Australian politics, society & culture

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Tony Abbott presents Rosie Batty with the 2015 Australian of the Year award, 25 January 2015. © Mick Tsikas / AAP
The costs and causes of domestic violence
By Jess Hill

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 he claims to love. Does he drink? Take drugs? Was he stressed, unemployed, frustrated? Did she provoke him? What could make a man lose control like that? There must be some reason for it.

Current Issue
Our politicians have paltry ideas and express them poorly
By Don Watson
A study in the United States has revealed that in the first four years of life children of professional parents will hear 30 million more words than children from families on welfare.
Current Issue
The Adelaide Zoo has a chequered past
By Anna Goldsworthy
When we visit the Adelaide Zoo, I usually have a destination in mind, but my two-year-old has his own agenda. It begins with the capybaras, the world’s largest rodents: doleful, improbable creatures, like guinea pigs re-imagined by Lewis Carroll.
Rita Zammit is Victoria’s newest Supreme Court justice and a soccer tragic
Tony Wilson
In the hours before the Asian Cup semifinal in Newcastle, Rita Zammit was in a travelling circle of ten, debating Socceroos team selection and whether her friend Dianne’s corna [n. orig. Italian; dark power summoned by waggling the index finger and pinkie in the direction of opposition players] worked against the colour red. Her phone rang.
Behind the scenes of ‘Maximum Choppage’, a new kung-fu comedy
Benjamin Law
You wouldn’t have seen many Asian faces on Australian television in the late ’80s and early ’90s, despite the fact that by 1990 roughly a third of all new immigrants were Asian. Soap operas had their moments.

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Fairfax's Matthew Knott reports that the government is considering an entirely new compromise proposal to get its university fee deregulation package through the Senate. The proposal by Bruce Chapman and David Phillips...
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Bali 9 prisoners transferred from Kerobokan to execution island under heavy military guard "The development comes amid signs of a breakdown in communication between the Indonesian and Australian governments, with Foreign Affairs...

Syrian conflict as the first climate change war "Global warming intensified the region’s worst-ever drought, pushing the country into civil war by destroying agriculture and forcing an exodus to cities already straining from poverty, an...

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December 2014
150 years ago, the Cooper-Duff children got lost in the Victorian bush
By Lisa Clausen
The small bush memorial isn’t easy to find but Rob Isaacson knows the way. He turns his four-wheel drive off the rough track and, using a borrowed key, opens the first of several gates. A crane slowly takes off into a darkening sky as we bump across fields of golden stubble. Fat...
December 2014
The women of outback Queensland kick off their heels in Australia’s smallest town
By Emilie Zoey Baker
The sign cheerfully boasts, “Welcome to Betoota, Population 0”. Our charter plane sets down amid the swirling desert dust and parks next to other airborne arrivals at the racetrack shed.
November 2014
As captain of Team Australia, Tony Abbott has plunged us into war without debate
By Judith Brett
I happened to be in London the day the British prime minister, David Cameron, recalled the House of Commons to request its support for British air strikes against Islamic State in Iraq.
Current Issue
Tanya Plibersek, Bill Shorten and Anthony Albanese. © Neil Moore
Which hill is Labor’s light on again?
By Rachel Nolan
We’re squeezed in, hundreds of sweaty bodies pressed against one another in the aptly named Greenhouse tent. It’s 30 December 2014, and two days of tropical downpours have been followed by a full day’s searing heat. We’re at Woodford Folk Festival, north-west of Brisbane, waiting to hear a speaker.
February 2015
How online organisation can give power back to the people
By Tim Flannery and Catriona Wallace
In 458 BC, with Rome facing imminent defeat by the combined forces of the Aequi and the Sabines, the Senate declared Lucius Quinctius Cincinnatus dictator of the city for six months. The retired statesman, an aristocrat of reduced means, drove off Rome’s enemies.
November 2014
The poor face onerous rules while rich corporations avoid tax with impunity
By Richard Cooke
Australian politicians love the idea of mutual obligation. But the disparities underlying it are becoming more and more extreme. Welfare recipients are painted as getting “something for nothing”, and pushed into more and more restrictive versions of the social contract....
December 2014
Gambler and MONA founder David Walsh has written a book
By Amanda Lohrey
The Museum of Old and New Art (MONA) in Hobart is an underground labyrinth, often dimly lit, but its founder’s domestic apartment is a glassy sunlit box, the light so bright I consider killing eye contact and putting on my sunglasses. David Walsh is warm and engaging, quite...
December 2014
Does the future belong to “sharing economy” companies like Uber and Airbnb?
By Linda Jaivin
My introduction to what is now called the “sharing economy” came in the mid ’90s on the road to Byron Bay. My boyfriend at the time was a candle-maker; we were driving up to the first Homebake music festival in a Kombi packed with candles, candelabras and an inflatable boat.

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February 2015
‘Pop to Popism’ at the Art Gallery of New South Wales
By Julie Ewington
What goes around comes back differently. Refracted by the times. In 1985 I reviewed the only other substantial exhibition of pop art held in Australia, also at the Art Gallery of New South Wales (AGNSW). Thirty years later I’m struck by the radically different propositions put forward by Pop to Popism (until 1 March 2015).
December 2014
Lena Dunham’s ‘Not That Kind of Girl’
By Anna Goldsworthy
There are many things people hate about Lena Dunham, the young creator and star of the hit HBO series Girls: her privilege, her chubbiness, her unapologetic nudity, her on-screen sex with better-looking people, the fluffy pink dress she wore to the Emmys.
December 2014
Frank Moorhouse’s ‘Australia Under Surveillance’ and David Horner’s ‘The Spy Catchers: The official history of ASIO, 1949–1963’
By David McKnight
Much of Australia’s secret history lies in the archives of the Australian Security Intelligence Organisation (ASIO). As Australia sharpens its focus on terrorism, two new books trawl through the archives to reach quite different conclusions. In Australia Under Surveillance (...
December 2014
Queen Victoria Gardens, Melbourne
By David Neustein
It’s too early to judge the success of MPavilion. This is not because its pilot program of events, taking place in and around the first of the architect-designed temporary pavilions that will be replaced each year, is ongoing. Nor is it because we have yet to see whether the...
December 2014
Black Inc.; $29.99
By Simon Caterson
Our ancestors are always with us. It is precisely this enduring if elusive presence, inscribed in our genetic inheritance and manifested in sometimes less rational aspects of humanity, that interests Christine Kenneally.