Australian politics, society & culture

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Illustration
A decision on our underwater fleet cannot be put off much longer
By Claire Corbett

If Australians felt blindsided in April when the federal government announced its purchase of an additional 58 F-35 Joint Strike Fighter jets for $12 billion, they’ll want to sit down with a strong cup of tea to contemplate the cost of our future submarine fleet. The new vessels will need to enter service by the early-to-mid 2030s in order to replace the ageing Collins Class submarines. It will be one of the biggest and most expensive infrastructure projects in Australian history, as ambitious as the Snowy Mountain Hydro-electric Scheme or the National Broadband Network.

Current Issue
Coles, Woolworths and the price we pay for their domination
By Malcolm Knox
Marco and Nick Nikitaras
The Nikitaras brothers’ corner store has a hallucinatory shine, like a set from a period movie. Staff in navy blue uniforms and white net caps smile from behind jars of preserved clementines and glacé peaches, pineapples and cherries.
Archive
By Guy Pearse
Most of us think of Aussie coalmining as a local issue, and why not? Coal exports have doubled since 1992 and are set to do so again by 2020. The consequent scars across the Hunter Valley and central Queensland are visible from space, as anyone with Google Earth can see.
John Maloney
A recent article in the New Statesman, by an avowedly privileged white guy decrying white male privilege, featured the following stretch of earnest chest-beating:
Cycling through cinema
Anwyn Crawford
Mere seconds into the history of cinema a bicycle makes its debut appearance, in the Lumière brothers’ La Sortie des usines Lumière à Lyon (Workers Leaving the Lumière Factory in Lyon). It was the world’s first motion picture, shown in 1895 at the world’s first public cinema screening, which was hosted by Auguste and Louis Lumière in the basement of a Paris café.
On Monday this week, environment minister Greg Hunt approved the proposed Carmichael Coal and Rail Project. On the eastern edge of central Queensland's largely untapped Galilee Basin, the $16.5 billion project is expected,...
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Israel steps up airstrikes in Gaza as international cease-fire efforts stumble "The renewed diplomatic push came after what Palestinians said...

West African countries announce new measures to stop Ebola spread "Ebola has killed 672 people in Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone since it was first diagnosed in February. The pathogen has no known cure, although chances of survival improve dramatically with early detection and treatment."

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Current Issue
The science is clear, but the way forward is not
By Judith Brett
Illustration
In April this year, Fiona Stanley told ABC’s Radio National that she was “anxious and angry” because the politicised climate-change agenda had led to the denigration of climate science and scientists. Stanley, one of Australia’s foremost experts in child health and a former...
Current Issue
Behind the scenes with the young Aussie comedian
By Ronnie Scott
The sharehouse on the corner looks normal from the outside, like any of the sharehouses found all over Melbourne’s inner north.
Current Issue
How neonatal intensive care units rescue the tiniest infants
By Rachel Buchanan
I stand in the quiet corridor and wait for permission to go in. Minutes pass. Carl Kuschel pushes the swing doors open and nods. He squirts green disinfectant on his hands. I do the same, rubbing my palms together. We enter the realm of the tiny.
Current Issue
Margaret Inamuka
Being a magistrate in the Eastern Highlands is not for the faint of heart
By Alana Rosenbaum
Early on a Monday morning, Margaret Inamuka woke to the sound of her mobile phone ringing. “The boys are on their way,” the caller confided, and then hung up. A raid on Inamuka’s village, Aseoka, was imminent. Hundreds of men were planning to charge down the dirt road, setting fire to houses and slaughtering livestock.
August 2014
Catching a ride with strangers is harder than it looks
By Robert Skinner
I stood outside Pakenham a hopeful man, trying to hitch a ride from Melbourne to Sydney. I watched all the sensible people drive past. After two hours I was so sunburnt I looked embarrassed to be there.
July 2014
How network companies lined their pockets and drove electricity prices through the roof
By Jess Hill
Electricity workers in Brisbane. © Tim Marsden / Newspix
In the past few years, our electricity prices have doubled. While the media has feasted on the likes of pink batts, Peter Slipper and Craig Thomson, the astonishing story behind these price hikes has been all but ignored. And yet, it may be one of the greatest rorts in Australia...
Current Issue
Behind the wobbleboard
By Peter Conrad
Rolf Harris performing 'Jake the Peg' in 1966. © Bill Orchard / Rex Features
“Guilty on all counts, Your Honour.” So said Rolf Harris, weeping in contrition.
July 2014
Remembering “the oldest living transsexual in captivity”
By Meshel Laurie
Claudette was one of the oldest transsexual ladies we had on offer in our brothel. One of the oldest, but unchallenged for the title of meanest.

New

August 2014
The 'Augmented Australia' app in action. © Alexander Mayes Photography
At the 14th Venice Architecture Biennale, ‘Augmented Australia’ fails to impress
By David Neustein
Draped across the construction site of the new Australian pavilion in Venice’s Biennale gardens is a banner that brashly proclaims, “UNBUILT LEGENDS”. On the opposite side of the nearby canal, a vivid Uluru-orange tent houses Australia’s exhibition at the 14th Venice Architecture Biennale.
August 2014
Anne Manne’s ‘The Life of I’ takes aim at a modern epidemic
By Linda Jaivin
A recent cartoon by Alan Moir depicts four people sitting around a table: a woman in a wheelchair, an elderly man, a youth and, taking up as much space as the other three put together, a large middle-aged man in an expensive-looking suit.
August 2014
David Gulpilil brings Rolf de Heer’s ‘Charlie’s Country’ alive, but Nick Cave can’t save Iain Forsyth and Jane Pollard’s ’20,000 Days on Earth’
By Luke Davies
David Gulpilil
“You’re going to report to me weekly,” says a parole officer (Bojana Novakovic) to Charlie (David Gulpilil). He’s about to be released from a stint in a Darwin prison in Rolf de Heer’s new film, Charlie’s Country (in national release). “You’re going to show up on time. And...
August 2014
Netflix; Foxtel Showcase
By Anwyn Crawford
Orange Is the New Black
In the concluding scene of Orange Is the New Black’s first season, we left the show’s ostensible protagonist, Piper Chapman, in a prison-yard fight to the possible death with her fellow inmate Tiffany “Pennsatucky” Doggett, a wild-eyed, rotten-toothed, Bible-bashing former meth...
August 2014
Timbaland and Boyz II Men haunt FKA Twigs’ ‘LP1’ and How To Dress Well’s ‘What Is This Heart?”
By Anwyn Crawford
A spectre is haunting contemporary pop music – the spectre of Timbaland.