Australian politics, society & culture

July 2015
The author of ‘This House of Grief’ and ‘Joe Cinque’s Consolation’ on writing about darkness
By 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. When the book came out I was struck by the number of interviewers whose opening question was “What made you interested in this case?” It always sounded to me like a coded reproach: “Is there something weird or peculiar about you, that you would spend seven years thinking about a story like this?”

July 2015
The papal encyclical is the first work that has risen to the full challenge of climate change
By Robert Manne
When I was young the intellectual milieu was shaped by the need to come to terms with the unprecedented crimes and the general moral collapse that had taken place on European soil following the outbreak of great power conflict in August 1914 – Hitler and Stalin, the Holocaust and the Gulag, the c
July 2015
Musicians on film in Asif Kapadia’s ‘Amy’, Bill Pohlad’s ‘Love & Mercy’ and Mia Hansen-Løve’s ‘Eden’
By Luke Davies
“She didn’t really know how to be that thing that she had been pushed to become,” says Yasiin Bey (aka rapper and producer Mos Def) of singer Amy Winehouse.
Talk of stripping citizenship is just one example of Tony Abbott’s alarmist rhetoric
Mark McKenna
One week after Tony Abbott was elected in September 2013, the “possum-infested” Lodge was undergoing renovation and Australia’s new prime minister was looking for temporary accommodation. Abbott’s choice – a modest flat in the Australian Federal Police (AFP) College in Canberra – saw him “bunk down” with AFP recruits.
The factual argument on climate change is over. Now lobbyists are trying to make a moral case for fossil fuels
Ketan Joshi
Pope Francis’ encyclical Laudato Si’, released yesterday, emphatically states the need for urgent climate action, and unequivocally admonishes those who deny the problem exists.

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We still don’t know enough about what Abbott and Shorten have planned
Sean Kelly

Multiparty same-sex marriage bill to be introduced in August “Prime Minister Tony Abbott has slapped down a cross-party attempt to legalise same-sex marriage, but faces six weeks of potentially divisive debate over the issue, with conservative MPs...

Greece defaults on IMF payment despite last-minute overtures to creditors “The IMF confirmed that Greece had not made its scheduled 1.6 billion euro loan repayment to the fund. As a result, IMF Managing Director Christine Lagarde will report to the global lender's board that Greece is "in arrears," the...

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June 2015
Australian universities need US-style funding, not US-style fees
By Linda Jaivin
Every Friday the 13th and Leap Day is Carberry Day on the campus of Brown University, in Providence, Rhode Island. It is named for Josiah S Carberry, the university’s famous professor of psychoceramics (the study of “cracked pots”). Carberry himself is an elusive figure, never...
June 2015
A win for David Cameron and the Conservatives in the UK was inevitable
By Guy Rundle
“Pull over here,” I told the driver of the black cab as I spotted a bottle shop. We were headed out of the tangle of London’s Piccadilly Circus to the boho-prosperous calm of Primrose Hill, an old haunt of threadbare leftists, now gone upmarket.
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
Too many kangaroos loose in Canberra
By Sam Vincent
The eastern grey kangaroo has a top speed of 60 kilometres per hour. By the end of its life, my ute could do 80. The comparison is not academic: driving home from parties in my early 20s, my muffler farting through Canberra’s northern fringe, mobs of 10, 20, 30 roos would slip out of the dawn and chaperone me across the NSW border. I’d slow down; they’d slow down.
Current Issue
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.
April 2015
How economic modelling is used to circumvent democracy and shut down debate
By Richard Denniss
Joe Hockey, Mathias Cormann and Kelly O'Dwyer gather around the Intergenerational Report in March. © Mick Tsikas / AAP
Most people think it is hard to put a dollar value on a human life, but they’re wrong. It’s easy. Economists do it all the time. Most people think that all human lives are equally valuable. And most think economic modelling is boring, irrelevant to their busy lives, and...
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
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.

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July 2015
Power and resistance at the 56th Venice Biennale
By Julie Ewington
The Venice Biennale is the biggest show in town, in any town. Of all the international biennials and triennials that showcase contemporary art, it is the oldest, the grandest.
May 2015
David Malouf’s extraordinary musings on life and art
By David Marr
For the past year Knopf has been publishing elegant collections of David Malouf’s essays, reviews, speeches, prefaces and, now, libretti. You strain to tell one volume from another. The covers are absurdly sober and nothing is made of that famous face.
April 2015
Clive James’ ‘Sentenced to Life’ and Les Murray’s ‘Waiting for the Past’
By Justin Clemens
We are entering the old age of humanity. As Franco Berardi puts it in The Uprising (subtitled, of all things, On poetry and finance), “Energy is fading because of the demographic trend: mankind is growing old, as a whole, because of the prolongation of life expectancy, and...
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
How the television adaptation of ‘Wolf Hall’ transcends the usual Tudor tale
By Benjamin Law
Several months back, the United Kingdom fell victim to an illness so contagious that it tore through the adult population at an average rate of 4.4 million people per week. They had come down with Wolf Hall fever.
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