Editor’s Note

Editor’s Note June 2017

“She had driven back and forth along the lake several times and chosen the only possible entry point,” writes Helen Garner. “Once in the water she accelerated. She did nothing to save her children or to help strangers who rushed to the scene, but got out through the window, leaving the children inside.”

When Akon Guode drove her children into the lake in south-west Melbourne, it seemed like a shocking echo of the Robert Farquharson crime, the subject of Garner’s This House of Grief.

“Hadn’t we heard this before? Was it a copycat thing?”

In her new essay, Helen Garner explores the circumstances that led to that day at the lake. The story of Guode is heartbreaking – and, unlike the Farquharson case, it’s terrifyingly easy to comprehend. All it takes is a writer of Helen Garner’s quality: sifting every detail, observing the court proceedings, questioning experts involved, fine-tuning every thought process, and writing with the honesty and clarity that has become her trademark.

The sentence for Guode, as it happens, will be handed down tomorrow.

This week also marks the 50th anniversary of the 1967 referendum, which, as Noel Pearson writes, represents unfinished business – especially for First Nations peoples. It is also the 75th anniversary of Robert Menzies’ Forgotten People broadcast, a speech that Judith Brett sees as indicative of how far the Liberal Party has drifted from one core principle.

The past sheds light on all.

Nick Feik

Nick Feik is the editor of The Monthly.


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