John Birmingham


21 ENTRIES John Birmingham is an author, a columnist and a journalist. His books include He Died With a Felafel in His Hand and Leviathan: The Unauthorised Biography of Sydney.


Image of Peter Dutton’s mobile office, September 2004


Rebellion in Dutton country

Labor, the Greens and GetUp are preparing for battle in the Queensland electorate of Dickson


Man united

Clive Palmer and his Palmer United Party

An Australian light armoured vehicle, Tangi Valley, Afghanistan, March 2011. © SPC Eward Garibay/ISAF


Winning Enemies

The humiliating retreat from the southern Iraqi city of Basra, into cantonment at the airport, is widely regarded as the modern nadir of the British military. On 2 September 2007, a bugle sounded ‘Advance’ to signal the withdrawal, and a convoy carrying …

Campbell Newman. © Brian Cassey

Comment: The Shock Jock Rule of Campbell Newman

It was Winston Churchill who famously refused to cut funding to the arts to pay for more Spitfires and destroyers during the grimmest days of World War II, demanding of his art-hating, penny-pinching advisers in Treasury, “Then what are we fighting …

Julian Assange holds a press conference on the 'Afghan War Diary' in London, 26 July 2010. © Leon Neal / AFP / Getty Images


The man who fell to Earth

Julian Assange’s WikiLeaks

'Into the Woods: The Battle for Tasmania's Forests' by Anna Krien, Black Inc., 304pp; $29.95


‘Into the Woods: The Battle for Tasmania’s Forests’ by Anna Krien

Tasmania is another country, sometimes another world. To move beyond the edge of settlement, which largely peters out a short drive from the fairytale towns of Hobart and Launceston, is to pass into an antipodean Middle Earth. As quickly becomes clear …

'Brisbane' by Matthew Condon, UNSW Press, 312pp; $29.95


‘Brisbane’ by Matthew Condon

Cities have memories that outlive those who first held them. London will always recall the Blitz, Rome the glories of empire. Some memories are, of course, lost. Time, war, civilisational collapse all take their toll. But how do you explain a city that …


‘War’ by Sebastian Junger

It might seem strange and contrary, but among the many surprising truths in Sebastian Junger’s brilliant evocation of 15 months, on and off, spent at the front in Afghanistan is the presence of love at the heart of war. The strong bond that can develop …


Failed state

New South Wales


Changing frontiers

The National Party



A short history of the media future


Looking west

Australia and the Indian Ocean

Illustration by Jeff Fisher.


Soiled goods

The dimpled orange, bursting with sweetness, that you cut for your breakfast this morning had been dying from the moment it was plucked from its twig. Human hands might have grabbed it from the branch, or perhaps a giant mechanical harvester shook the …


The coming storm

Out of work in a land of plenty


In the dark?

The same dirty old energy