Australian politics, society & culture

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Tony Abbott presents Rosie Batty with the 2015 Australian of the Year award, 25 January 2015. © Mick Tsikas / AAP
The costs and causes of domestic violence
By Jess Hill

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. We say we’re horrified, and wonder what could possibly make a man hurt a woman he claims to love. Does he drink? Take drugs? Was he stressed, unemployed, frustrated? Did she provoke him? What could make a man lose control like that? There must be some reason for it.

Current Issue
Our politicians have paltry ideas and express them poorly
By Don Watson
A study in the United States has revealed that in the first four years of life children of professional parents will hear 30 million more words than children from families on welfare.
Current Issue
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.
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.
Behind the scenes of ‘Maximum Choppage’, a new kung-fu comedy
Benjamin Law
You wouldn’t have seen many Asian faces on Australian television in the late ’80s and early ’90s, despite the fact that by 1990 roughly a third of all new immigrants were Asian. Soap operas had their moments.

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Fairfax's Matthew Knott reports that the government is considering an entirely new compromise proposal to get its university fee deregulation package through the Senate. The proposal by Bruce Chapman and David Phillips...
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Bali 9 prisoners transferred from Kerobokan to execution island under heavy military guard "The development comes amid signs of a breakdown in communication between the Indonesian and Australian governments, with Foreign Affairs...

Syrian conflict as the first climate change war "Global warming intensified the region’s worst-ever drought, pushing the country into civil war by destroying agriculture and forcing an exodus to cities already straining from poverty, an...

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December 2014
150 years ago, the Cooper-Duff children got lost in the Victorian bush
By Lisa Clausen
The small bush memorial isn’t easy to find but Rob Isaacson knows the way. He turns his four-wheel drive off the rough track and, using a borrowed key, opens the first of several gates. A crane slowly takes off into a darkening sky as we bump across fields of golden stubble. Fat...
December 2014
The women of outback Queensland kick off their heels in Australia’s smallest town
By Emilie Zoey Baker
The sign cheerfully boasts, “Welcome to Betoota, Population 0”. Our charter plane sets down amid the swirling desert dust and parks next to other airborne arrivals at the racetrack shed.
November 2014
When the death of an old friend becomes tabloid fodder
By Luke Davies
“One man dead, another in hospital following Redfern double stabbing,” the headline read. I glanced over the story. It sounded seedy, brutal.
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.
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.
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
The president of Kiribati goes on a fact-finding mission in the Arctic
By John van Tiggelen
Anote Tong, president of Kiribati, on Svalbard.
In the late 16th century, the Dutch mariner Willem Barents spent three consecutive summers in the Arctic Ocean, scouting for a shortcut to the East Indies. The midnight sun, he figured, would surely blaze him a path. Yet he struck only ice beyond the 80th parallel. On top of...
December 2014
Road freight is expensive, dirty and dangerous. Why are our governments addicted to it?
By Paul Cleary
The reach of the billionaire trucking magnate Lindsay Fox extends far beyond the distinctive red and gold Linfox trucks that operate on the nation’s highways in ever increasing numbers.

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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
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.
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. Nor is it because we have yet to see whether the...
December 2014
Naomi Klein’s ‘This Changes Everything’
By Robert Manne
There is nothing in history even remotely as momentous as what humankind is now doing in full knowledge of the facts – gradually destroying the habitability of large parts of the Earth for humans and other species by burning fossil fuels in ever-increasing quantities to meet our...
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.