Australian politics, society & culture

July 2015
The author of ‘This House of Grief’ and ‘Joe Cinque’s Consolation’ on writing about darkness
By Helen Garner

Last year I published This House of Grief, a book about the trials of a Victorian man, Robert Farquharson, who was found guilty of drowning his three young sons in revenge against his former wife. When the book came out I was struck by the number of interviewers whose opening question was “What made you interested in this case?” It always sounded to me like a coded reproach: “Is there something weird or peculiar about you, that you would spend seven years thinking about a story like this?”

July 2015
The papal encyclical is the first work that has risen to the full challenge of climate change
By 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 c
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.
Talk of stripping citizenship is just one example of Tony Abbott’s alarmist rhetoric
Mark McKenna
One week after Tony Abbott was elected in September 2013, the “possum-infested” Lodge was undergoing renovation and Australia’s new prime minister was looking for temporary accommodation. Abbott’s choice – a modest flat in the Australian Federal Police (AFP) College in Canberra – saw him “bunk down” with AFP recruits.
The factual argument on climate change is over. Now lobbyists are trying to make a moral case for fossil fuels
Ketan Joshi
Pope Francis’ encyclical Laudato Si’, released yesterday, emphatically states the need for urgent climate action, and unequivocally admonishes those who deny the problem exists.

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Eric Abetz does same-sex marriage a favour
Sean Kelly

A scientific ethical divide between China and west “Scientists around the world were shocked in April when a team led by Huang Junjiu, 34, at Sun Yat-sen University in Guangzhou, published the results of an experiment in editing the genes of human embryos. The technology, called...

Multiparty same-sex marriage bill to be introduced in August “Prime Minister Tony Abbott has slapped down a cross-party attempt to legalise same-sex marriage, but faces six weeks of potentially divisive debate over the issue, with conservative MPs...

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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. But the heavy bags are there, a dozen in a neat row, along with a small ring at the back of the room....
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.
May 2015
To preserve Port Phillip Bay, Melbourne should learn from Sydney
By Tim Flannery
I grew up beside Port Phillip Bay, just up the road from Melbourne’s most striking natural feature, the Red Bluff cliffs. In those easier days I was allowed to wander to the beach to fish, beachcomb or swim. When I was ten I took up snorkelling and at 15 scuba diving.
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© Dave Tacon
The children left behind by Australian sex tourists in the Philippines
By 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.
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Joe Hockey and the myth of Coalition economic management
By Richard Denniss
I remember my first lesson in economics like it was yesterday. I’d never heard a bigger bunch of crap in my life. It made no sense. The assumptions were flawed. The examples were ridiculous and the conclusions worse.
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. Daniel Franklin, the forensic anthropologist, gestures at one of...
May 2015
Ten years of struggle and success in indigenous Australia
By Noel Pearson
Noel Pearson and Tony Abbott
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...
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.

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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.
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
Sufjan Stevens’ ‘Carrie & Lowell’
By Anwen Crawford
Why don’t I hate Sufjan Stevens? He plays the banjo. He plays the oboe. His stage shows have included hula hoops and cheerleaders. He has yet to meet an encyclopaedia entry that he couldn’t turn into a concept album, and he has released two five-disc box sets of Christmas songs...
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.
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