Australian politics, society & culture

August 2014
David Gulpilil
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

“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 another condition is that you’ll be banned from buying alcohol.”

“I’m giving up drinking anyway,” beams Charlie.

“That’s good,” says the parole officer. “And you won’t be allowed to associate with known drinkers.”

“Everyone in this country are known drinkers!” laughs Charlie.

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.
August 2014
Our obsession with vitamins is getting out of hand
By Karen Hitchcock
Last summer I was swimming at my local pool. It was almost midday and I knew I should get out and under cover to protect my skin, but the cool water and warm sun felt good, and I reasoned that I could probably do with a dose of vitamin D.
The science is clear, but the way forward is not
Judith Brett
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.
A review of Snowpiercer
Anwyn Crawford
Thirty years ago John Hurt lent his crumpled mien and instantly recognisable voice to Michael Radford’s filmic adaptation of George Orwell’s Nineteen Eighty-Four. Hurt played Winston Smith, the quiet revolutionary, opposite Richard Burton in his final role as the Inner Party member and Thought Police agent O’Brien.
Crikey's "Poll Bludger", which aggregates all major opinion polls, records that a large and persistent shift in the two-party preference occurred as budget details began leaking in about April this year. It seems clear that voters don...
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Cease-fire in Gaza breaks down "A humanitarian truce that had given residents of the Gaza Strip a respite from nearly three weeks of fighting crumbled on Sunday after militants there fired a barrage of rockets into Israel and Israeli forces responded with limited airstrikes and...

Air Algérie plane crash brings week's airliner death toll to 450 "An Algerian aircraft carrying 110 passengers and six crew crashed in northern Africa early on Thursday with the apparent death of all on board – the third airliner disaster in a week."

Also: ...

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Current Issue
A decision on our underwater fleet cannot be put off much longer
By Claire Corbett
Illustration
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...
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.
Current Issue
How the end of Gunns cleared a new path for Tasmania
By John van Tiggelen
Ship-loading tower, Triabunna mill wharf. © Mike Bowers
Four years ago, Greg L’Estrange, the chief executive of the Tasmanian forestry behemoth Gunns Ltd, raised the white flag in the state’s so-called forest wars. Environmentalists had triumphed, and Gunns, he announced to the stunned audience at an industry conference in Melbourne...
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.
Current Issue
How network companies lined their pockets and drove electricity prices through the roof
By Jess Hill
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.

New

August 2014
Orange Is the New Black
Netflix; Foxtel Showcase
By Anwyn Crawford
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 addict.
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
At the 14th Venice Architecture Biennale, ‘Augmented Australia’ fails to impress
By David Neustein
The 'Augmented Australia' app in action. © Alexander Mayes Photography
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...
August 2014
Timbaland and Boyz II Men haunt FKA Twigs’ ‘LP1’ and How To Dress Well’s ‘What Is This Heart?”
By Anwyn Crawford
FKA Twigs
A spectre is haunting contemporary pop music – the spectre of Timbaland. America’s R&B super-producer – real name Timothy Mosley – is still very much alive, but his astonishing work at the millennium’s turn with artists like Missy Elliott, Aaliyah and Ginuwine hovers in the...
July 2014
Black Inc.; $24.99
By Mark McKenna
As an Australian schoolboy in the 1950s, John Hirst was taught “British history, geography and poetry” and sang ‘God Save the Queen’ at assembly.