Australian politics, society & culture

Current Issue
The electorate is not as volatile as we might imagine
By George Megalogenis

For the third election in a row, Australians are being offered a choice between a government that can’t run on its record and an Opposition that pretends it is ready to return to office. A third election in which incumbent and challenger are bound by limited leadership experience and modest prior ministerial achievement.

Malcolm Turnbull entered parliament at the 2004 election, and Bill Shorten followed in 2007. By any objective standard, each man is a decade short of the necessary grounding to run the country.

Current Issue
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.
June 2016
Beyoncé’s powerful ‘Lemonade’
By Anwen Crawford
Beyoncé in Lemonade
“The most disrespected person in America is the black woman,” said Malcolm X, on 5 May 1962.
On Stan Grant’s radical hope
Anne Manne
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.

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This campaign needs more fight
Sean Kelly

Chad’s ex-ruler convicted of crimes against humanity “Hissene Habre has been convicted of crimes against humanity and sentenced to life in prison at a landmark trial in Senegal. The judge convicted him of rape, sexual slavery and ordering killings during his rule from 1982 to 1990. Victims and families of those killed cheered and...

Three shipwrecks as migrant crisis flares on Mediterranean “First came a battered, blue-decked vessel that flipped over on Wednesday as terrified migrants plunged into the Mediterranean Sea. The next day, a flimsy craft capsized with hundreds of people aboard. And...

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May 2016
The mystery of a man, a tree and an umbrella
By Leigh Sales
I am sitting on a park bench, reading, when a closed umbrella thwacks onto the path next to me, seemingly falling from the sky. It is one of those flimsy, collapsible black numbers that you dash into the chemist to buy when it’s pouring, inevitably to leave forgotten under a...
April 2016
Solastalgia and the impact of the recent bushfires
By Nicole Gill
“I have three questions for you tonight: Why are you here? What do these fires signify? And what can we do?”
April 2016
IBAC investigates the Victorian education department’s failed Ultranet
By Catherine Ford
In late February, Dr James Watterston, the director-general of Queensland’s Department of Education and Training, gave evidence to the Victorian Independent Broad-based Anti-corruption Commission (IBAC).
Current Issue
Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi
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. The Iraqi Army, in which the United States had invested, or perhaps wasted, US$25 billion, fled in fear.
May 2016
Australia’s car industry has met policy failure head-on
By Richard Denniss
In 2000, as the Olympic torch wound its way around Australia en route to Sydney, the car leading the relay was an Australian-made, electric–petrol hybrid, the ECOmmodore. But during the decade that followed, Holden decided there was no future in Australian-made electric cars.
February 2016
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.
March 2016
The dominance of baby boomers is becoming total
By Richard Cooke
Mike Baird, the premier of New South Wales, can’t have been prepared for this. Two months ago he was probably the most popular politician in Australia, presenting a wet Liberal surfer persona that gelled with the state’s better nature. There were travel concessions for asylum...
March 2016
Indonesia’s mass killings have been overlooked for 50 years
By Robert Manne and Mark Aarons


June 2016
Scaling the IVF mountain in Julia Leigh’s ‘Avalanche’
By Anna Goldsworthy
In Julia Leigh’s 2008 novella, Disquiet, a woman escapes a troubled marriage in Australia for her family chateau in France. Shortly after her arrival, her sister-in-law returns from hospital, cradling a stillborn child she and her husband wish to “get to know” before the funeral.
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
True crime and entertainment in Netflix’s ‘Making a Murderer’
By Anna Goldsworthy
Steven Avery
Sometimes, while giving workshops on life writing, I’ve had conversations that seem – at the very least – morally suspect. How much detail would best convey the marriage breakdown? Would it be preferable to start the story with the suicide attempt, or gradually build up to it?...
May 2016
‘Batman v. Superman’ v. the internet
By Waleed Aly and Scott Stephens
Batman v. Superman
“Humankind deserves a better blockbuster.” However many times you read Michael Phillips’ lacerating Chicago Tribune review of Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice, this closing line remains strangely overblown. Even Heath Ledger’s classic line from The Dark Knight, which Phillips...
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).