Australian politics, society & culture

Current Issue
Women could use a little of the shameless confidence men take for granted
By Annabel Crabb

The letter was kind of magnificent. It came by post (a declining tradition; these days such missives are much more likely to plop balefully into my ABC inbox) and was marked with the high-end Melbourne address of the writer, a man with whom I was not previously acquainted. Subject, in bold: “THE WIFE DROUGHT.”

“Dear Ms Crabb,” it began.

May 2015
How the television adaptation of ‘Wolf Hall’ transcends the usual Tudor tale
By Benjamin Law
Several months back, the United Kingdom fell victim to an illness so contagious that it tore through the adult population at an average rate of 4.4 million people per week. They had come down with Wolf Hall fever.
April 2015
What’s behind Bjorn Lomborg’s job at the University of WA?
By Mungo MacCallum
The adjunct professor–designate of the new “consensus centre” at the University of Western Australia, Bjorn Lomborg, is not a climatologist.
Ten years of struggle and success in indigenous Australia
Noel Pearson
I’ve been to many remote places in Australia, but this is entirely new to me. I don’t know the desert. From the air, the vastness of the rolling dunes, green after the summer rain, is beguiling, as is the mild weather when we land. But I’ve been to enough places in the north of the country to know that come October this land is harder than any place I know. I’m travelling to the Pilbara...
Australia has cheerfully grown complacent, self-absorbed and selfish
Robert Manne
For Malcolm Fraser, who saw what was happening

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Scott McIntyre’s sacking highlights our confusion about social media
Sean Kelly

Nepal earthquake: thousands in need of shelter in country little able to cope Rescuers used their bare hands, with no protective gear or heat detectors, in their optimistic search for survivors. The narrow alleys would stop cranes, earthmovers or diggers reaching...

West-led world order ‘obsolete’: Indonesian president  “President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo showcased a new face of Indonesia before Asian and African leaders on Wednesday by delivering a strong yet straightforward speech criticizing inequality resulting from the unjust West-led world. During...

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Current Issue
Child survivors of the Holocaust meet in Melbourne
By Jaye Kranz
In September 2013, a tri-colour ad in the Australian Jewish News asked in bold all-caps: “Are you or is a member of your family a child survivor of the Holocaust?” It continued, “Urgently seeking the number of child survivors … as part of negotiations with the German Government...
March 2015
Rita Zammit is Victoria’s newest Supreme Court justice and a soccer tragic
By Tony Wilson
In the hours before the Asian Cup semifinal in Newcastle, Rita Zammit was in a travelling circle of ten, debating Socceroos team selection and whether her friend Dianne’s corna [n. orig.
March 2015
The Adelaide Zoo has a chequered past
By Anna Goldsworthy
When we visit the Adelaide Zoo, I usually have a destination in mind, but my two-year-old has his own agenda. It begins with the capybaras, the world’s largest rodents: doleful, improbable creatures, like guinea pigs re-imagined by Lewis Carroll.
Current Issue
© Nick Moir / Fairfax Syndication
A life in accidents
By Tim Winton
One summer night, after a few hours surfcasting for tailor, my father and I were driving home along a lonely road between the dunes and the bush. I felt snug and a little sleepy in the passenger’s seat, but it was my job to keep the gas lantern from tipping over, so I clamped it tight between my heels and resisted the urge to drift off. We’d gone down at sunset and caught a feed, but at the age...
Current Issue
How economic modelling is used to circumvent democracy and shut down debate
By Richard Denniss
Most people think it is hard to put a dollar value on a human life, but they’re wrong. It’s easy. Economists do it all the time.
December 2014
Gambler and MONA founder David Walsh has written a book
By Amanda Lohrey
The Museum of Old and New Art (MONA) in Hobart is an underground labyrinth, often dimly lit, but its founder’s domestic apartment is a glassy sunlit box, the light so bright I consider killing eye contact and putting on my sunglasses. David Walsh is warm and engaging, quite...
March 2015
Which hill is Labor’s light on again?
By Rachel Nolan
Tanya Plibersek, Bill Shorten and Anthony Albanese. © Neil Moore
We’re squeezed in, hundreds of sweaty bodies pressed against one another in the aptly named Greenhouse tent. It’s 30 December 2014, and two days of tropical downpours have been followed by a full day’s searing heat. We’re at Woodford Folk Festival, north-west of Brisbane,...
February 2015
How online organisation can give power back to the people
By Tim Flannery and Catriona Wallace
In 458 BC, with Rome facing imminent defeat by the combined forces of the Aequi and the Sabines, the Senate declared Lucius Quinctius Cincinnatus dictator of the city for six months. The retired statesman, an aristocrat of reduced means, drove off Rome’s enemies.


May 2015
A fresh take on horror in David Robert Mitchell’s ‘It Follows’
By Luke Davies
“This thing. It’s gonna follow you. Someone gave it to me, and I passed it to you.” An improbably simple premise launches – and anchors – It Follows (in limited release), David Robert Mitchell’s moody homage to ’70s horror. Despite its retro aesthetic, the film doesn’t just feel like a John Carpenter throwback.
April 2015
Clive James’ ‘Sentenced to Life’ and Les Murray’s ‘Waiting for the Past’
By Justin Clemens
We are entering the old age of humanity.
February 2015
The Gothic horror of Bennett Miller’s ‘Foxcatcher’
By Luke Davies
“I want to talk about America, and I want to tell you why I wrestle,” says a very awkward Mark Schultz (Channing Tatum) to a class of bored, bemused but polite primary schoolers, in Foxcatcher (in national release), Bennett Miller’s largely compelling dramatisation of a strange...
April 2015
By Anna Goldsworthy
The title of Jill Soloway’s new comedy-drama series for Amazon Studios, Transparent, speaks of a desire to be seen as who you truly are. It also refers, literally, to a trans parent. Soloway, a former writer and executive producer for Six Feet Under and United States of Tara,...
February 2015
‘No Cities To Love’: The triumphant return of Sleater-Kinney
By Anwen Crawford
People were cheap,” writes George Packer in his book The Unwinding: Thirty years of American decline (2013).