Australian politics, society & culture

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Too many kangaroos loose in Canberra
By Sam Vincent

The eastern grey kangaroo has a top speed of 60 kilometres per hour. By the end of its life, my ute could do 80. The comparison is not academic: driving home from parties in my early 20s, my muffler farting through Canberra’s northern fringe, mobs of 10, 20, 30 roos would slip out of the dawn and chaperone me across the NSW border. I’d slow down; they’d slow down. I’d speed up; they’d match the acceleration of a 1995 Mazda Bravo with 400,000 clicks on the dash.

Current Issue
The children left behind by Australian sex tourists in the Philippines
By Margaret Simons
© Dave Tacon
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.
July 2015
Tony Abbott’s Q&A saga continues
By Mungo MacCallum
Tony Abbott has got it the wrong way around. He seems to think that he is offering the ABC a favour by allowing, under strict conditions, some of his ministers to appear on some of its programs. 
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.
The papal encyclical is the first work that has risen to the full challenge of climate change
Robert Manne
When I was young the intellectual milieu was shaped by the need to come to terms with the unprecedented crimes and the general moral collapse that had taken place on European soil following the outbreak of great power conflict in August 1914 – Hitler and Stalin, the Holocaust and the Gulag, the concentration camps and genocide, the tens of millions of deaths that had occurred in two u

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How to spot a political storm
Sean Kelly

Bronwyn Bishop is considering her position amid expenses scandal “Julie Bishop says Bronwyn Bishop is considering her position amid speculation the Labor party will use the resumption of Parliament to disrupt question...

35 women tell their stories about being assaulted by Bill Cosby “There are now 46 women who have come forward publicly to accuse Cosby of rape or sexual assault; the 35 women here are the accusers who were willing to be photographed and interviewed. The group, at present, ranges in age from early 20s to 80...

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June 2015
Master perfumer Jonathon Midgley concocts some unusual scents
By Ceridwen Dovey
The scents of the seven deadly sins, in miniature sampling vials of varying shades of amber and green, are arranged on my work desk. In preparation for interviewing Jonathon Midgley, a master perfumer whose Brisbane laboratory was commissioned to create these scents for a...
June 2015
The Corporate Fighter course gets white-collar workers in the boxing ring
By Alex McClintock
An old-timer could be forgiven for not recognising the Corporate Fitness Centre in Sydney’s Surry Hills as a boxing gym. It’s too clean, for one thing, and too well lit.
May 2015
Women could use a little of the shameless confidence men take for granted
By Annabel Crabb
The letter was kind of magnificent. It came by post (a declining tradition; these days such missives are much more likely to plop balefully into my ABC inbox) and was marked with the high-end Melbourne address of the writer, a man with whom I was not previously acquainted.
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 movement as a political force.
June 2015
A conversation with Julian Assange
By John Keane
Since the last time we were together inside his prison lodgings at the Ecuadorian embassy in London, a few things have changed. Julian Assange has grown a beard, looks more pallid and pauses when I ask after his general health.
March 2015
The costs and causes of domestic violence
By Jess Hill
Tony Abbott presents Rosie Batty with the 2015 Australian of the Year award, 25 January 2015. © Mick Tsikas / AAP
After decades of ignoring domestic violence, Australians have learnt to condemn it. The statistics are now well known: a woman is murdered at least every week, another hospitalised every three hours. We say we’re horrified, and wonder what could possibly make a man hurt a woman...
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...
April 2015
New light on the wreck of the ‘Batavia’ and its savage aftermath
By Jeff Sparrow
At the University of Western Australia’s Centre for Forensic Science in Perth, the skeletons lie on tables, stretched out beside plastic tubs of pelvic fragments, bags of unmatched toes and samples of island sand.


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. “Pushed to become”: he’s speaking not of the talented artist – Winehouse didn’t need much pushing to nurture her talents – but of the talented artist in an intricate death-grip with the machinery of fame.
May 2015
David Malouf’s extraordinary musings on life and art
By David Marr
For the past year Knopf has been publishing elegant collections of David Malouf’s essays, reviews, speeches, prefaces and, now, libretti. You strain to tell one volume from another. The covers are absurdly sober and nothing is made of that famous face.
April 2015
Clive James’ ‘Sentenced to Life’ and Les Murray’s ‘Waiting for the Past’
By Justin Clemens
We are entering the old age of humanity. As Franco Berardi puts it in The Uprising (subtitled, of all things, On poetry and finance), “Energy is fading because of the demographic trend: mankind is growing old, as a whole, because of the prolongation of life expectancy, and...
June 2015
Punk and gospel influences combine to make the personal political on Algiers’ self-titled debut
By Anwen Crawford
Image of Algiers
Late in April, as protests grew in Baltimore over the death of an African-American man, Freddie Gray, who died after sustaining a severe spinal injury while in police custody, a young black Baltimore resident named Kwame Rose confronted Fox News reporter Geraldo Rivera over the...
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.