Australian politics, society & culture


The Islamic Council of Victoria is optimistic
By André Dao
The Islamic Council of Victoria sits in a nondescript office building on a side street in West Melbourne, between two busy arterials shuttling traffic in and out of the CBD. When I visit, it’s only been a couple of weeks since the fatal shooting of 18-year-old Abdul Numan Haider in Melbourne’s Endeavour Hills, and I
Cory Bernadi standing for something, 2011. © Matt Turner / Newspix / News Limited
Cory Bernardi, Conservative Warrior
By Sally Neighbour
Yongle Emperor, of the Ming Dynasty, shown in the Dragon Chair. The original hanging scroll is held at the National Palace Museum, Taibei. © Wikimedia Commons
Niall Ferguson’s 'Civilisation: The West and the Rest'
By Malcolm Turnbull
Women celebrates the Eid al-Adha festival at Lakemba Mosque, 2003. © Ben Rushton / Fairfax
Sharia Law
By Sally Neighbour
The ruins of the Roman colonnade at Apamea, Syria, 2010. Courtesy of the author.
By Robert Dessaix
Shamans at a funeral ceremony, Ivory Coast. © Fulvio Roiter / Corbis
Aravind Adiga on VS Naipaul’s 'The Masque of Africa'
By Aravind Adiga
Julian Assange holds a press conference on the 'Afghan War Diary' in London, 26 July 2010. © Leon Neal / AFP / Getty Images
Julian Assange’s WikiLeaks
By John Birmingham
Richard Dawkins' 'The Greatest Show on Earth'
By Ian Lowe
You wouldn’t believe me if I claimed that almost half the people in a rich, modern country still thought the earth was flat, or that the Roman Empire never existed. It would be a ridiculous assertion. Yet almost half of all adults in the United States believe that human beings did not evolve from other species, but
John Keane's 'The Life and Death of Democracy'
By Tim Soutphommasane
It has been a mixed year so far for democracy. There have been peaceful elections in India and Indonesia, the world’s largest and third largest democracy, respectively. Yet elsewhere, there has been little to celebrate. In the United Kingdom, Westminster – the ‘mother of parliaments’ – has been disgraced by an
Illustration by Jeff Fisher.
By Gideon Haigh
The Voyage of Globalisation’s Forefather
By Simon Leys
First, though Magellan was indeed Portuguese, he sailed for Spain - personally commissioned by Charles V. His foreign origin provoked suspicion and resentment among his Castilian officers; some of them detested him, and their hostility was to climax in a mutiny that nearly brought the entire expedition to a premature
Patrick French’s ‘The World Is What It Is’
By Louis Nowra
Whenever I read Proust's magnificent In Search of Lost Time I have to try hard to forget that the author liked to masturbate while watching rats being tortured to death. There are parts of Ulysses where I cannot but help recall Joyce's scatological letters to his wife. Faulkner's cruelty towards his only child remains
A Report From Afghanistan
By Chris Masters
My visit began in late May 2007. It was not yet summer, but at midnight the air-conditioning was still welcome. Over here even the tents are climate-controlled. Sleep does not come in large rations. At 2 am on my first morning we were mustered and stumbled towards a convoy of Bendigo-built Bushmasters. I met my driver
By Peter Craven
Julian Burnside, Watching Brief: Reflections on Human Rights, Law and Justice (Scribe, 320pp; $32.95). ISBN(13): 9781921215490.Julia Fox, Jane Boleyn: The Infamous Lady Rochford (W&N, 400pp; $55). ISBN: 0297850814.Waleed Aly, People Like Us: How Arrogance is Dividing Islam and the West (Picador, 304pp; $32.95).
Illustration by Jeff Fisher.
By Malcolm Knox
Islamism, Islamophobia and Australia
By Robert Manne
Unlike all previous migrant groups – Stone, who was once an anti-Asian Hansonite, now sang hymns of praise to his “nice” Chinese neighbours – Muslims did not disperse from the enclaves they formed. “Muslims do not so much move out as move in.” After they have driven non-Muslims out of what would soon become “no-go”
'Shalimar the Clown' by Salman Rushdie
By Delia Falconer
Toward the beginning of A Satanic Affair, his analysis of the furore caused by The Satanic Verses, Malise Ruthven tells the following story. A month or so into the publicity for the novel, Rushdie was invited onto BBC radio’s Desert Island Discs. He chose the ten CDs he would take with him to a desert island. What
Christopher Hitchens and the road to curmudgeonhood
By Phillip Knightley
A couple of years ago at Britain’s premier literary festival, Hay-on-Wye, two star performers dominated the program: former US president Bill Clinton and journalist/author/commentator Christopher Hitchens. Clinton arrived in his Secret Service car, attended a few parties, hit a few golf balls, made a stirring