The Nation Reviewed

By John Harms
On the cover of the first Australian edition of Vice, a free street magazine published about once a month, a bloodied rat lay dead on a metal floor. Inside were lots of cool ads – for Pants General Co, Zoo York, K-Swiss, freedom.of.choice and Asahi...
By Celina Ribeiro
Rebecca Smith, 16, broke curfew. She knew she was going to be late and she knew her mother, Janelle, would be sitting at home waiting. She knew her mother would not understand. She didn’t care. She stayed at her church youth group until the last...
By John Birmingham
Brendan Nelson, John Howard’s education minister, did a funny thing a while back. Funny strange, that is, not funny ha-ha. He apologised to an opponent. Even stranger was the choice of enemy upon whom he bestowed this rare benevolence: Tony Windsor...
By Drusilla Modjeska
Ten days after the incident at Brisbane airport, we were in a Port Moresby hotel watching Sunday morning current affairs from Australia. It was a while before Somare’s shoes got a mention, and when they did even the best of the Australian...
By Richard Bourke
I am a capital defence lawyer in the deep south of the United States. What that means is I help defend people who have been accused or found guilty of murder and whom the state is trying to execute. The crimes I am dealing with are some of the most...
By Katie Cohen
Chey Miles is a T-shirt designer. He would have to be really, dressed as he is in the edgiest of faded black garments, sleeves torn off at just the right angle to showcase his sun-bronzed upper arms. His shirt is decorated with a scribbled line...
By Helen Garner
One Tuesday morning in August last year, Lauren Curnow, a 17-year-old student at Ballarat Secondary College, told her parents that she felt sick and wanted to stay home from school. Her mother assumed Lauren had a cold. But at about four in the...
By Kerryn Goldsworthy
In a quiet Adelaide suburb on a sunny autumn day, Gwen Nitschke is sitting at her kitchen table. She is talking about her son, Philip, who for the past ten years has been campaigning in the cause of voluntary euthanasia, and in the meantime doing as...
By John Harms
In The Meaning of Liff, Douglas Adams’s book of words that should exist but don’t, he proposed the term “sheppy”: the closest distance, equal to approximately seven-eighths of a mile, at which sheep remain picturesque. Someone should invent an...
By Don Watson
Early in the new year I entered a hairdressing salon in the main street of the Victorian Wimmera town of Horsham (not “Hers and Sirs” but the one next to it, if ever you’re looking). At 9.30 in the morning the place was empty, and in no time the...
By Mungo MacCallum
When a new Australian magazine invites me to reminisce about old Australian magazines I have worked for, it has either a lot of courage or a shocking grasp of my history. True, I have written for so many weeklies, fortnightlies, monthlies and...
By Chloe Hooper
In the early morning of March 2 a smoking ceremony took place on Palm Island, north Queensland, to release the spirit of Mulrunji, who died last November in police custody. The sky was overcast and cockatoos screeched overhead as Mulrunji’s...
By Tim Lane
Crisis came early this football year. Round one of the pre-season Wizard Cup was scarcely complete, the home-and-away competition still weeks away, and already the new centre-bounce ruck rules were being denounced as the deathblow for the big man of...
By Azhar Abidi
On a Saturday morning in Marree, south of Lake Eyre and on the fringe of central Australian desert country, four generations of cameleers are waiting for the town’s annual camel race to begin. Aysha, 94, scrutinises the animals with a professional...
By Brian Toohey
John Howard, a prime minister who supposedly yearns for the days when fathers went to work, mothers stayed home and families lived behind white picket fences, might seem an unlikely hero for single mums. But he can fairly claim to have done much...

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