Australian politics, society & culture

May 2016
As the leaders prepare for their debate on Sunday
By Sean Kelly

Most voters won’t have noticed how addle-brained was the attempt by Treasurer Scott Morrison and Finance Minister Mathias Cormann yesterday to draw attention to Billion Dollar Bill’s Black Hole. Their feeble attempts at addition were shot down by a cadre of press gallery journalists who quickly spotted errors, typos, and double-countings. It was embarrassing. Worse, it was unnecessary.

May 2016
Beautiful suffering in PJ Harvey’s ‘The Hope Six Demolition Project’ and Anohni’s ‘Hopelessness’
By Anwen Crawford
Anohni by Alice O'Malley
English singer-songwriter Polly Jean Harvey, known professionally as PJ Harvey, released her first album, Dry, in 1992. Harvey’s rock songs, formed around her rasping electric guitar lines, bore a superficial resemblance to the then-dominant grunge style.
Current Issue
On Stan Grant’s radical hope
By Anne Manne
Stan Grant
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.
When human nature and the law intersect
Jenan Taylor
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 penned herself.

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As the leaders prepare for their debate on Sunday
Sean Kelly

Silicon Valley billionaire secretly funding Hulk Hogan’s lawsuits against Gawker “According to people familiar with the situation who agreed to speak on condition of anonymity, Peter Thiel, a PayPal cofounder and one of the earliest backers...

Austria elects Green candidate as president in narrow defeat for far right “A leftwing, independent candidate has narrowly prevented Austria from becoming the first EU country to elect a far-right head of state after a knife-edge contest ended with his opponent...

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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). The hearings were further examinations of IBAC allegations of corruption at...
March 2016
The Watson family take on ‘Family Feud’
By Paul Connolly
The set of Channel Ten’s Family Feud has all the subtlety of Las Vegas at night, and as we take our seats within its glow the crowd-warmer fills us in on game-show audience etiquette: in essence, smile no matter what.
February 2016
The language of menus
By Aaron Timms
At LuMi Bar & Dining, a newish harbourside restaurant beloved of Sydney’s crisp white shirt dining set, a carefully stubbled chef presents a dish of crab meat, highlighted, he explains, with puffed rice.
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.
April 2016
The Greens senator with mass appeal
By Sam Vincent
DJ S-Ludz would rather you not call him that.
December 2015
Why have we failed to address climate change?
By Robert Manne
Unless by some miracle almost every climate scientist is wrong, future generations will look upon ours with puzzlement and anger – as the people who might have prevented the Earth from becoming a habitat unfriendly to humans and other species but nonetheless failed to act.
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...
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
Batman v. Superman
‘Batman v. Superman’ v. the internet
By 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.
March 2016
Doing the right thing in Jay Roach’s ‘Trumbo’ and László Nemes’ ‘Son of Saul’
By Luke Davies
The television series Breaking Bad is held in high regard for many reasons. Over five seasons spread across six years, it attained the quality of a Greek tragedy. The writing sparkled.
February 2016
Survival tactics in ‘The Revenant’ and ‘The Big Short’
By Luke Davies
“Is there even a movie here, or is the film just the by-product of a particularly masochistic film crew spending some time in the woods?” This question, posed by American film blogger Devin Faraci, of Alejandro G Iñárritu’s The Revenant (in national release), is not entirely...
April 2016
Helen Garner’s work collected in ‘Everywhere I Look’
By Anna Goldsworthy
In one of the shorter pieces in her new nonfiction collection, Everywhere I Look (Text Publishing; $29.99), Helen Garner celebrates the Canadian pianist Glenn Gould: “JS Bach is God, as far as I’m concerned, and the pianist Glenn Gould was one of his major prophets.” She recalls...
March 2016
Rihanna’s ‘ANTI’ and Future’s ‘EVOL’
By Anwen Crawford
The Barbadian pop singer Rihanna and the Canadian rapper Drake have recorded three duets together.