Australian politics, society & culture

October 2016
The government is getting some things right on Indigenous policy
By Sean Kelly

When a minister is down, kicking them becomes really easy. Attorney-General George Brandis has been down for a while now, and recent events mean it will be a little while before he gets up again.

So it might come as a surprise that I’d like to single out Brandis for praise, along with another not-very-hot minister, Nigel Scullion.

October 2016
The Lifted Brow; $29.99
By Michael Lucy
Cover of The Island Will Sink
In the not-too-distant future of Briohny Doyle’s debut novel, the first published under the auspices of Melbourne-based literary magazine The Lifted Brow, Pitcairn Island is on the verge of collapsing beneath the ocean.
October 2016
How can we make housing more affordable? The answer will make a lot of people unhappy
By Jamie Hall
Recently I met an economist friend after work in the city. We had a few refreshments, and then the conversation turned to the housing affordability problem in cities like Melbourne, Sydney, and San Francisco.
Finalists for the 2016 Moran Contemporary Photographic Prize
The Monthly
The Moran Contemporary Photographic Prize invites photographers to interpret ‘Contemporary Life in Australia’ with an emphasis on Australians going about their day-to-day life. Here are this year’s finalists, showing Australian life from the beach to the ’burbs to the bush and all points in between. Best viewed in full-screen mode.
Lovatts Crosswords gave its profits to employees. What went wrong?
Richard Cooke
“The most fundamental fact about the ideas of the political left,” wrote the libertarian conservative economist Thomas Sowell, “is that they do not work.” Before writing this off as a typically abrasive overstatement, we must make a small concession: most of the time the purer egalitarian models of the harder left haven’t worked very well in practice.

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The government is getting some things right on Indigenous policy
Sean Kelly

Crisis on high “Deep in the Himalayas sits a remote research station that is tracking an alarming trend in climate change, with implications that could disrupt the lives of more than 1 billion people and pitch the most populated region of the world into chaos. The station...

Evidence of ‘torture’ of children in Darwin detention centre uncovered “Video of the tear gassing of six boys being held in isolation at the Don Dale Youth Detention Centre in Darwin in August 2014 exposes one of the darkest incidents in the history of juvenile justice in...

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September 2016
Durbach Block Jaggers is a practice in argument
By Erik Jensen
In the garden on top of their offices in Sydney, three architects sit squabbling over buildings. It is the argument of people so familiar with each other they won’t allow a conversation to waste its time in civility. They tease one another. They have a silliness that later seems...
August 2016
Wikiclub NT is raising the Northern Territory’s profile on Wikipedia
By Oscar Schwartz
“Welcome to Wikiclub,” says Caddie Brain with a smile. “This is only our second meeting. It’s good to see some of you again. And for those of you who are new, welcome!”
August 2016
Max Richter brings his nocturnal odyssey ‘Sleep’ to the Sydney Opera House
By Anwen Crawford
“I’ve always thought that one of the more interesting things about music performance is how it relates to the space,” Max Richter tells me by telephone.
Current Issue
Image of Nauru
Richard Flanagan delivers the inaugural Boisbouvier Lecture
By Richard Flanagan
Every day we hear grim and grimmer news that suggests we are passing through the winter of the world. Everywhere man is tormented, the globe reels from multitudes of suffering and horror, and, worst, we no longer know with confidence what our answer might be. And yet we understand that the time approaches when an answer must be made or a terrible reckoning will be ours.
September 2016
The life and legacy of Roald Dahl
By Anwen Crawford
The late Roald Dahl, who was born 100 years ago this month, had many qualities that made him an outstanding children’s writer, including an eccentric sort of humour, an acute sense of fairness and a delight in words.
June 2016
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. Through the ’60s...
August 2016
What did the party deliver?
By Paddy Manning
Image of Richard Di Natale, Adam Bandt and Jason Ball
On election night, crouched over their laptops in a tatty old make-up room in the bowels of Melbourne’s Forum Theatre, Greens campaign workers were fielding calls from scrutineers at polling booths in the city’s inner suburbs and trying to make urgent sense of the count. The...
July 2016
Ms Dhu, Lynette Daley and the alarming rates of violence against indigenous women
By Marcia Langton
Two Aboriginal women speak to us from their graves. One died from horrific injuries in a police cell in Western Australia, and the other bled out on a beach in New South Wales after an alleged violent sexual assault.


October 2016
Image from The Get Down
Netflix’s hip-hop drama ‘The Get Down’ squanders its potential
By Luke Davies
First, there was Strictly Ballroom (1992). The tight, passionate dance drama burst onto the screen, introducing Sydney director Baz Luhrmann. Next came Romeo + Juliet (1996), a luridly wacky and at moments surprisingly beautiful bending of Shakespeare into a slick, fun, heightened pop package.
September 2016
Philippe Sands’ ‘East West Street’ mixes memoir, biography and thriller to explain the origins of ‘crimes against humanity’ and ‘genocide’
By Martin Krygier
Lemberg, Lwów, Lvov, Lviv.
August 2016
Tom Griffiths’ ‘The Art of Time Travel’ is a thoughtful look at some of Australia’s most prominent historians
By Barry Hill
Cover of The Art of Time Travel
This is not so much a history, as an epic poem; and notwithstanding, or even in consequence of this, the truest of histories. – John Stuart Mill, ‘Carlyle’s French Revolution’
October 2016
Six stories of 100 words
By Paul Connolly
September 2016
Ben Lerner’s ‘The Hatred of Poetry’ brings together questions of art and politics
By Justin Clemens
“The fatal problem with poetry: poems,” Ben Lerner writes in this brief, engaging and occasionally irritating book (Text Publishing; $19.99).