Australian politics, society & culture

July 2016
Turnbull returns to conservative favourites
By Sean Kelly

The post-election dishwashing period is over. We have a prime minister. The government has been reshuffled. The ministry has been sworn in. Labor had its own reshuffle on the weekend, with deserved promotions going to Penny Wong and Jim Chalmers, and Tanya Plibersek taking on a new education super-portfolio that will see her firmly placed on the political front line.

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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!”
July 2016
Media heat obscures weak support for the played-out Pauline Hanson
By Richard Cooke
In the aftermath of the Brexit vote, a Financial Times journalist noted that it was a “rather strange day. The Prime Minister resigning is only our third most important story”. By that metric, it’s been a rather strange week over here.
‘Pokémon Go’ makes a relentless, clear call for players to reclaim their own sense of time, space and place
Christian McCrea
The inescapable shadow of a fad is lurching over us. Pokémon Go has all the hallmarks of a phenomenon we’ll look back upon and laugh at in a few years.
‘Play School’ celebrates 50 years of preschool education and entertainment
Russell Marks
Allan Kendall, an Australian Open quarterfinalist, university dramatist and qualified teacher, returned to Sydney from the European tennis circuit in the mid 1960s and was given the task of bringing Play School, a BBC show for preschoolers, to the ABC. He’d seen Play School in production at the BBC in London and thought it had potential.

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Turnbull returns to conservative favourites
Sean Kelly

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...

Russian Olympic ban upheld; Moscow denounces ‘crime against sport’ “Sport’s highest tribunal rejected on Thursday Russia;s appeal against a doping ban for its entire athletics team from the Rio Olympics starting in 15 days’ time, drawing swift and angry condemnation from Moscow. The decision by the Swiss-based...

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May 2016
Melbourne Museum’s Thomas Rich has devoted more than 30 years to Australia’s polar dinosaurs
By Chloe Hooper
On a fine March morning, while staff at Melbourne Museum put the finishing touches on its blockbuster exhibition Jurassic World, eminent palaeontologist Dr Thomas Rich, 74, grey haired and bearded, strides to the Royal Exhibition Building next door. In his faded beige shirt,...
May 2016
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.”
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.
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Lynette Daley
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.
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.
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...
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. It...
April 2016
Ten years after the Eagles’ 2006 premiership, a culture is laid bare
By Martin McKenzie-Murray
It was the morning of the 2005 Australian Football League grand final, and nerves were shredding the bowels of two of the country’s finest midfielders. Chris Judd and Daniel Kerr, in between numbly staring at music videos, were making earnest trips to the bathroom.


July 2016
Image of Aaron Pedersen and Alex Russell in Goldstone
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. Early in the sequence, Hitchcock’s camera is tilted slightly higher than Thornhill. Mid sequence, it’s about level with the horizon.
May 2016
An interview with Jonathan Franzen
By Richard Cooke
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.
April 2016
Gareth Liddiard on The Drones’ ‘Feelin Kinda Free’
By Anwen Crawford
The Drones
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. The man has never been identified, and, though a 1949 coroner’s inquest...
June 2016
The Kiwi charm of Taika Waititi’s ‘Hunt for the Wilderpeople’
By Luke Davies
Still from Hunt for the Wilderpeople
In Taika Waititi’s Hunt for the Wilderpeople (in national release) we open on a majestic aerial view of dense New Zealand forest. It could be the beginning of some ominously dark Norwegian crime thriller – or Top of the Lake. But Waititi is a director of sunnier disposition, and...
May 2016
The 20th Biennale of Sydney
By Julie Ewington
It’s raining in Sydney, and Cockatoo Island has been flooding. But that hasn’t put a dampener on the crowds trooping off ferries from Circular Quay. Over the past decade, the largest island in Sydney Harbour has become one of the city’s iconic venues.