Leading article Australia


1 November 2014

The title of Australia’s First Popularly Elected Female Prime Minister is still up for grabs, and the obvious two contenders are Julie Bishop and Tanya Plibersek. As John Howard has… Read more

Whitewashing Whitlam

25 October 2014

The tears flowed in time for the seven o’clock news, a bizarre long march all the way from new parliament house to old was enacted by the motley crew who… Read more

Getting shirty

18 October 2014

Several recent events highlight the fragile faultlines between jingoism, patriotism and national security; a fissure that the Left are desperate to crack open into a major chasm in the seemingly… Read more

Redeeming Joe

11 October 2014

There is a grain of truth (for once) in Julia Gillard’s assertion that for Peter Costello ‘it was easy to be Treasurer’. Certainly, the debt Paul Keating left behind pales… Read more

We are all Israelis now

4 October 2014

‘ISIS and Hamas are branches of the same poisonous tree,’ asserted Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu last week in a fiery speech to the United Nations. ‘When it comes to… Read more

Silver fern leaf

27 September 2014

The extraordinary victory of John Key and his National party in New Zealand’s recent election came as a relief to many on both sides of the ‘dutch’ (including, of course,… Read more

Diary Australia


Josh Frydenberg

1 November 2014

The last week in parliament has been the political equivalent of a burger with the… Read more

Paul Murray

25 October 2014

I am an atheist, not one of those leftie agro ones. I respect people who… Read more

Alan Gold

11 October 2014

Austria is one of those nations which is known by everybody, but visited by few.… Read more

Australian Notes

1 November 2014 Aus

“Cape Town is a lot like Sydney,” an ex-pat yarpie had assured me. But as… Read more

25 October 2014 Aus

Among Gough Whitlam’s greatest moments were his acceptance both of his Dismissal in November 1975… Read more

18 October 2014 Aus

Since arriving in the Senate on July 1, there are two things I have learned.… Read more

11 October 2014 Aus

What do we leave behind us when we die, asked the Prime Minister? Our deeds… Read more

Clowns to the left, Jokers to the right

1 November 2014

In the early 1970s, Scottish pop group Stealers Wheel (featuring the late, great Gerry Rafferty) had their one international hit, Stuck in the Middle with You. Its chorus sums up… Read more

Selfies are the new form of radical protest

1 November 2014

‘Perhaps we could have won WWII,’ a friend of mine mused, ‘by having Winston Churchill tweet photos of himself holding a sheet of paper saying ‘Mr Hitler, get out of… Read more

Whitlam’s dismissal – it’s not like it was all that unusual

1 November 2014

How many Australian governments have been dismissed by a representative of the Crown? Two, you might think – Lang’s in 1932 and Whitlam’s in 1975. But you would be wrong.… Read more


Heard the one about me…?

1 November 2014

Gough Whitlam is the greatest Australian I ever knew. I followed his career avidly, joining Labor at the same time he became leader. These are among my fondest memories of… Read more

Freedom’s just another word

25 October 2014

Do you tend to judge people by what they say or by what they do? Imagine you and your spouse have neighbours whom you both really like. You’ve invited them… Read more

Polishing Gough

25 October 2014

The last great, failed moderniser has gone. More of that in a moment. For now, let’s talk about me. I airbrushed Gough Whitlam into history. Well, not exactly. Just after… Read more

Brown by Dallimore

4 October 2014

I regret to say that this will be my last column, at least in this regular form. I am afraid that my work, particularly in arbitration and mediation, has so… Read more

Across the isle
29 June 2013

Thousands of kilometres from the Sturm und Drang of whirling leadership speculation in Canberra, another power struggle erupts with much more deadly consequences. The best guess is that 92,000 people… Read more

Bottom drawer

1 November 2014

In November 1992 I accompanied the Anglican Archbishop of Sydney, Donald Robinson, to the capitals of the Middle East. He was representing the then Australian Council of Churches in a… Read more

Culture Buff

Donald McDonald

1 November 2014

I’m oversensitive to criticism of Australia by famous authors. Richard Flanagan, elated at winning the… Read more

Donald McDonald

25 October 2014

A highly successful tour of European festivals is a great boost to an orchestra. Not… Read more

Donald McDonald

18 October 2014

Happy is the theatre company that can enjoy the regular services of a genuine international… Read more

Donald McDonald

11 October 2014

I’ve never entirely understood why big cities have arts festivals. Melbourne and Sydney are both… Read more

Lazarus is back

18 October 2014
The Menzies Era; the years that shaped modern Australia John Howard

Harper Collins, pp.707, $59.99, ISBN: 9780732296124

Australia’s Ambassador to the United States, Kim Beazley, still quips that John Winston Howard is his nemesis. This does not prevent the ambassador telling perhaps the best story about Prime… Read more

In the big chair

11 October 2014
Triumph and Demise: The Broken Promise of a Labor Generation Paul Kelly

Melbourne University Press, pp.560, $50, ISBN: 9780522862102

My Story Julia Gillard

Random, pp.512, $50, ISBN: 9780857983909

Even those of us of a conservative bent hoped that the election of the Rudd government in 2007 would constitute a landmark, a welcome change, a new beginning. Looking back,… Read more

Racy reading

4 October 2014
Quarterly Essay: A Rightful Place: Race, Recognition and a More Complete Commonwealth Noel Pearson

Black Inc, pp.72, $19.95, ISBN: 9781863956819

In a field which is often characterised by polemics and hand-wringing, Noel Pearson has emerged as both a considered thinker and an active doer. So when he puts forward a… Read more

Head Beaters

27 September 2014
Not for Greens Ian Plimer

Connor Court, pp.275, $39.95, ISBN: 97819251138191

Optimism Bob Brown

Hardie Grant, pp.272, $39.95, ISBN: 9781742707662

Ah, democracy. The informed will of the majority. If only the practice was as simple as the theory. When it comes to issues such as climate change, one starts to… Read more

Thought bubbles

30 August 2014
The Political Bubble: Why Australians Don’t Trust Politics Mark Latham

Macmillan Australia, pp.291, $33, ISBN: 9781742614076

The Professionals: Strategy, Money & The Rise of the Political Campaigner in Australia Stephen Mills

Black Inc, pp.310, $30, ISBN: 9781863956710

It is not really a surprise that political parties produce a certain number of oddballs; the scary thing is that they often rise to senior positions. It is hard to… Read more

Guilt trip

9 August 2014
Beloved Land: Stories, Struggles and Secrets from Timor-Leste Gordon Peake

Scribe, pp.256, $29.95, ISBN: 9781922070685

If you had to pick one emotion to characterise Australia’s attitude towards East Timor, it would be guilt. We are right to feel guilty about 1942, when Australian troops retreated… Read more