Australian politics, society & culture

May 2016
As the leaders prepare for their debate on Sunday
By Sean Kelly

Most voters won’t have noticed how addle-brained was the attempt by Treasurer Scott Morrison and Finance Minister Mathias Cormann yesterday to draw attention to Billion Dollar Bill’s Black Hole. Their feeble attempts at addition were shot down by a cadre of press gallery journalists who quickly spotted errors, typos, and double-countings. It was embarrassing. Worse, it was unnecessary.

May 2016
Beautiful suffering in PJ Harvey’s ‘The Hope Six Demolition Project’ and Anohni’s ‘Hopelessness’
By Anwen Crawford
Anohni by Alice O'Malley
English singer-songwriter Polly Jean Harvey, known professionally as PJ Harvey, released her first album, Dry, in 1992. Harvey’s rock songs, formed around her rasping electric guitar lines, bore a superficial resemblance to the then-dominant grunge style.
Current Issue
On Stan Grant’s radical hope
By Anne Manne
Stan Grant
Stan Grant strides towards me. It is easy to see why the television camera so loves his face. We meet at the plush Sofitel Hotel in Melbourne, where tea is poured from an elegant pot. Halfway through our conversation, the NSW honorary consul for Mongolia comes up for a chat.
Peta Credlin and Abbott loyalists may cause serious trouble for Malcolm Turnbull
Mungo MacCallum
Peta Credlin, said Tony Abbott in awe, is the fiercest political warrior he has ever known. And it appears that the vengeful soldier has lost none of her belligerence.
When human nature and the law intersect
Jenan Taylor
At a Saturday farmers’ market, two little girls in floral sundresses gaze up at a tall, red-lipped, ponytailed busker with a guitar. Among the stalls, crowds and opportunistic seagulls, Georgie Stone is performing hits by artists such as Taylor Swift, as well as songs she’s penned herself.

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As the leaders prepare for their debate on Sunday
Sean Kelly

The crazy climate technofix “The term ‘geoengineering’ raises the spectre of a James Bond villain cackling in his lair and planning to make volcanoes erupt at the push of a button. And that’s quite fitting, given that one approach to solar radiation management consists of mimicking the...

Silicon Valley billionaire secretly funding Hulk Hogan’s lawsuits against Gawker “According to people familiar with the situation who agreed to speak on condition of anonymity, Peter Thiel, a PayPal cofounder and one of the earliest backers...

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Current Issue
Are we treating the symptoms of our problems rather than the causes?
By Michael Currie
“I think I’m stuck,” Louis* said when I asked why he had come to see me. “I finished my commerce degree last year and I started in a job, which I thought was going to be fine. And it is … but I’ve started feeling really anxious again, like when I was a teenager.” I glanced down...
April 2016
Artist Jan Senbergs prepares for his NGV retrospective
By Quentin Sprague
Jan Senbergs sits surrounded by the ephemera of his life’s work: folders of correspondence, press clippings, catalogues and plastic sleeves of 35mm slides that document his five-decade career as a painter.
March 2016
What eels do when we're not watching
By James Bradley
There is a small crowd of people by the ponds in Sydney’s Centennial Parklands, tossing bread to the clamouring waterbirds, when the dark form appears. It glides upwards with a lazy, powerful motion to swallow one of the crumbs before disappearing back into the murk.
Current Issue
Coral bleaching at Lizard Island
The coral bleaching signals a defining environmental shift
By Jo Chandler
Many of today’s marine scientists blame Jacques Cousteau, who surfaced in their lounge rooms during their formative years, for luring them into the water. Others were hooked by the psychedelic barrage of coral gardens and sea creatures in National Geographic.
Current Issue
An ideology of savagery
By Robert Manne
Two years ago, the armies of the group that would soon call itself the Islamic State, a group that already controlled large swathes of territory in Iraq and Syria, entered Mosul, the second city of Iraq.
February 2016
The case for marriage equality
By Penny Wong
Penny Wong
In 2001, when I was first elected to parliament, it wasn’t legal to discriminate on the basis of race or gender in Australia. The Racial Discrimination Act was enacted before my childhood migration from Malaysia, a quarter of a century earlier. Discrimination on the basis of...
April 2016
Australia’s food and wine industry is the next big thing in China
By Hamish McDonald
Wine distributors from China visit the Barossa Valley
Out on Cape Grim, waves roll in from 10,000 kilometres of unbroken ocean to crash at the north-western tip of Tasmania. This was where David Beca, chief executive officer of the Van Diemen’s Land Company, was showing me relics of the farming enterprise’s savage start.
March 2016
Indonesia’s mass killings have been overlooked for 50 years
By Robert Manne and Mark Aarons


June 2016
Beyoncé in Lemonade
Beyoncé’s powerful ‘Lemonade’
By Anwen Crawford
“The most disrespected person in America is the black woman,” said Malcolm X, on 5 May 1962. It was part of a wide-ranging speech on racism that he gave at the funeral service of Korean War veteran and Nation of Islam member Ronald Stokes, who was shot in the back by Los Angeles police officers while his hands were raised in the air.
April 2016
Gareth Liddiard on The Drones’ ‘Feelin Kinda Free’
By Anwen Crawford
Early on 1 December 1948, a man was found dead at Adelaide’s Somerton Beach. His pockets contained cigarettes, matches and chewing gum, but he had no wallet, and his clothing tags had been removed.
March 2016
Why is Australia planning so many new casinos?
By David Neustein
Crown Sydney image
Whale migration is set to have a significant impact on the character of Australia’s cities over the next few years. This elusive breed of mammal, the VIP international gambler – or “whale”, as it is called in casino circles – is known to wager millions a night on games of...
May 2016
An interview with Jonathan Franzen
By Richard Cooke
Jonathan Franzen
There’s something a little old-fashioned about Jonathan Franzen. I don’t mean old-fashioned in the bird-watching, fist-shaking at the internet and wearing thick black-rimmed writerly glasses way. I mean old-fashioned in the “novelist on the cover of TIME magazine” way. The sense...
April 2016
The economics of Everest in Jennifer Peedom’s ‘Sherpa’
By Luke Davies
“We need help here,” a panicked, crackly voice calls out on a two-way radio, over a black screen, in the opening moments of Jennifer Peedom’s Sherpa (in national release).