Australian politics, society & culture

Current Issue
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. His influence can be seen in the office of Prime Minister Tony Abbott, where a model Linfox semitrailer holds a prominent place on the bookshelf. When Abbott did live interviews from his desk in late 2014, the model truck sat above his right shoulder, while a portrait of Sir Robert Menzies and a Steeden football appeared to his left.

September 2014
Victorian Labor leader Daniel Andrews keeps his head down
By John van Tiggelen
It’s tempting to surmise that Daniel Andrews acquired his hunched appearance by keeping his head down so much. The polls rate him a clear favourite to lead Labor to victory in Victoria’s November election, yet he has about as much brand power as, say, the deputy prime minister, Warren Truss.
November 2014
A figment of the Right's imagination
By Russell Marks
In July, incoming senator James McGrath became the latest Liberal Party politician to accuse the ABC of bias.
The politics of Clive Palmer
Guy Rundle
Saturday, 3 July 2014, and outside Coolum, along David Low Way on the Sunshine Coast of Queensland, the cars were backed up for a stretch, heading into the Palmer Coolum Resort.
The poor face onerous rules while rich corporations avoid tax with impunity
Richard Cooke
Australian politicians love the idea of mutual obligation. But the disparities underlying it are becoming more and more extreme. Welfare recipients are painted as getting “something for nothing”, and pushed into more and more restrictive versions of the social contract.
Jean-Pierre and Luc Dardenne's 'Two Days, One Night' and Matthew Warchus's 'Pride', reviewed
Anwen Crawford
“The only way to stop crying is to fight for your job,” says Manu (Fabrizio Rongione) to his wife Sandra (Marion Cottilard) in the Belgian film Two Days, One Night. Sandra has been on sick leave from her job at a solar panel factory, suffering from clinical depression.

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Tomorrow, Victorians are very likely to vote out a one-term government for the first time in 60 years – against the advice of the editorial writers in the Australian, the Herald Sun and the Age. The Coalition government...
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Phil Hughes, 1988-2014: Australian cricket devastated, support for bowler Sean Abbott "The 25-year-old passed away after he was hit in the back-left side of the head while batting for South Australia against New South Wales at the Sydney Cricket...

Tensions simmer after Ferguson decision in police shooting "A large stretch of West Florissant Avenue remained a crime scene Wednesday. Local police and guard troops kept the street closed, as bomb and arson units worked to determine the cause and origin of the fires...

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Current Issue
Remembering Gough Whitlam puts modern Labor to shame
By Don Watson
Gough Whitlam had just died, and on the ABC TV program The Drum John Hewson and Craig Emerson were offering us their thoughts. During his time as leader of the Liberal Party 20 years ago, Hewson was a febrile embodiment of everything that Whitlam wasn’t. On this night, though,...
Current Issue
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.
Current Issue
The world’s biggest radio telescope is under construction in Western Australia
By Michael Lucy
At Boolardy Station, 300 kilometres north-east of Geraldton, on Wajarri Yamatji land in the remote West Australian shire of Murchison, scientists are slowly reconfiguring a patch of the Earth’s surface into a gigantic eye gazing outward.
December 2014
By Josephine Rowe
At 33 he goes back to the town his mother was raised in. She’d taken him there as a child every summer, for her own birthday, and they’d rowed out in a hired tinnie to eat a picnic above the place she believed her house must have been.
Current Issue
Does the future belong to “sharing economy” companies like Uber and Airbnb?
By Linda Jaivin
My introduction to what is now called the “sharing economy” came in the mid ’90s on the road to Byron Bay. My boyfriend at the time was a candle-maker; we were driving up to the first Homebake music festival in a Kombi packed with candles, candelabras and an inflatable boat.
Current Issue
Australia has produced only six true rock stars
By Robert Forster
Marc Hunter
April 1981. The Brisbane-based band The Go-Betweens, with whom I am a vocalist, guitarist and songwriter, are in Sydney to record a single. We are staying with friends in Darlinghurst, and early on a Sunday morning I go for a walk. The sun is up and the sky is cloudless and pale...
Current Issue
Gambler and MONA founder David Walsh has written a book
By Amanda Lohrey
The Museum of Old and New Art (MONA) in Hobart is an underground labyrinth, often dimly lit, but its founder’s domestic apartment is a glassy sunlit box, the light so bright I consider killing eye contact and putting on my sunglasses. David Walsh is warm and engaging, quite...
Current Issue
The president of Kiribati goes on a fact-finding mission in the Arctic
By John van Tiggelen
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.


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 frequency and diversity of concerts, talks and other activities can be sustained.
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 o
December 2014
Lena Dunham’s ‘Not That Kind of Girl’
By Anna Goldsworthy
There are many things people hate about Lena Dunham, the young creator and star of the hit HBO series Girls: her privilege, her chubbiness, her unapologetic nudity, her on-screen sex with better-looking people, the fluffy pink dress she wore to the Emmys. But the release of her...
December 2014
Dan Gilroy’s ‘Nightcrawler’ and Alejandro González Iñárritu’s ‘Birdman’
By Luke Davies
“Will this be on television?” Lou Bloom (Jake Gyllenhaal) asks a news stringer who is shooting footage of a woman being freed by police from a burning car. “Morning news,” says the cameraman. “If it bleeds, it leads.”
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.