Australian politics, society & culture

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Marco and Nick Nikitaras
Coles, Woolworths and the price we pay for their domination
By Malcolm Knox

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. Glass cases present dioramas of stuffed olives, mushrooms and peppers; above them hang fragrant salami; the shelves are packed with Tasmanian wine and crusty loaves. In the fresh vegetables section, greens glisten and truss tomatoes blush.

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.
Archive
What is the mining mogul’s higher calling?
By Ramon Glazov
Frances Andrijich / Headpress
This might have been an awkward time for Forrest to mention his friendship with Kevin Rudd.
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’
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.”
Russell Marks
Recently The Monthly published online a collection of excerpts from real history essays by undergraduate university students. ‘A Rich History of Failure’, by pseudonymous author ‘Professor Neve R.
Earlier this year Rachel Nolan, former minister in Anna Bligh's Queensland Labor government, wrote about Tony Abbott's "favourite minority": the "older, private school-educated, conservative white men" whom he has appointed to key...
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Israel and Hamas agree to three-day truce "Israel and Hamas agreed to an unconditional 72-hour humanitarian ceasefire to begin at 8am local time today, said US secretary of State John Kerry and UN general secretary Ban Ki-Moon last night in a joint statement."

Arab leaders, viewing Hamas as worse than Israel, stay silent "Battling Palestinian militants in Gaza two years ago, Israel found itself pressed from all sides by unfriendly Arab neighbors to end the fighting. Not this time."

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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.
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. After five hours they were still roaring past, and when a car did finally swerve off the road to pick me up – like talkback radio, it was filled with lunatics.
Current Issue
Adventures in the artefact business
By Peter Robb
When you approach the entrance to the Art Gallery of New South Wales (AGNSW) on the edge of Sydney’s Domain, you see exactly what the local establishment had in mind when they commissioned its design in the last decade of the 19th century.
July 2014
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...
July 2014
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
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.