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

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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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...
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.
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).
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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
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.
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...
May 2016
When human nature and the law intersect
By Jenan Taylor
Georgie Stone
At a Saturday farmers’ market, two little girls in floral sundresses gaze up at a tall, red-lipped, ponytailed busker with a guitar. Among the stalls, crowds and opportunistic seagulls, Georgie Stone is performing hits by artists such as Taylor Swift, as well as songs she’s...
April 2016
The Greens senator with mass appeal
By Sam Vincent
DJ S-Ludz would rather you not call him that.


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.