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
By Guy Rundle
“This is our TV studio,” Assange says, ushering me into a room jumbled with cameras, microphones and cable-festooned laptops. “We built it from scratch.”
Cycling through cinema
Anwyn Crawford
Mere seconds into the history of cinema a bicycle makes its debut appearance, in the Lumière brothers’ La Sortie des usines Lumière à Lyon (Workers Leaving the Lumière Factory in Lyon). It was the world’s first motion picture, shown in 1895 at the world’s first public cinema screening, which was hosted by Auguste and Louis Lumière in the basement of a Paris café.
John Maloney
A recent article in the New Statesman, by an avowedly privileged white guy decrying white male privilege, featured the following stretch of earnest chest-beating:
In Rolf de Heer's new film, Charlie's Country, David Gulpilil's Charlie faces a dilemma. His health deteriorating, Charlie is told by doctors to eat better food. Spending his weekly welfare income on the junk food sold at his...
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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."

Israel steps up airstrikes in Gaza as international cease-fire efforts stumble "The renewed diplomatic push came after what Palestinians said...

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Current Issue
Behind the scenes with the young Aussie comedian
By Ronnie Scott
Illustration
The sharehouse on the corner looks normal from the outside, like any of the sharehouses found all over Melbourne’s inner north. Its interior, though, is crammed with upwards of 30 people who are mainly concerned about a dog – John, a cavoodle – that is appearing in an episode of...
Current Issue
Many online daters are trapped in a pornographic shopping mall
By Michael Currie
Jeff, a patient who had come to see me for psychotherapy, had problems with love. The night before our session, Jeff had been on his fifth date in a fortnight. Each had been with a different woman.
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...
Current Issue
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
Timbaland and Boyz II Men haunt FKA Twigs’ ‘LP1’ and How To Dress Well’s ‘What Is This Heart?”
By Anwyn Crawford
A spectre is haunting contemporary pop music – the spectre of Timbaland.
August 2014
Anne Manne’s ‘The Life of I’ takes aim at a modern epidemic
By Linda Jaivin
Mass murderer Anders Breivik on trial. © Frank Augstein / AP
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. All four have straws in their mouths,...
August 2014
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’
By Luke Davies
David Gulpilil
“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...
August 2014
At the 14th Venice Architecture Biennale, ‘Augmented Australia’ fails to impress
By David Neustein
Draped across the construction site of the new Australian pavilion in Venice’s Biennale gardens is a banner that brashly proclaims, “UNBUILT LEGENDS”.