Australian politics, society & culture

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Joe Hockey and the myth of Coalition economic management
By Richard Denniss

I remember my first lesson in economics like it was yesterday. I’d never heard a bigger bunch of crap in my life. It made no sense. The assumptions were flawed. The examples were ridiculous and the conclusions worse.

June 2015
There’s only one way the Greek crisis will end
By Satyajit Das
The final outcome of the Greek debt crisis has been obvious from the beginning. The Hellenic nation will need to restructure its debt, writing off a substantial portion of what it owes. It may need to leave the Eurozone.
June 2015
Where does the idea of an Australian debt crisis come from, and what does it mean?
By Chris Wallace
The economic common sense peddled in contemporary Australia is that we are a high-taxing, high-spending, heavily indebted country burdened with terrible cost of living pressures and a welfare system that is too generous, and that something has to be done about it. Does this stack up?
The author of ‘This House of Grief’ and ‘Joe Cinque’s Consolation’ on writing about darkness
Helen Garner
Last year I published This House of Grief, a book about the trials of a Victorian man, Robert Farquharson, who was found guilty of drowning his three young sons in revenge against his former wife.
The Pope’s encyclical raises questions that Tony Abbott can’t dodge forever
Mungo MacCallum
The Pope’s encyclical on climate change has produced the predictable shruggings-off and dismissals from the conservatives, even among his most devout supporters.

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The budget wasn’t the political success it seemed at the time
Sean Kelly

Tsipras triumphs as Greece votes against austerity “As the euro dropped in Asian trading and Tsipras’s supporters filled Athens’s central Syntagma Square waving Greek flags, German Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President Francois Hollande called for an emergency...

A scientific ethical divide between China and west “Scientists around the world were shocked in April when a team led by Huang Junjiu, 34, at Sun Yat-sen University in Guangzhou, published the results of an experiment in editing the genes of human embryos. The technology, called...

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June 2015
Master perfumer Jonathon Midgley concocts some unusual scents
By Ceridwen Dovey
The scents of the seven deadly sins, in miniature sampling vials of varying shades of amber and green, are arranged on my work desk. In preparation for interviewing Jonathon Midgley, a master perfumer whose Brisbane laboratory was commissioned to create these scents for a...
June 2015
The Corporate Fighter course gets white-collar workers in the boxing ring
By Alex McClintock
An old-timer could be forgiven for not recognising the Corporate Fitness Centre in Sydney’s Surry Hills as a boxing gym. It’s too clean, for one thing, and too well lit.
May 2015
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.
Current Issue
© Dave Tacon
The children left behind by Australian sex tourists in the Philippines
By Margaret Simons
The sky bruises at the same time each day in Angeles City. Then the rain comes. The weather is so similar – steamy heat, then rain and evening relief – that it can seem as though time is circular, and the same day recurs. It can seem that life in this Philippine city is lived on a vast wheel of actions without consequences.
June 2015
Richard Di Natale and a new leadership team hit the mainstream
By Amanda Lohrey
The Tasmanian era is over. Since its formation as a national party in 1992, the Australian Greens has been led by Tasmanian senators: first Bob Brown and then Christine Milne.
April 2015
New light on the wreck of the ‘Batavia’ and its savage aftermath
By Jeff Sparrow
At the University of Western Australia’s Centre for Forensic Science in Perth, the skeletons lie on tables, stretched out beside plastic tubs of pelvic fragments, bags of unmatched toes and samples of island sand. Daniel Franklin, the forensic anthropologist, gestures at one of...
May 2015
Ten years of struggle and success in indigenous Australia
By Noel Pearson
Noel Pearson and Tony Abbott
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...
April 2015
What’s next for the perpetual deputy?
By Chris Wallace
It is a late summer evening, and a woman in a silver gown glides towards the Sydney Opera House. Nicholas Milton observes her as he walks to work.


July 2015
The literary comic novel and Steve Toltz’s ‘Quicksand’
By Richard Cooke
“Well, the comic novel, I feel, is perhaps the most difficult form a writer can attempt. I can think of only three or four successful ones – Cakes and Ale, Count Bruga, and Lucky Jim.” That’s SJ Perelman talking to the Paris Review in 1963.
May 2015
Róisín Murphy ends an eight-year absence from pop with ‘Hairless Toys’
By Anwen Crawford
Róisín Murphy has all the characteristics of a great pop star, except fame. She’s got the poise, she’s got the voice – a light, supple contralto, which she can bend from seductive to sardonic and back again – and, most importantly, she’s got the look.
April 2015
Sufjan Stevens’ ‘Carrie & Lowell’
By Anwen Crawford
Why don’t I hate Sufjan Stevens? He plays the banjo. He plays the oboe. His stage shows have included hula hoops and cheerleaders. He has yet to meet an encyclopaedia entry that he couldn’t turn into a concept album, and he has released two five-disc box sets of Christmas songs...
June 2015
Punk and gospel influences combine to make the personal political on Algiers’ self-titled debut
By Anwen Crawford
Image of Algiers
Late in April, as protests grew in Baltimore over the death of an African-American man, Freddie Gray, who died after sustaining a severe spinal injury while in police custody, a young black Baltimore resident named Kwame Rose confronted Fox News reporter Geraldo Rivera over the...
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.