Australian politics, society & culture


A guide to the Murray Darling Basin
By Kate Jennings
Illustration by Jeff Fisher.
Water Policy
By Mark Aarons
Words: Shane Maloney | Illustration: Chris Grosz
By Shane Maloney and Chris Grosz
Illustration by Jeff Fisher.
By Benjamin Law
Frederick Seidel's 'Ooga-Booga and Poems: 1959-2009'
By Kate Jennings
For your consideration: “A naked woman my age is just a total nightmare.” Now there’s a rip-snorting line of poetry if there ever was one. Frederick Seidel, who is not afraid to repeat himself, offers the line not once but three times in Ooga-Booga (Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 112pp; $24). In my youth, loaded up with
The National Party
By John Birmingham
The Flinthart of that once-upon-a-time rarely flinched from the confronting, and occasionally violent, practice of direct action when demonstrating his displeasure with the black-hearted devils of the old Bjelke-Petersen regime in Queensland. Thus, he found himself very much out of place when he and his wife moved to
Illustration by Jeff Fisher.
By John van Tiggelen
Trekking in the Simpson
By Robyn Davidson
For Indigenous people, who knew it as well as their own bodies (in a sense, their country was both body and mind), it was a large garden that sustained them for thousands of generations. Withholding sometimes, when the dry went on longer than usual, but generally so bountiful that they could gather enough food in a
Illustration by Jeff Fisher.
By Kate Rossmanith
Illustration by Jeff Fisher.
By Don Watson
Illustration by Jeff Fisher.
By Gay Bilson
By Martin Shaw
In 2004 Wayne Macauley published to great acclaim a novella titled Blueprints for a Barbed-Wire Canoe, with one critic even going so far as to say that "if more Australian literature was of this calibre, we'd be laughing." On the strength of his second book, also a novella, I entirely agree. But as much
Understanding Raimond Gaita
By Helen Garner
There's a brief scene, quite early in the movie, in which Raimond is mooching along a street and sees a teenage girl dancing wildly to a record on her front porch. He calls out and asks her the name of the singer. She tells him it's Jerry Lee Lewis, from Ferriday, Louisiana. "And who are you, when you're at home?" she
Climate Change in the Mallee
By Chloe Hooper
Then he must record the rainfall, or lack of it. The water gauge is a 30-centimetre aluminium tin set in the ground with a plastic beaker inside. As if in a Beckett sketch, Hill checks it each day, knowing there'll be no water. "It tried to rain last night," he explains, "but as the locals say, you could walk between
By Roger McDonald
The dominating men of Normie Powell’s childhood lived on winding dirt roads following the Trout River upstream to its source. Each was a landowner with acres given over to Merino sheep, animals grazed to the brink of starvation while shedding spun gold into bank accounts. The 1960s remained good years after the boom
By Les Murray
Death gets into the suburbs, but sleekturnover highrise keeps it out of mind and wilderness, wrapped in its own deaths, scarcely points us at ours, but furred rusty machines, and greyboards unglazed for heritage or holiday – you can’t truck in enough bricks.Settled country is the land of the dead, 
By Les Murray
Haze went from smoke-blue to beigegradually, after midday. The Inland was passing overhigh up, and between the trees.The north hills and the south hillslost focus and faded away. As the Inland was passing overlungless flies quizzing road killgot clogged with aerial plaster.Familiar roads ended in
By Celina Ribeiro
“I’m going to die,” pants Jess Wright. “Good,” says Mrs Jennings. “Do it quietly.”It is a cold Friday night in central-western New South Wales. The Kinross Wolaroi School indoor pool is the makeshift home of the Orange Icebreakers swim team, and this is their last training session before the winter break. Coach Mrs