Australian politics, society & culture

June 2016
An election built entirely on rhetoric
By Sean Kelly

This has been a campaign built almost entirely on rhetoric. We have had no election-redefining policies from either major party since Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull visited the governor-general, back in distant history. As a result, we have had seven weeks of uninterrupted argument, in which the leaders have essentially repeated what they said in the first week, with minor variations along the way. These variations were necessary for the sake of appearance.

Current Issue
Australia’s changing place in Britain’s EU deliberations
By Stuart Ward
This month, the British people will finally cast their vote in the long-anticipated “Brexit” referendum, to decide whether the United Kingdom should stay in the European Union.
November 2015
On the road with the irrepressible Nick Xenophon
By Anne Manne
Nick Xenophon’s small white car is stuffed with what looks like rubbish. I climb in and immediately conclude that his famous refusal to ever invite journalists to his house is probably wise.
Should LGBTI people vote for parties that do not fully accept them?
Dennis Altman
Reactions to the Orlando shootings and ongoing concerns about a proposed plebiscite on same-sex marriage have ensured that homosexuality is an issue in the current election campaign. One might assume this works in favour of Labor and the Greens, but the reality is more complex.
Trackside at a 24-hour ultramarathon
Paul Connolly
“Are we there yet?” quips first-time ultramarathon runner Angelo Portelli, 46, at 10.01 am. He is one minute into the Coburg 24 Hour Track Championships being held at the Harold Stevens Athletics Track in suburban Melbourne.

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An election built entirely on rhetoric
Sean Kelly

Pound plummets after early results give boost to Brexit campaign “Britain could be on the verge of pulling out of the European Union after a surge in support for Brexit confounded pollsters and led to the sharpest one-day drop...

Sombre mood in divided Britain as referendum on EU membership looms “A divided Britain will soon vote in a referendum on the nation’s European Union membership under a cloud of grief for murdered politician Jo Cox. Polls are on a knife-edge, with final campaigning underway for the vote that...

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May 2016
The mystery of a man, a tree and an umbrella
By Leigh Sales
I am sitting on a park bench, reading, when a closed umbrella thwacks onto the path next to me, seemingly falling from the sky. It is one of those flimsy, collapsible black numbers that you dash into the chemist to buy when it’s pouring, inevitably to leave forgotten under a...
April 2016
Solastalgia and the impact of the recent bushfires
By Nicole Gill
“I have three questions for you tonight: Why are you here? What do these fires signify? And what can we do?”
April 2016
IBAC investigates the Victorian education department’s failed Ultranet
By Catherine Ford
In late February, Dr James Watterston, the director-general of Queensland’s Department of Education and Training, gave evidence to the Victorian Independent Broad-based Anti-corruption Commission (IBAC).
Current Issue
Lynette Daley
Ms Dhu, Lynette Daley and the alarming rates of violence against indigenous women
By Marcia Langton
Two Aboriginal women speak to us from their graves. One died from horrific injuries in a police cell in Western Australia, and the other bled out on a beach in New South Wales after an alleged violent sexual assault.
Current Issue
The Arrernte Women’s Project is preserving vital songs and culture
By Rachel Perkins
I am standing in a supermarket in Alice Springs, comparing the width of my upper arm to a frozen, foil-wrapped kangaroo tail. I’ve been instructed that this is a good guide for selecting a suitable size.
March 2016
Indonesia’s mass killings have been overlooked for 50 years
By Robert Manne and Mark Aarons
Dipa Nusantara Aidit and Sukarno image
April 2016
Ten years after the Eagles’ 2006 premiership, a culture is laid bare
By Martin McKenzie-Murray
West Coast Eagles 2006 premiership team
It was the morning of the 2005 Australian Football League grand final, and nerves were shredding the bowels of two of the country’s finest midfielders. Chris Judd and Daniel Kerr, in between numbly staring at music videos, were making earnest trips to the bathroom. Other players...
April 2016
Australia’s food and wine industry is the next big thing in China
By Hamish McDonald
Out on Cape Grim, waves roll in from 10,000 kilometres of unbroken ocean to crash at the north-western tip of Tasmania. This was where David Beca, chief executive officer of the Van Diemen’s Land Company, was showing me relics of the farming enterprise’s savage start.


July 2016
Briggs on hip-hop, humour and a new generation of Aboriginal leaders
By Anwen Crawford
Adam Briggs – better known simply as Briggs – is a rapper, writer, performer and record label owner. As a rapper he has released two solo albums, The Blacklist (2010) and Sheplife (2014), and is working on a third. He acts in Cleverman, the dystopian drama screening on the ABC, and co-wrote the show’s theme song.
June 2016
The Kiwi charm of Taika Waititi’s ‘Hunt for the Wilderpeople’
By Luke Davies
In Taika Waititi’s Hunt for the Wilderpeople (in national release) we open on a majestic aerial view of dense New Zealand forest. It could be the beginning of some ominously dark Norwegian crime thriller – or Top of the Lake.
May 2016
The 20th Biennale of Sydney
By Julie Ewington
Conscious Sleep by Chiharu Shiota
It’s raining in Sydney, and Cockatoo Island has been flooding. But that hasn’t put a dampener on the crowds trooping off ferries from Circular Quay. Over the past decade, the largest island in Sydney Harbour has become one of the city’s iconic venues. Haunted by generations of...
June 2016
Beyoncé’s powerful ‘Lemonade’
By Anwen Crawford
Beyoncé in Lemonade
“The most disrespected person in America is the black woman,” said Malcolm X, on 5 May 1962. It was part of a wide-ranging speech on racism that he gave at the funeral service of Korean War veteran and Nation of Islam member Ronald Stokes, who was shot in the back by Los Angeles...
May 2016
An interview with Jonathan Franzen
By Richard Cooke
There’s something a little old-fashioned about Jonathan Franzen. I don’t mean old-fashioned in the bird-watching, fist-shaking at the internet and wearing thick black-rimmed writerly glasses way.