September 2021



The pandemic and the shrinking of Australian politics

Rather than prompting reform, the COVID emergency has hardened the major parties’ neoliberal ideology

Federal politics

Dismembering government

New public management and why the Commonwealth government can’t do anything anymore

Asylum seekers

Sister acts

The life and times of activist Sister Brigid Arthur

The Nation Reviewed

International politics

Retreat from Kabul

America’s failure in Afghanistan and its contempt for Australia as an ally

Federal politics

Roll out the pork barrels

Why politicians love being caught rorting in their electorates


The agony and ecstasy

Clinical trials in Perth will study the use of MDMA to treat PTSD and addiction


Return of the devil

Tasmanian devils may soon be returning to the wild on the mainland


The Vox Owl

The orchid eye

The strange and beautiful world of orchids and how they’ve seduced us

Arts & Letters


A shock of renewal: ‘Hilma af Klint: The Secret Paintings’

The transcendent works of the modernist who regarded herself not an artist but a medium


Desire’s conspiracies: ‘The Right to Sex’

Philosopher Amia Srinivasan’s essays consider incels, consent and sexual discrimination


The meanings of production: ‘Beautiful World, Where Are You’

Novelist Sally Rooney returns to the dystopia of contemporary life while reflecting on her own fame


True to form: ‘No Sudden Move’

Steven Soderbergh’s Detroit crime movie is another formal experiment with commercial trappings



‘Harlem Shuffle’ by Colson Whitehead

The author of ‘The Underground Railroad’ offers a disappointingly straightforward neo-noir caper set in the early ’60s


‘Beirut 2020’ by Charif Majdalani

The Lebanese writer’s elegiac journal captures the city’s devastating port explosion

In Light of Recent Events


Let’s explore our urban bushlands