Australian politics, society & culture

Current Issue
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 never pursued the hybrid Commodore, and by the end of next year Holden, along with Ford and Toyota, will have closed all of its Australian car factories.

Remembering Grant McLennan
By Robert Forster
On 6 May, on a Saturday afternoon while preparing a housewarming party, Grant McLennan, a friend and working partner of mine for 30 years, died of a heart attack. He was 48 years old. This is a remembrance.
May 2016
The 20th Biennale of Sydney
By Julie Ewington
Conscious Sleep by Chiharu Shiota
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.
Queensland’s Courier-Mail still has plenty of questions to answer about its coverage of coral bleaching on the Great Barrier Reef
Andrew Stafford
Last night, ABC TV’s Media Watch followed up a story I wrote for the Saturday Paper on the Courier-Mail’s coverage of coral bleaching on the Great Barrier Reef
‘Batman v. Superman’ v. the internet
Waleed Aly and Scott Stephens
“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 invokes, had an unstated modesty.

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The budget is over. Now for the election
Sean Kelly

Turkey’s PM resigns amid high-level rifts and deepening crises “Turkey’s prime minister resigned Thursday after a public rift with President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, throwing the country’s politics into turmoil...

Canadian blaze forces evacuation, keeps firefighters at distance “Walls of flame driven by strong, shifting winds raged out of control on Wednesday in and around the evacuated city of Fort McMurray, Alberta, where firefighters were helpless to stop the destruction and where about 88,000 people had...

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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.
March 2016
Internet access in jails
By Oscar Schwartz
At 7.57 am, while eating breakfast, I receive a WhatsApp notification. It’s a message, 16 seconds long. “Hello, my friend,” a man says in a sonorous voice. It is hard to pin down the accent, but if I had to guess I would say Egyptian.
Current Issue
Stan Grant
On Stan Grant’s radical hope
By 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. He seems in awe of Grant and tells him that his children are great fans: they’ve watched his speeches on YouTube.
April 2016
Australia’s food and wine industry is the next big thing in China
By Hamish McDonald
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.
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...
March 2016
Alan Moorehead, Australia’s forgotten literary giant
By Thornton McCamish
Alan Moorehead image
Every book lover knows the thrilling experience of discovering a writer whose work changes the way they see the world. It can happen more than once; it had already happened to me several times before I picked up Alan Moorehead’s A Late Education in my late 20s, so I knew what...
February 2016
The big fracking mess of resource politics
By Guy Rundle
Big blue sky, wide over red dirt roads and grey-green ironbark and gum, and beneath them, fine grass, shading away into the distance.


May 2016
Jonathan Franzen
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. I mean old-fashioned in the “novelist on the cover of TIME magazine” way.
March 2016
Why is Australia planning so many new casinos?
By David Neustein
Whale migration is set to have a significant impact on the character of Australia’s cities over the next few years.
February 2016
John Blaxland’s ‘The Protest Years: The Official History of ASIO 1963–1975’
By David McKnight
Following David Horner’s The Spy Catchers, John Blaxland’s The Protest Years (Allen & Unwin; $49.99) is the second volume of The Official History of ASIO. This instalment sheds light on the organisation’s reaction to the radicalisation and protest movements of the 1960s and...
April 2016
The economics of Everest in Jennifer Peedom’s ‘Sherpa’
By Luke Davies
Still from Sherpa
“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). “Many people have died.” It’s 18 April 2014, and Peedom and her crew are at Everest Base Camp, shooting a...
March 2016
True crime and entertainment in Netflix’s ‘Making a Murderer’
By Anna Goldsworthy
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?