• Michael Sexton AM Solicitor General for New South Wales.

    The term “dissenting opinions” is normally used in the law to describe the judgments of those members of appellate courts who take a different view in a particular case from their colleagues who form the majority and effectively decide the question before the court. In relation to this collection of articles and book reviews, published over several decades, the opinions in the main are a departure from what might be characterised as the conventional wisdom, that is, the views and values of those who preside over most public and private intuitions in Australia, including much of the media.

    Most concern questions that are still controversial and can be taken as a contribution to those on-going discussions. Most importantly, they represent the hope that there will be much greater scope in the immediate future for the full-blooded public debate of social, economic and political issues in Australia.

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    ‘Better than any other account, Their Fiery Cross of Union shatters the myths Australians have cherished about Federation. It both sets out those myths and—in gripping prose—exposes their limitations and contradictions. Using, without ever being heavy-handed, all the tools of modern social science, it mercilessly tests the claims of Federation’s staunchest advocates and compares them to explanations which make sense of events. At the same time, it brilliantly presents the protagonists in the Federation story, removing the protective sheen which has so often been used to protect them. A riveting story, it has all the hallmarks of a classic’. - Henry Ergas

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