Australian politics, society & culture


By Robert Manne
The meaning of John Howard’s ten years as Prime Minister of Australia – how Australia has been changed, how the era will eventually be seen – can most easily be grasped if it is accepted that the period of his rule can be divided into two almost equal halves.   The first half of Howard’
Hip politics at the Sydney Museum of Contempory Art
By Justin Clemens
Recent laboratory work on locusts has shown that they can be turned from their harmless “solidarious” phase to a predatory “gregarious” one simply by tickling their hind legs with a paintbrush. Something similar happens with invitations to big art shows. As soon as those little slips arrive in the mail, the art world
The last word on Mark Latham, the man everyone is hearing but no one is listening to
By Robert Manne
Latham began to write his diary as a backbencher in 1994. His notes became interesting after he was given the shadow education portfolio by Paul Keating’s successor, Kim Beazley, following Labor’s landslide defeat of March 1996. Latham was at that time one of the party’s only thinkers. At the centre of his political
'The Grave at Thu Le' by Catherine Cole
By Drusilla Modjeska
Considering the significance of Vietnam in Australia’s post-colonial sense of itself, it is curious that it hasn’t made its way to prominence in our literary culture. There is writing by Vietnamese Australians, though it’s little known beyond their community, and Vietnam appears in the work of Australian poets who
BookScan and the death of the Australian novelist
By Malcolm Knox
Back when I was careless about what I wished for, someone asked a fanciful question, redolent of hope and innocence, about my up-coming first novel. “If you could choose, would you take critical approval or good sales?” If I could choose! That “if” was the first sign of callowness, or hubris, followed quickly by the
Still comfortable but relaxed no more in John Howard's Australia
By John Birmingham
The feeling that it was a good town to leave was only confirmed when I returned a decade later to cover the freak show that the rest of the country knew as Pauline Hanson and One Nation. I can’t recall which magazine sent me up there, but I remember only too well picking up a copy of the local newspaper, The