Australian politics, society & culture

August 2015
Julia Gillard has changed her mind on same-sex marriage. But has she reformed?
By Richard Cooke

Exactly how late did Julia Gillard change her mind on same-sex marriage? You could measure it as “six years after Dick Cheney” or “two years since leaving office”. But here she is in My Story, a book released less than a year ago: “My views are not that same-sex marriage is too radical. If anything, the vision is not radical enough.” What has happened since then?

August 2015
When social services are cut, hospitals are left to fill the holes
By Karen Hitchcock
All my writer friends say, “You’re so lucky to have a real job, which has a real effect, in the real world.” They say it with an existential sigh. “You actually help people.” I usually just nod, my counterarguments too huge to mount.
August 2015
Australian military involvement in the middle east is all about politics at home
By Mungo MacCallum
From the fastnesses of the island of Mer in the Torres Strait, Tony Abbott assures us that he will carefully consider the American request for Australia to extend its bombing raids from Iraq to Syria “in the next week or so”.
Emma Kowal’s ‘Trapped in the Gap’ examines the ‘White anti-racist’ in indigenous Australia
Kim Mahood
A few years ago, a friend of mine worked as a nurse for a men’s health organisation in a remote Aboriginal community. One of his responsibilities was to accompany the men when they travelled to other communities for ceremonial business, and attend to any illness or injury that occurred. At one of these events, a young Aboriginal man approached him.
The Chinese stock boom was built to shore up President Xi Jinping’s rule. What will the crash mean for the future?
Satyajit Das
This is part 3 of a three-part series on the Chinese stock market. Read part 1 and part 2.

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What Australian Border Force and ‘Gayby Baby’ have in common
Sean Kelly

Border Force to join police in huge visa fraud crackdown in Melbourne CBD “The centre of Melbourne will be swamped with police on Friday and Saturday night in a huge multi-agency operation to target everything from visa fraud to antisocial behaviour....

A murder on live TV “At about six-forty-five this morning, a man stood on a balcony near the Bridgewater Plaza shopping center, near Roanoke, Virginia, and fumbled with his phone and its camera. He set it straight and started to walk toward Alison Parker, a local TV reporter filming an early-morning segment about...

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July 2015
Favours and foreign affairs: Joko Widodo’s first year as Indonesian president
By Hamish McDonald
There comes a moment in a long evening of wayang orang, the theatre of Java based on the great Hindu epics, when the drama cuts from strident speeches by gorgeously costumed warriors and princes against painted backdrops of palaces. A set of open fields and distant volcanoes...
July 2015
What’s next for the entrepreneurial Josh Lefers?
By Antoni Jach
In September, Josh Lefers is going to jump out of a plane naked (apart from a parachute) and land somewhere in New York. “Why naked?” I ask him when we meet in Melbourne.
June 2015
A win for David Cameron and the Conservatives in the UK was inevitable
By Guy Rundle
“Pull over here,” I told the driver of the black cab as I spotted a bottle shop. We were headed out of the tangle of London’s Piccadilly Circus to the boho-prosperous calm of Primrose Hill, an old haunt of threadbare leftists, now gone upmarket.
Current Issue
On lifestyle diseases and quick fixes
By Karen Hitchcock
Men have gained control over the forces of nature to such an extent that with their help they would have no difficulty in exterminating one another to the last man. They know this, and hence comes a large part of their current unrest, their unhappiness and their mood of anxiety. – Sigmund Freud, Civilization and its Discontents, 1930
Current Issue
Meeting the Dalai Lama in the Blue Mountains
By Barry Hill
“How did you get on with the Buddha?” my daughter asked when I got back from the Blue Mountains. She caught my hesitation and let out a laugh, embarrassed at her slip of the tongue.
June 2015
On pregnancy and birth, tradition and family
By Alice Pung
“What are you doing?” my hospital roommate asks. I’m standing by the door of our shared bathroom, towel in hand, waiting for the nurse to return with a shower cap. In antenatal classes I was told a warm shower is comforting when going into labour, but I don’t want to give birth...
July 2015
Too many kangaroos loose in Canberra
By Sam Vincent
The eastern grey kangaroo has a top speed of 60 kilometres per hour. By the end of its life, my ute could do 80. The comparison is not academic: driving home from parties in my early 20s, my muffler farting through Canberra’s northern fringe, mobs of 10, 20, 30 roos would slip...
July 2015
The children left behind by Australian sex tourists in the Philippines
By Margaret Simons
The sky bruises at the same time each day in Angeles City. Then the rain comes. The weather is so similar – steamy heat, then rain and evening relief – that it can seem as though time is circular, and the same day recurs.


September 2015
Bringing Timothy Conigrave’s ‘Holding the Man’ to the screen
By Steve Dow
In 1995, an Australian memoir was published posthumously. Its author had died the previous year. Holding the Man, by Melbourne-born actor and playwright Timothy Conigrave, was a balm to thousands of gay men, many of whom had lost friends and lovers in the AIDS crisis.
July 2015
Power and resistance at the 56th Venice Biennale
By Julie Ewington
The Venice Biennale is the biggest show in town, in any town. Of all the international biennials and triennials that showcase contemporary art, it is the oldest, the grandest.
June 2015
Adapting Kate Grenville’s ‘The Secret River’ for the screen
By Steve Dow
“Yeah, that’s right!” yells a tall, bearded former convict wearing a green vest, brown pants and knee-high boots. He is standing at the bottom of a valley, in long grass surrounded by gum trees, waving a rifle. Two film crews for the television adaptation of The Secret River...
August 2015
Why we keep watching ‘The Americans’, ‘Veep’ and ‘House of Cards’
By Luke Davies
It’s been 16 years since the launch of The West Wing, Aaron Sorkin’s frenetic, intelligent, densely worded political soap opera. George W Bush was elected president during the show’s second season, and over the course of its seven-year run it became a kind of alternative-...
July 2015
By John Kinsella
An on-drive to the boundary the ball going on and on through dust and dirt on and on past the shed all the way past the chook pen and on bouncing over bark flaked and fallen from wandoos and on over dried twigs and branches