Australian politics, society & culture

Current Issue
Dibirdibi Country (2012), Mirdidingkingathi Juwarnda (Mrs Gabori).
The meteoric career of Kaiadilt painter Mirdidingkingathi Juwarnda
By Quentin Sprague

By any measure, Mrs Gabori’s rise was stellar. When the Kaiadilt artist began painting in 2005 she was aged in her early 80s, already a long-term resident in her community’s old people’s home. Her big, brashly colourful and seemingly abstract renderings of her traditional country almost immediately gained a foothold in a then-booming market. Within months of picking up a brush on her adopted home of Mornington Island – the largest of a scatter known as the Wellesley islands in the southern Gulf of Carpentaria, in Queensland – she had held her first solo exhibition.

March 2015
The government’s approach to the Future Submarine project is all at sea
By Claire Corbett
There are two ways of dealing with a decision that seems too difficult, such as the one we face with Australia’s Future Submarine project. The previous federal Labor government chose the first way, which was to do nothing for many years.
Current Issue
The costs and causes of domestic violence
By Jess Hill
Tony Abbott presents Rosie Batty with the 2015 Australian of the Year award, 25 January 2015. © Mick Tsikas / AAP
After decades of ignoring domestic violence, Australians have learnt to condemn it. The statistics are now well known: a woman is murdered at least every week, another hospitalised every three hours.
Rita Zammit is Victoria’s newest Supreme Court justice and a soccer tragic
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. Italian; dark power summoned by waggling the index finger and pinkie in the direction of opposition players] worked against the colour red. Her phone rang.
Kazuo Ishiguro’s ‘The Buried Giant’
Helen Elliott
Game of Thrones tickled my views about fantasy into tolerance, but when I saw that The Buried Giant is set around 450 AD my shoulders fell. Sword fights? Chain mail? Both. But it’s OK. Kazuo Ishiguro’s choice of setting is, as expected, fastidious.

Keep up-to-date with Australian politics, society and culture, for FREE.

The 2015 Intergenerational Report (IGR) all but ignores climate change, superannuation and technological automation, which should be enough to render it meaningless. And that's mostly how it's being interpreted....
Read More

The gangsters of Ferguson "Officer Darren Wilson was innocent. If only the city's cops offered their own citizens the same due process he received."

US calls on Ferguson to overhaul criminal justice system "The Justice Department declared that Ferguson had engaged in so many constitutional violations that they could...

Read More
January 2015
Love Makes a Way are taking a seat against asylum-seeker policy
By Stella Gray
On the morning of 10 December 2014, an assortment of pastors, ministers and priests entered the electoral office of Foreign Minister Julie Bishop in Perth, rang the bell, and sat down to pray. When office staff appeared, they were told the reason for the group’s presence: it was...
December 2014
The world’s biggest radio telescope is under construction in Western Australia
By Michael Lucy
At Boolardy Station, 300 kilometres north-east of Geraldton, on Wajarri Yamatji land in the remote West Australian shire of Murchison, scientists are slowly reconfiguring a patch of the Earth’s surface into a gigantic eye gazing outward.
December 2014
Remembering Gough Whitlam puts modern Labor to shame
By Don Watson
Gough Whitlam had just died, and on the ABC TV program The Drum John Hewson and Craig Emerson were offering us their thoughts. During his time as leader of the Liberal Party 20 years ago, Hewson was a febrile embodiment of everything that Whitlam wasn’t.
Current Issue
Tanya Plibersek, Bill Shorten and Anthony Albanese. © Neil Moore
Which hill is Labor’s light on again?
By Rachel Nolan
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, waiting to hear a speaker.
February 2015
One mother’s campaign to fix overcrowding in Sydney’s schools
By Ceridwen Dovey
Steph Croft never set out to become a whistleblower. But in 2012 the financial analyst and mother of two teenagers began to realise something was going horribly wrong with schools planning.
November 2014
Tanya Plibersek plays it cool
By John van Tiggelen
In her recent autobiography, the former prime minister Julia Gillard conceded that back in 2006, when she was manoeuvring to install Kevin Rudd as the leader of the ALP, she’d mistaken Kim Beazley’s “more nuanced understanding of electoral politics” for a “lack of interest in...
December 2014
Does the future belong to “sharing economy” companies like Uber and Airbnb?
By Linda Jaivin
My introduction to what is now called the “sharing economy” came in the mid ’90s on the road to Byron Bay. My boyfriend at the time was a candle-maker; we were driving up to the first Homebake music festival in a Kombi packed with candles, candelabras and an inflatable boat....
November 2014
Australia has produced only six true rock stars
By Robert Forster
April 1981. The Brisbane-based band The Go-Betweens, with whom I am a vocalist, guitarist and songwriter, are in Sydney to record a single. We are staying with friends in Darlinghurst, and early on a Sunday morning I go for a walk.

New

February 2015
‘James Turrell: A Retrospective’ at the National Gallery of Australia, Canberra
By Benjamin Law
Deep in the Arizona desert lives a man who has spent half his life creating an observatory at the dead heart of a 389,000-year-old volcano. His motivation isn’t religion or science, but art. After spotting Roden Crater from a plane in 1974, the American artist James Turrell knew he had to somehow acquire this 180-metre-tall cone of cinder and create his magnum opus – inside the thing.
December 2014
Queen Victoria Gardens, Melbourne
By David Neustein
It’s too early to judge the success of MPavilion. This is not because its pilot program of events, taking place in and around the first of the architect-designed temporary pavilions that will be replaced each year, is ongoing.
December 2014
Black Inc.; $29.99
By Simon Caterson
Our ancestors are always with us. It is precisely this enduring if elusive presence, inscribed in our genetic inheritance and manifested in sometimes less rational aspects of humanity, that interests Christine Kenneally. Like many of us at some point in our life, Kenneally is...
December 2014
Nick Drake
By Anwen Crawford
Forty years ago, the ashes of the English singer-songwriter Nick Drake were interred in the graveyard of St Mary Magdalene parish church, in the Warwickshire village of Tanworth-in-Arden. Drake grew up in the village, in a comfortable country house named Far Leys, and, after a...
December 2014
Lena Dunham’s ‘Not That Kind of Girl’
By Anna Goldsworthy
There are many things people hate about Lena Dunham, the young creator and star of the hit HBO series Girls: her privilege, her chubbiness, her unapologetic nudity, her on-screen sex with better-looking people, the fluffy pink dress she wore to the Emmys.