Australian politics, society & culture

September 2016
Non-negotiation negotiations on the plebiscite
By Sean Kelly

Here’s Malcolm Turnbull: “Three years ago Bill Shorten said publicly that he supported a plebiscite as a means of resolving the question about whether the law should be changed to allow same-sex couples to marry; clearly he doesn’t have an objection in principle to a plebiscite.”

Current Issue
Where has demand driven our universities?
By Thornton McCamish
Image of Sydney University graduate
Earlier this year Professor Glyn Davis, vice-chancellor of the University of Melbourne, published an essay in which he warned that Australia’s public universities should heed the fate that befell the monasteries in England under Henry VIII.
September 2016
The only thing Andrew Bolt wants to recognise is his own reflection
By Mungo MacCallum
Last week’s television debate Recognition: Yes or No? did not really advance the issue, which was a pity; it could have been more helpful had the participants been better matched.
Is the government committing criminal offences by failing to ensure the safety of detainees on Nauru and Manus Island?
Max Costello
Australia’s two regional processing centres (RPCs) that house asylum seekers on Nauru and Manus Island are offensive in three ways, according to most critics. Their continued operation offends against basic humanity and morality, against fiscal rectitude, and against international human rights law (civil law) and conventions.
Ron Howard’s ‘Eight Days a Week’ catches The Beatles and their fans in a dazzling, imperishable youth
Anwen Crawford
Between 1964 and 1966, the most documented people on earth were surely The Beatles. During those years the group toured the world, visiting Europe, Asia, Australia – a quarter of a million people lined the streets of Adelaide just to see their motorcade – and the United States on four occasions.

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Non-negotiation negotiations on the plebiscite
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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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. The German-British composer describes the Sydney Opera House as the product of a modernist architecture that had “great faith...
July 2016
The Newtown Jets rugby league team has a loyal – and increasingly urbane – suburban following
By Alex McKinnon
Ladies and gentlemen, welcome to the Eighth Wonder of the World! Henson Park, the home of RRRRUGBY LEAGUE and the mighty NEWTOWWWN JETS!”
June 2016
There’s a new contender in Sophie Mirabella and Cathy McGowan’s battle for Indi
By John van Tiggelen
On the face of it, Marty Corboy, the National Party’s candidate for Indi in north-eastern Victoria, has at best a ringside seat to one of the more keenly anticipated battles of this coming election.
Current Issue
Image of Roald Dahl in his writing hut
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. But a lifelong sweet tooth may have been his most vital characteristic.
August 2016
A region returns to earth
By Hamish McDonald
To get the optimistic view in Port Hedland, 1600 kilometres north of Perth, you go to the little park at the end of Wedge Street and look out to the harbour channel at high tide. That’s when it’s deep enough for ships fully loaded with iron ore.
May 2016
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. He...
July 2016
An indigenous leader reflects on a lifetime following the law of the land
By Galarrwuy Yunupingu
Galarrwuy Yunupingu
Our song cycles have the greatest importance in the lives of my people. They guide and inform our lives. A song cycle tells a person’s life: it relates to the past, to the present and to the future. Yolngu balance our lives through the song cycles that are laid out on the...
June 2016
On the road with Bill Shorten
By Chloe Hooper
Bill Shorten is in the passenger seat of a Comcar being driven west of Brisbane along the Warrego Highway.


September 2016
Still from Captain Fantastic
Matt Ross’ ‘Captain Fantastic’ is a portrait of a family in the wilderness
By Luke Davies
The opening moments of Matt Ross’ Captain Fantastic (in national release 8 September) introduce us to the rugged, pine-forested world of an ideal – or idealised – family living far off the grid in the woods of Washington State.
August 2016
Josh Kriegman and Elyse Steinberg’s documentary ‘Weiner’ charts the fall of a congressman who can’t keep out of the spotlight
By Leigh Sales
There has surely never been a greater gift to the singular headline writers at the New York Post than Anthony Weiner, the Democratic congressman compelled to stand down in 2011 after tweeting explicit photographs – including one of his bulging underwear – to
July 2016
Briggs on hip-hop, humour and a new generation of Aboriginal leaders
By Anwen Crawford
Adam Briggs – better known simply as Briggs – is a rapper, writer, performer and record label owner. As a rapper he has released two solo albums, The Blacklist (2010) and Sheplife (2014), and is working on a third. He acts in Cleverman, the dystopian drama screening on the ABC,...
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’
July 2016
Cultural conflicts in Ivan Sen’s ‘Goldstone’ and the ABC’s ‘Cleverman’
By Luke Davies
In the famous crop-duster scene from Alfred Hitchcock’s North by Northwest (1959), Cary Grant’s hapless character Roger Thornhill runs for pitiful cover on an isolated stretch of road as a biplane repeatedly sprays him with machine-gun fire.