Australian politics, society & culture

Current Issue
How do emergency services respond to the LGBTI community?
By Jenan Taylor

In a classroom at the Victorian Emergency Management Training Centre on the northern outskirts of Melbourne, 17 students stand in an untidy teardrop pattern around a series of cards set out on the floor. The participants – from emergency services, law-enforcement agencies, shire councils, government departments and an NGO – have been asked to recall what the prevailing attitudes towards homosexuality were when they were at high school.

February 2016
Sometimes you need to swear on the radio
By Red Symons
I said a very, very bad word on the radio.
February 2016
Medical professionals can be hypochondriacs too
By Karen Hitchcock
Early Friday morning, I got cancer. Bad cancer, the kind that can colonise your bones. Mine had spread to one bone in particular: a rib in the middle of my chest. To diagnose myself I took a history, questioned myself about the nature of the pain and did a physical examination.
How can Australia keep its Paris climate promises?
Bill McKibben
With the conclusion of the Paris climate conference in December, global warming went from being the kind of problem politicians like to being the kind of problem they hate.
Survival tactics in ‘The Revenant’ and ‘The Big Short’
Luke Davies
“Is there even a movie here, or is the film just the by-product of a particularly masochistic film crew spending some time in the woods?” This question, posed by American film blogger Devin Faraci, of Alejandro G Iñárritu’s The Revenant (in national release), is not entirely unfounded.

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Government kingpins fight it out
Sean Kelly

Gravitational waves exist: The inside story of how scientists finally found them “Just over a billion years ago, many millions of galaxies from here, a pair of black holes collided. They had been circling each other for aeons, in a sort of mating dance, gathering pace with...

Pregnant Queensland woman tests positive to Zika virus after travelling overseas “A pregnant Queensland woman has tested positive to Zika virus after returning from overseas, Queensland Health has confirmed. The woman was diagnosed yesterday and authorities said the illness was...

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December 2015
Making sense of the adult colouring craze
By Richard Cooke
“Do you sell the pencils as well?” I asked the woman in the bookstore. She had already recommended her favourite colouring books for adults. They didn’t sell the art supplies, though; I would have to try the stationery store around the corner. At its entrance was a large display...
November 2015
Wild deer are heading for the suburbs
By Paul Connolly
It was in the pre-dawn hours about eight years ago that I first saw one, a magnificent stag with antlers big enough to hang a bloom of berets. I’d seen deer before, of course, but not here, in my mother’s suburban Wollongong backyard, mere metres from her kitchen window.
October 2015
Lee Lin Chin’s rise from SBS newsreader to queen of satire
By Benjamin Law
It’s often said you should never meet your heroes, as they’ll invariably disappoint.
Current Issue
Managing child sex offenders in the community
By Sam Vincent
On a Saturday morning, I wake in the dark and drive seven hours to a support session for “fellas”. “We don’t use the P-word,” the organiser had explained over the phone when I’d asked how many paedophiles were coming.
December 2015
Shen Narayanasamy takes on Transfield
By Chloe Hooper
It’s 5 am on a pitch-black inner Melbourne street. Two small children are sleeping inside a weatherboard house as their mother, the lawyer and corporate activist Shen Narayanasamy, creeps into a taxi and asks the driver to hurry to the airport.
October 2015
A British author’s complicated relationship with the island continent
By Will Self
When, early this year, I was invited to give an address at the Melbourne Writers Festival, I didn’t hesitate to accept – nor did I prevaricate when asked what subject I’d be tackling. Such alacrity on my part is uncommon: my writing room, at the top of my house in south London,...
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. The independent senator for South Australia absent-mindedly hands me an empty take-away...
October 2015
Has classical music become irrelevant?
By Anna Goldsworthy
Sometimes, while performing the Funeral March from Chopin’s Piano Sonata No.


February 2016
Stravinsky’s works, collected
By Andrew Ford
Modern composers are no longer famous the way Igor Stravinsky once was. From our century, indeed, it is hard to comprehend the extent of that fame. Just as Picasso was modern art, so Stravinsky was modern music.
December 2015
Grimes’ puzzling ‘Art Angels’
By Anwen Crawford
It is a rule of pop music, rarely flouted, that an artist with a new album to promote will release the strongest song first. So it was, or nearly was, with the 27-year-old Canadian musician Grimes (real name Claire Boucher), who will tour Australia this summer.
December 2015
Chris Bowen’s ‘The Money Men’ and the ideal treasurer
By Andrew Charlton
Paul Keating and Bob Hawke in 1989.
Young politicians write books about ideas; old politicians write histories. In the twilight of their careers, when their passion for politics is no longer absorbed by active service, many former ministers channel their energy into musty biographies or nostalgic memoirs. But...
December 2015
By Shane Maloney and Chris Grosz
Words: Shane Maloney | Illustration: Chris Grosz
Rupert Murdoch was 27 when he met Kandiah Kamalesvaran, a sensitive young Tamil on the dodge from the immigration authorities. Born in Malaya, Kamalesvaran had arrived in Adelaide in 1953, five years earlier, to complete his matriculation. He was now enrolled at university,...
December 2015
The National Museum of Australia’s ‘Encounters’ and the politics of collection
By Quentin Sprague
“The English took the place without consent.” Harley Coyne, a Noongar man in his late 50s, was speaking to me in early November from Albany, on Western Australia’s southern coast.