Australian politics, society & culture


Homelessness has reached crisis levels in Melbourne and Sydney
By Paul Connolly
Image of the Condamine River on fire
Billion-dollar burnouts keep emissions rising
By Richard Denniss
What does One Nation senator Malcolm Roberts really believe?
By Sam Vincent
Hillary Clinton needs her new progressive agenda as much as America does
By Don Watson
Image of Donald Trump
How did American democracy come to this?
By Richard Cooke
Do we live in a shrinking democracy? Gillian Triggs, president of the Australian Human Rights Commission, believes that parliament is failing in protecting fundamental human rights and freedoms in Australia. Former foreign minister Bob Carr argues that despite fracturing party systems, parliamentary democracy remains our best option. What does this all say about the current state of Australian democracy? Find out at this Melbourne Writers Festival 2016 session chaired by Jamila Rizvi. Melbourne, September 2016
How have asylum seeker policies shifted over time? At the Melbourne Writers Festival 2016, Madeline Gleeson (Offshore: Behind the Wire on Manus and Nauru) and Emeritus Professor Robert Manne trace Australia’s history of asylum, assessing the human impact of policy and ruminating on what lies ahead – and whether there are any alternatives. With Esther Anatolitis. Melbourne, August 2016
2016 is a big year in politics, with major elections in the US and Australia. At the Melbourne Writers Festival 2016, seasoned commentators Sarah Ferguson and Don Watson trace the evolution of leadership, comparing election processes and voter disillusionment in Australia and the US. Chaired by the Monthly’s editor, Nick Feik. Sarah Ferguson is an ABC journalist whose credits include Four Corners and the landmark documentary series The Killing Season and Hitting Home. Don Watson is a former speechwriter for Paul Keating and the author of books such as Recollections of a Bleeding Heart, The Bush and the Quarterly Essay ‘Enemy Within: American Politics in the Time of Trump’. Melbourne, September 2016
Image of Force Majeure’s Never Did Me Any Harm
The arts funding cuts are just a symptom of a broader malaise in Australia
By Alison Croggon
Image of Nauru
Richard Flanagan delivers the inaugural Boisbouvier Lecture
By Richard Flanagan
What does the prime minister stand for, and when will we find out about it?
By Don Watson
PJ O’Rourke is an American political satirist and journalist whose books include All the Trouble in the World and Holidays in Hell. In the course of this entertaining and wide-ranging discussion with Kerry O’Brien at the Byron Writers Festival 2016, O’Rourke talks about the myth of America’s golden age, the influences that shaped his libertarian conservatism, and why elites of all stripes are failing to connect with ordinary citizenry. Bryon Bay, August 2016
In the midst of the 2016 presidential campaign, four American guests of the Byron Writers Festival 2016 grapple with the question “How did the US get here?” Jeffery Renard Allen is a poet, essayist and academic whose most recent novel is Song of the Shank. William Finnegan is a staff writer at the New Yorker and the author of Barbarian Days: A Surfing Life. Angela Flournoy’s Detroit-set debut novel, The Turner House, was shortlisted for the National Book Award. PJ O’Rourke is a political satirist and journalist whose books include All the Trouble in the World and Holidays in Hell. Chaired by ABC journalist Ben Knight.  Byron Bay, August 2016
How have political parties and the media changed over time, and what effect are these changes having on our politics – and our politicians – today?   At Byron Writers Festival 2016, Anne Tiernan, professor in the School of Government and International Relations at Griffith University, chairs a panel to explores this issue. Tim Fischer is a former leader of the National Party and a former deputy prime minister of Australia. Paddy Manning is a journalist and the author of the Malcolm Turnbull biography Born to Rule. Tony Windsor is a former federal member for New England. John Faulkner is a former ALP senator.   Byron Bay, August 2016
Michelle Grattan has been reporting on Australian politics for the past 40 years. There is no one whose knowledge of this period is more profound or whose judgment concerning the major events is more reliable. In this La Trobe Ideas and Society event, Emeritus Professor Robert Manne, who has been writing on the broad themes of the Australian political culture for almost as long as Michelle, asks her some of the biggest questions: Who has led the most impressive government in the years between Whitlam and Turnbull? What have been the most important changes in Australia’s political culture during this period? Is Australian democracy more or less vibrant than it was 40 years ago? How well adapted is our political system to deal with the economic, social and environmental challenges we will face into the future? Melbourne, September 2016
‘Does Writing Matter?’ The inaugural Boisbouvier Lecture, Melbourne Writers Festival 2016
By Richard Flanagan
From the census debacle to the Don Dale scandal, politicians and the public have short memories
By Nick Feik
The dispute over the South China Sea will come to affect more than just China’s near neighbours
By Michael Wesley