October 2011

Arts & Letters

Television masterpiece

By Marieke Hardy
Chris Lilley - ‘Summer Heights High’, 2007

Note perfect, Summer Heights High searingly captures a slice of Australia’s psyche without mockery or judgement. It provides a sublime bridge between creator Chris Lilley’s sweet syrup of We Can Be Heroes and the more abrasive chip-on-shoulder of Angry Boys. Above all, it is funny. Show me any other short-run series that can simultaneously inspire sniggering teenagers to draw cocks on their backpacks and send menopausal women into sobbing spirals. Lilley dares to offer us flawed, self-involved, megalomaniac protagonists and then forces us to care for them – even to love them, in the long run. He marries the sort of jokes that have you looking at your companions in startled comradeship with beautiful, human storylines about love and loss and pain and hopelessness. Whatever you make of his more recent creative offerings (the vaguely controversial S.mouse giving faceless internet detractors something to bicker over for tedious months), Lilley’s is a carefully crafted, important, uniquely Australian voice. He knows us better than we know ourselves. I say we give him the key to the city and let him run wild.

—Marieke Hardy

Cover: October 2011

October 2011

From the front page

NSW Police Commissioner Mick Fuller

The prevention state: Part four

In the face of widespread criticism of strip-searches, NSW Police offers a candid defence of preventative policing: You are meant to fear us.

Image of Scott Morrison

A national disaster

On the PM’s catastrophically inept response to Australia’s unprecedented bushfires

Image of Scott Morrison

A Pentecostal PM and climate change

Does a belief in the End Times inform Scott Morrison’s response to the bushfire crisis?

Police NSW festival

The prevention state: Part three

As authorities try to prevent crimes that haven’t happened, legislation is increasingly targeting people for whom it was not intended.


In This Issue

Scene from 'The Theft of Sita'. Image courtesy of Melbourne Festival.

Music theatre masterpiece

An Australian–Indonesian production - ‘The Theft of Sita’, 2000

Words: Shane Maloney | Illustration: Chris Grosz

Robert Helpmann & Anna Pavlova

Theatre masterpiece

Tom Wright & Benedict Andrews - ‘The War of the Roses’, 2009

The incendiary Meow Meow, 2011. © Magnus Hastings

Queen of the night

Meeting Meow Meow


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Poetry masterpiece

Jennifer Maiden - ‘Friendly Fire’, 2005

© Sergio Dionisio/Getty Images

Design masterpiece

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Fiction masterpiece

JM Coetzee - ‘Summertime’, 2009

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Architecture masterpiece

Lindsay & Kerry Clare - ‘Gallery of Modern Art’, Queensland, 2006


Read on

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A Pentecostal PM and climate change

Does a belief in the End Times inform Scott Morrison’s response to the bushfire crisis?

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A national disaster

On the PM’s catastrophically inept response to Australia’s unprecedented bushfires

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Hirokazu Kore-eda’s ‘The Truth’

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Four seasons in 11 days: ‘Portrait of a Lady on Fire’

Céline Sciamma’s impeccable study of desire and freedom is a slow burn


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