Australian politics, society & culture


Is it possible that the world’s songbirds all come from Australia? Yes, according to biologist Tim Low in his fascinating ornithological history of Australia, Where Song Began. Low’s wonderfully readable book literally turns the map upside down and makes a compelling case for the origin of birds in the antipodes. Join
With his new book, Born Bad, historian James Boyce has turned his mind to the history of original sin. What Boyce discovers is a legacy of guilt that shadows us in the West even today – and not the guilt of doing wrong, but of being wrong. Join this controversial thinker in conversation with Dee Michell at Adelaide
For the 40th anniversary of one of Australia’s worst natural disasters, Sophie Cunningham has written a fascinating history of the event, Warning: The story of Cyclone Tracy. Drawing from eyewitness accounts of those who experienced the devastation, Cunningham has created an exhilarating and deeply compassionate
With The Third Plate, New York chef Dan Barber asks us to change the way we think about food. An early supporter of the farm-to-table philosophy, Barber now questions the ethos, which he argues cherry-picks ingredients and can be ecologically demanding. He now offers a solution for a more sustainable supply chain. He
New light on the wreck of the ‘Batavia’ and its savage aftermath
By Jeff Sparrow
Joe Hockey, Mathias Cormann and Kelly O'Dwyer gather around the Intergenerational Report in March. © Mick Tsikas / AAP
How economic modelling is used to circumvent democracy and shut down debate
By Richard Denniss
By Karen Hitchcock
After lunch at my mum’s house the other day, my brother and I walked around the corner to visit an old school friend we hadn’t seen for years. Pete had moved back into his childhood home when his parents left for a retirement village. He answered the door pelvis first, the stance he’d had since he was a kid, one that
Even tattoos don’t last forever any more
By Alice Pung
Child survivors of the Holocaust meet in Melbourne
By Jaye Kranz
Fancy bottled water is sometimes worth the price
By Richard Cooke
Rugby star David Pocock says sport and politics are always mixed
By Sam Vincent
Journalist and television presenter Geraldine Doogue interviewed women who lead the way in a range of fields for her book The Climb: Conversations with Australian women in power. Journalist and former politician Mary Delahunty was granted exclusive insider access to Prime Minister Julia Gillard during her last six
Hugh Mackay is a passionate chronicler of human interactions. At the Perth Writers Festival 2015 he reads from and discusses his new book, The Art of Belonging, which reignites the conversation about how we want to live. Drawing on 50 years’ experience as a social researcher, Mackay creates a fictional suburb,
George Marshall is the author of Don’t Even Think About It: Why our brains are wired to ignore climate change. As part of La Trobe University's Ideas & Society program, he joins Professor Robert Manne at the Wheeler Centre in Melbourne to discuss the complex psychology behind climate change denial. George
Are we generally optimistic or are we tending more and more towards pessimism? Despite the current state of environmental and political affairs, former Greens leader Bob Brown (author of the memoir Optimism) seems firmly entrenched in the positive camp; having just completed a book on the influence of
On 1 January 1915, ramifications from World War One, raging half a world away, were felt in Broken Hill. In a guerrilla-style military operation, four citizens were killed and seven wounded. With his novella Oddfellows, masterful writer Nicholas Shakespeare has turned this little-known piece of Australian history into
By Nick Feik
Have you ever wondered what a hedge fund is? Or confused your bond yield with share price? The language of money can be baffling if you’re not in the know. John Lanchester’s new book, How to Speak Money, is a funny, clear and brilliantly entertaining guide to the world of finance. Join him in conversation with Gene