Australian politics, society & culture

Current Issue
The constitutional recognition of indigenous Australians requires meaningful consultation
By Noel Pearson

It’s all about the process. The politicians, their advisers and their spin doctors have alighted on the importance of process. The substantive policies and politics of a complex public issue are now subservient to process.

It is perhaps unsurprising. The political and policy cacophony in social and traditional media is too much for the mob to absorb and understand. There is simply too much happening. Even the political and media players outside of an immediate issue can’t keep up with the details.

Current Issue
Former finance minister Yanis Varoufakis on Greece’s economic crisis
By Christos Tsiolkas
Down the road from my studio, in Melbourne’s northern suburbs, there is a small cafe next door to a tobacconist. Both are owned by Australians of Greek heritage.
August 2015
Icon as exhibit at ACMI’s ‘David Bowie Is’
By Anwen Crawford
Having travelled for nearly 5 billion kilometres to the outer limits of our solar system, the New Horizons space probe sent back its first data from a fly-by of Pluto on 14 July 2015, nine and a half years after its launch.
The children left behind by Australian sex tourists in the Philippines
Margaret Simons
The sky bruises at the same time each day in Angeles City. Then the rain comes. The weather is so similar – steamy heat, then rain and evening relief – that it can seem as though time is circular, and the same day recurs. It can seem that life in this Philippine city is lived on a vast wheel of actions without consequences.
The absurd double standard behind the government’s “sovereignty” message
Richard King
It may surprise you to know (but then again it may not) that Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels were in favour of free trade.

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Yes, the PM sacked Bishop too late. But at least he didn’t sack her too early
Sean Kelly

In a Yemen hospital, malnutrition menaces young lives “Born just before the outbreak of Yemen's devastating war, Ali Mohammed al-Tawaari may well not survive it. Damaged by a lack of skilled medical care at a critical moment in his early weeks, the six-month-old infant struggles for life...

I can tell you how Adam Goodes feels. Every Indigenous person has felt it “Australians are proud of their tolerance yet can be perplexed when challenged on race, their response often defensive. I may be overly sensitive. I may see insult where none is...

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July 2015
Favours and foreign affairs: Joko Widodo’s first year as Indonesian president
By Hamish McDonald
There comes a moment in a long evening of wayang orang, the theatre of Java based on the great Hindu epics, when the drama cuts from strident speeches by gorgeously costumed warriors and princes against painted backdrops of palaces. A set of open fields and distant volcanoes...
June 2015
A win for David Cameron and the Conservatives in the UK was inevitable
By Guy Rundle
“Pull over here,” I told the driver of the black cab as I spotted a bottle shop. We were headed out of the tangle of London’s Piccadilly Circus to the boho-prosperous calm of Primrose Hill, an old haunt of threadbare leftists, now gone upmarket.
June 2015
Australian universities need US-style funding, not US-style fees
By Linda Jaivin
Every Friday the 13th and Leap Day is Carberry Day on the campus of Brown University, in Providence, Rhode Island. It is named for Josiah S Carberry, the university’s famous professor of psychoceramics (the study of “cracked pots”).
Current Issue
IBAC investigates Victoria’s rotten education bureaucracy
By Catherine Ford
In early June, Nino Napoli, a senior executive with the Victorian Department of Education and Training (DET), stepped into a witness box and began to answer some long overdue questions.
Current Issue
Why Australia won’t help the Rohingya
By Richard Cooke
April 2015
What’s next for the perpetual deputy?
By Chris Wallace
It is a late summer evening, and a woman in a silver gown glides towards the Sydney Opera House. Nicholas Milton observes her as he walks to work. He will conduct Puccini’s Tosca for Opera Australia that night, but the regal quayside progress of Julie Bishop and her companion...
June 2015
Richard Di Natale and a new leadership team hit the mainstream
By Amanda Lohrey
The Tasmanian era is over. Since its formation as a national party in 1992, the Australian Greens has been led by Tasmanian senators: first Bob Brown and then Christine Milne. This is an unsurprising fact given that the island state gave birth to the Australian environmental...
May 2015
Ten years of struggle and success in indigenous Australia
By Noel Pearson
I’ve been to many remote places in Australia, but this is entirely new to me. I don’t know the desert. From the air, the vastness of the rolling dunes, green after the summer rain, is beguiling, as is the mild weather when we land. But I’ve been to enough places in the north of...

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August 2015
Emma Kowal’s ‘Trapped in the Gap’ examines the ‘White anti-racist’ in indigenous Australia
By Kim Mahood
A few years ago, a friend of mine worked as a nurse for a men’s health organisation in a remote Aboriginal community. One of his responsibilities was to accompany the men when they travelled to other communities for ceremonial business, and attend to any illness or injury that occurred. At one of these events, a young Aboriginal man approached him.
July 2015
Musicians on film in Asif Kapadia’s ‘Amy’, Bill Pohlad’s ‘Love & Mercy’ and Mia Hansen-Løve’s ‘Eden’
By Luke Davies
“She didn’t really know how to be that thing that she had been pushed to become,” says Yasiin Bey (aka rapper and producer Mos Def) of singer Amy Winehouse.
May 2015
How the television adaptation of ‘Wolf Hall’ transcends the usual Tudor tale
By Benjamin Law
Several months back, the United Kingdom fell victim to an illness so contagious that it tore through the adult population at an average rate of 4.4 million people per week. They had come down with Wolf Hall fever. Like the “sweating sickness” that ravaged 16th-century Tudor...
July 2015
The literary comic novel and Steve Toltz’s ‘Quicksand’
By Richard Cooke
“Well, the comic novel, I feel, is perhaps the most difficult form a writer can attempt. I can think of only three or four successful ones – Cakes and Ale, Count Bruga, and Lucky Jim.” That’s SJ Perelman talking to the Paris Review in 1963. Ben Hecht’s Count Bruga has evaporated...
June 2015
Adapting Kate Grenville’s ‘The Secret River’ for the screen
By Steve Dow
“Yeah, that’s right!” yells a tall, bearded former convict wearing a green vest, brown pants and knee-high boots. He is standing at the bottom of a valley, in long grass surrounded by gum trees, waving a rifle.
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