GSTea party 

WA’s being done over, says James Allan


Leading article Australia

Spill Bill?

The major problem facing the Labor party today is one of logistics: how do you get rid of a floundering leader when the person most adept and experienced at stabbing… Read more

Year of ideas

‘Today, I say very clearly, Labor will support reform which is fair. Labor will fight reform which is unfair,’ said Bill Shorten over the Easter break. And with that simple… Read more

The Conversation

In Francis Ford Coppola’s 1974 cult movie The Conversation, Gene Hackman’s character Harry Caul becomes obsessed analyzing the precise meaning of fragments of a conversation he has scrupulously recorded from… Read more

The wrong trousers

In 1986, the year after he officially became an Eminent Person courtesy of both the United Nations and the Commonwealth, Australia’s 22nd prime minister lost his trousers in a Memphis… Read more

Trinity of mediocrity

This was the week when the stark contrast between the relative talents of the top three individuals in the federal government and the opposition were on proud display for all… Read more

Lynch mob-ette

There is a disturbing current of vilification running throughout the Australian feminist movement. Even as Australians proudly celebrated International Women’s Day recently, it became clear an angry, vocal, left-wing group… Read more

Diary Australia


Peter Phelps

18 April 2015

My bladder is still fighting the NSW State Election. It is 5am and for the… Read more

Nick Cater

11 April 2015

The twin-engine turbo-prop lands in a downpour, skidding to a halt outside the terminal. ‘We… Read more

Simon Collins

4 April 2015

I have added a few days onto a London trip to visit my mum in… Read more

Australian Notes

18 April 2015 Aus

I have over the years passed up many an opportunity to hear Keysar Trad in… Read more

11 April 2015 Aus

The mystique of Anzac Day has always been a challenge to historians. The troops of… Read more

4 April 2015 Aus

Where can the ALP turn? As the NSW election made plain, the Coalition occupies the… Read more

28 March 2015 Aus

It was the only local meeting that I managed to get to in the NSW… Read more

Total recall

18 April 2015

‘I feel sick in the stomach,’ Queensland’s Labor Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk lamented when she learned of the criminal record of her new member for Cook, Billy Gordon. Along with the… Read more

The spirit of cricket

18 April 2015

Twenty four hours after one of the happiest cricketing days of every year, the launch of the Wisden Cricketers’ Almanac, came the announcement of one of the saddest cricketing days… Read more


GSTea Party

18 April 2015

Je suis Western Australian. I stand with them and against my own Queensland and all the other States. I refer to WA’s ‘Boston tea party’ complaints about the carve-up of… Read more

Brown study, n, a mood of deep absorption or thoughtfulness; reverie

Brown study

11 April 2015

You will be distressed to hear that I have recently been in the hands of the doctors. However, there is really no need to worry: reports of my death have… Read more

Hounds or poodles?

11 April 2015

Terry Barnes recently claimed (Hounding Abbott, 28 February) that a pack of ‘Jokers to the Right’ commentators think ‘it’s more important to correct [Team Abbott’s] errors than actually to win… Read more

The silence of evil

11 April 2015

‘…….   ……     …..’ That is a direct quote. Verbatim. The last words of Germanwings flight 9525 copilot Andreas Lubitz. Silence. Although, it’s not all silence on the plane’s black box… Read more

Guest Notes


Bruce Beresford

11 April 2015

I have directed 13 feature films in the US and now, for the first time,… Read more

Elle Hardy

3 January 2015

‘The Aussies work out everythin’ backwards,’ says Wilson the Texan in Norman Mailer’s The Naked… Read more

Grace Collier

13 December 2014

Some Australians have forgotten how to speak their truth. Some have lost their ability to… Read more

Bottom Drawer

Bottom drawer

18 April 2015

Professor Anne Twomey (‘Royal activism in the spider web of… Read more

Bottom Drawer

7 March 2015

There is an awful feeling of déjà vu with Federal… Read more

Bottom drawer

24 January 2015

‘There’s so much that Britain has given to us’, said… Read more

Bottom drawer

3 January 2015

‘I’m sorry Jeremy, I’m going to have to de-friend you… Read more

Culture Buff

Donald McDonald

18 April 2015

A baroque music festival in Hobart sounded right with particularly appropriate settings such as the… Read more

Donald McDonald

11 April 2015

Writers’ Festivals may well be taking over the world. Worse things could happen but their… Read more

Donald McDonald

4 April 2015

The Wedding March by Felix Mendelssohn was greatly loved by our generation and several before… Read more

Donald McDonald

28 March 2015

We’re all keen on infrastructure at the moment so it’s worth remembering what an astounding… Read more

Ends of the earth

18 April 2015
A Wilful Woman James Talbot

Perihelion Imprint, pp.435, $29.95, ISBN: 1482587386

This story, second in a projected series (the first was The Thief Fleet, reviewed in these pages 8 December 2012), invites comparison with Thomas Keneally’s 1967 book Bring Larks and… Read more

Tales to tell

14 March 2015
The Best Australian Stories 2014 Amanda Lohrey

Black Inc, pp.288, $29.99, ISBN: 9781863956963

The short story has long been a staple of Australian literature but has had something of a rough ride in the past few years. Many publishers, averse to risk in… Read more


24 January 2015
Quarterly Essay: Clivosaurus: The Politics of Clive Palmer Guy Rundle

Black Inc, pp.$19.95, 116, ISBN: 9781863957014

Not so much striding across the political landscape as huffing and puffing his way through the back rooms, Clive Palmer is an oddity even by the standards of Australian public… Read more

Under the bed

13 December 2014
Australia Under Surveillance Frank Moorhouse

Vintage, pp.298, $33, ISBN: 978085798972

The Spy Catchers: The Official History of ASIO 1949-1963 David Horner

Allen & Unwin, pp.736, $60, ISBN: 9781743319666

The bogeyman of the ASIO agent under the bed has long been an obsession of the Left, and judging from Australia Under Surveillance it will continue to be for a… Read more

Shock jock

29 November 2014
Brenno: The Life and Times of a Media Godfather John Brennan

New Holland, pp.318, $32.99, ISBN: 9781742575728

A senior Minister in the NSW government of John Fahey once told me that there was a vacant metaphorical chair at Cabinet meetings. It may have been unoccupied but everyone… Read more

It’s the Stupid, stupid

22 November 2014
A Short History of Stupid Helen Razer and Bernard Keane

Allen & Unwin, pp.336, $29.99, ISBN: 9781760110543

Ironic Capitalisation of That Which You Do Not Like is apparently A Thing. You’ll forgive me for employing this Irritating Device, for after reading A Short History of Stupid, its… Read more

Genocidal thoughts

15 November 2014
Blood & Guts: Dispatches from the Whale Wars Sam Vincent

Black Inc, pp.272, $30, ISBN: 978186395682

An Inconvenient Genocide: Who Now Remembers the Armenians? Geoffrey Robertson

Random, pp.294, $35, ISBN: 9780857986337

It takes a certain type of courage for a writer to complete a book and then admit that he does not really know what the conflict it describes is about.… 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