Australian politics, society & culture


Elle Hardy

Elle Hardy is an Australian journalist based in the United States. She can be found at


Articles by this author

The anthology series’ self-aware absurdity makes it the perfect show for our times
A town like Fargo
In the latter stages of Fargo’s second season, as the remaining characters converge on a suicide motel for the final shootout, a UFO appears in the sky. We are at the apogee of...
Cover of On the Java Ridge
Jock Serong’s ‘On the Java Ridge’ shows us a world our politicians would prefer we didn’t see
Closeness from a distance
In his third book, On the Java Ridge (Text; $29.99), Australian author Jock Serong delivers a political thriller with soft notes of dystopia that ought to tremor far and wide. A...
‘The Handmaid’s Tale’ is a modern lesson in repression but ignores wider, more complex issues
Resistance is futile
In a climate of despair, as we try to grasp the changes to the world we thought we knew, a television adaptation of Margaret Atwood’s 1985 cult novel The Handmaid’s Tale (now...
Can a show like ‘You Can’t Ask That’ make us a more decent society?
A question of understanding
In Australia, demons can be summoned from the underworld to harass public figures with only the merest drops of poison on a keyboard. Waleed must renounce … Yassmin cannot be …...
‘Woman of Substances’ is more than just another example of memoir-as-journalism
Investigating ourselves
When Roland Barthes argued in 1967 for writing to be divorced from the context of its author, perhaps he foresaw the proliferation of memoirs that have come to dominate the...
Yanis Varoufakis’ ‘Adults in the Room’ offers an insider’s view of the Greek financial crisis
The politics of memoir
Clichés should be avoided like the plague. So too, I tend to think, should political memoirs. With these two edicts in mind, it was a task to make it through the preface...
Joan Didion’s ‘South and West’ only scratches at the surface of America’s complex Southern states
The notebooks of icons
Every writer has their tics, tortures phrases in draft and places markers for the big thought that has yet to come. Releasing unpolished notes from unpublished work...
Oil, money, murder and the birth of the FBI
‘Killers of the Flower Moon’ by David Grann
Since it was first drilled in 1859, America’s oil – that dark, viscous sludge of the underground – has come to be a Rorschach test for greed and savagery, a timeless...
Injustice is on the rise in the punitive welfare state
The age of unentitlement
Today it was revealed that terminally ill 21-year-old Rhys Pagalday had his welfare payments cut off because he wasn’t out job seeking. Despite being informed of his deteriorating...
Penning tributes as America burns
Fan fiction
Australia has long been a net importer of bad ideas. Whether it’s meaningless state borders, European farming practices, rugby union or any random tactic in the culture wars, we’...
Tony’s back, baby
Sinners and ’aints
While Tony Abbott spent the week leaning on taxpayer dollars in a glory tour of Europe, his supporters were boosting his stocks back home. An untold disaster of a prime...
Washington obsesses over Russia as Trump considers war with North Korea
A tale of two countries
The president may have attempted a pivot to domestic issues in his speech to Congress this week, but foreign policy is again on the agenda for the Trump administration....
The self-own has become the most devastating force in Australian politics
Stumbling and bumbling
In the parlance of the internet, the highest form of idiocy is the self-own – not a philosophical concept of autonomy, but an act of supreme stupidity akin to throwing the pin...
Taken for suckers, the media keeps throwing punches
The politics of distraction
Remember when we used to decry horse-race journalism? Only a few days short of his first month in office, President Trump today held an 80-minute press conference where he...
Apportioning blame for the rise of Australia’s nationalist right
No bread, just circuses
This is the time of year Australians fear most: those few weeks between the end of the cricket season and the start of the football season, when there’s nothing to watch on...
Australia is struggling to come to grips with the radical new disorder
As Malcolm Turnbull continues to learn, democratic politics is a deeply humiliating spectacle. While Turnbull was probably yearning for a phone call with President Trump akin to...
A focus on words and symbolism keeps feminism ineffective
Talk is cheap
Domestic and sexual violence against women is gaining increased attention in the media and public policy, and that’s an entirely good thing. But all too often, significant events...
The rise of the launch-your-own political party
In their own image
The Australian Electoral Commission has announced the registration of the John Madigan Manufacturing and Farming Party. Madigan, who split with the Democratic Labour Party to...