me explain… A pair of 7 year old Melbourne schoolgirls recently hand wrote a letter to the US producers of their favourite movie. “We really like Rio 2,” they declared, cutely. “We have an idea for Rio 3.” The proposed plot would take place in Egypt, they wrote. “NigelContinue reading “How clumsy Hollywood broke the hearts of two Australian schoolgirls”

‘Human rights’ built on a bedrock of shame

When a troublesome child is chastised for bad behaviour they’re often quick to point the finger at somebody else, as if that other child’s wrongdoing might somehow lessen their own guilt. New research suggests this very natural ‘Look! Over there!’ impulse — enacted on an international scale in the 1970s — might have spurred enthusiasmContinue reading “‘Human rights’ built on a bedrock of shame”

The troublesome truth about politics

This review of Jonathan Green’s The Year My Politics Broke (Melbourne University Publishing) first appeared in The Voice.  As a detailed account of how politicians and politicking has veered off course in Australia over recent years The Year My Politics Broke isn’t an enjoyable read. But then, it isn’t meant to be: the book isContinue reading “The troublesome truth about politics”

ABC ‘Reseach Report’ March, 2013

1) Surgeons who play video games are better at ‘keyhole’ procedures University of Rome. Laparopscopic surgeons may improve certain aspects of surgical performance by regularly playing on a Nintendo Wii, according to research published in PLOS ONE. Researchers analyzed how a four-week training regimen on the Wii impacted the laparoscopic skills of post-graduate residents inContinue reading “ABC ‘Reseach Report’ March, 2013”

Journey to belonging

Each year thousands of asylum-seekers try to settle in Australia. Most are fleeing persecution because of their race, religion or lifestyle. They’re looking for something simple yet sometimes elusive: a fresh start. Ryan Sheales reports on their struggles and triumphs. Randomly stop 10 people in the street and ask for their view on asylum-seeker issuesContinue reading “Journey to belonging”

Do me a favour? Ignore Alan Jones.

DO me a favour? Ignore Alan Jones. The radio veteran’s most recent comments suggesting Julia Gillard’s father died of “shame” because of her daughter’s “lies” are foul and reprehensible. The condemnation has been swift and comprehensive, although some are still waiting for Tony Abbott to also voice his personal disgust. Alan Jones will in time apologise,Continue reading “Do me a favour? Ignore Alan Jones.”

No journalist should have to report on their friend’s murder.

JILL Meagher’s death is an unfathomable tragedy. Her family remains in a state of shock and despair. My heart goes out to them. But I want to pay tribute to Jill’s ABC colleagues. My former colleagues. This has undoubtedly been one of the toughest weeks of their lives – both personally and professionally. Journalists dealContinue reading “No journalist should have to report on their friend’s murder.”