Australian politics, society & culture

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The time of the modern mariner
By Claire Corbett
The Royal Australian Navy (RAN) is blessed. From where I stand on the deck of HMAS Supply at Garden Island, the waters of Sydney Harbour glitter in the light breeze and sunshine of early October. Yesterday, 16 elegant tall ships battled to enter the heads against strong winds and heavy rain, but today the sky is cloudless. Warships from 17 countries steam past (the modern navy likes to preserve such traditional parlance) to help the RAN celebrate. It’s 100 years since the battle cruiser HMAS Australia led the “Magnificent Seven”, the original seven warships of our very own navy, into Sydney Harbour on 4 October 1913. Alongside the International Fleet Review are two other big but much less public events: PACIFIC13, an international maritime trade show for defence contractors, and the Sea Power Conference. I glance at the media kit. “Prepare...
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One terrible night on the Newcastle line
By David Kelly
A sound of stomping echoes from the cells beneath the Newcastle Supreme Court. A sheriff appears, leading Nathan “Ninzo” Isherwood up the stairs and into the glass confines of the dock. Thirty-year-old Isherwood is white, of medium height, and his mouth is clamped shut. His hair is...
April 2014
By Anwyn Crawford
Muppets Most Wanted and The Grand Budapest Hotel both have plots that involve wrongful imprisonments. I know who I felt most sorry for, and it wasn’t Ralph Fiennes as Monsieur Gustave H., a hotel concierge turned convict in Wes Anderson’s latest concoction. No — like Tina Fey, my...
April 2014
By Michaela McGuire
The ABC is expected to settle a defamation case with News Corp columnist Chris Kenny this week, following ABC Managing Director Mark Scott’s formal apology for controversial sketch that aired last September on The Chaser’s The Hamster Decides depicting Kenny having sex with a dog.  Kenny has long been critical of the ABC, and just weeks ago wrote a column for The...
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The Liberals' winner-takes-all political payback
By Judith Brett
When Robert Menzies won elections, he would reassure voters that he would govern not just on behalf of those who voted for him but also on behalf of those who didn’t. It was a promise to put the national interest above partisan interests and a recognition that almost half of the electorate always votes for the other side. In his victory speech last year, Tony Abbott repeated...
The fallout from yesterday’s resignation of New South Wales premier Barry O’Farrell must settle on the issue of lobbying in Australian politics. Tony Abbott’s extraordinary defence yesterday of O’Farrell’s...
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South Korean shipwreck survivors: Passengers told 'don't move' as ship sank "Passengers aboard a sinking South Korean ferry faced a terrifying choice as the vessel rolled: obey commands barked over loudspeakers to stay in place, or don life vests and jump into the...

Mike Baird set to be next NSW Premier "Gladys Berejiklian was understood to have had a slight edge over Mr Baird as counting of numbers continued overnight, but told him she would not run in the interests of party unity, given the prospect of a split partyroom vote....

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By Robyn Annear
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By Alice Pung
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By Mark McKenna
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The lucrative world of private security contractors
By James Brown
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How the left was lost
By Christos Tsiolkas
March 2014
Behind the rhetoric of protesters and promoters
By Richard King
On the morning of 6 November 2000, Ken Crew was finishing his regular swim off the popular, and usually placid, beach of North Cottesloe, a 500-metre stretch of sand in a well-to-do western suburb of Perth. It was around 6.30, and the 49-year-old Crew, a businessman and father...
Current Issue
A week among the arts in the City of Light
By Robyn Annear
Barry Humphries likened it to a giant shish kebab. Fifteen artless lumps of ore skewered on a 14-metre pipe from an oil drill, stood upright in a public park. That’s the Ore Obelisk, planted on Perth’s busy St Georges Terrace in 1972 to celebrate Western Australia...
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A car accident brings an unlikely collection of people together
By Helen Garner
Melbourne, Friday, 8 am. In the extreme right-hand lane of the Western Ring Road, three social workers and a writer, or two men and two women, or a married couple and two singletons, were heading at speed for South Australia, when Jim at the wheel cursed under his breath and...

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By Shane Maloney and Chris Grosz
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Sophie Hyde's '52 Tuesdays'
By Lawrence Weschler
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Ceridwen Dovey
By Richard King
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Lorrie Moore
By Catherine Ford
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Kanye West
By Anwyn Crawford