Features Australiarss

Wicked versus Stupid

13 December 2014

Why is it so hard for those with ‘lefty’ political sensibilities to be funny when they write about politics? And why do those with ‘righty’ political sensibilities so frequently surrender… Read more

The real War on Christmas

13 December 2014

One of the long, drawn-out religio-cultural battles in the United States is over Christmas. In fact, it’s a War on Christmas. Conservative and evangelical commentators claim the festival is facing… Read more

King hit by the moral crusaders

13 December 2014

At the Milton Hotel in Newtown in inner-Sydney, near the corner of King Street and Missenden Road, a young man, Daniel Ryan, consumed four beers on a Saturday afternoon. An… Read more

Abbott’s vow of silence

13 December 2014

Without even a John McTernan to guide them, the Liberal Party of Australia has generated a communications debacle which would have made the Scotsman proud. The media lock-down with which… Read more


The shallow art of an insipid weirdo

13 December 2014

In 1964, Andy Warhol staged a major exhibition at the Stable Gallery, New York. Among the objects on display were his Brillo boxes; wooden sculptures that replicated exactly the cardboard… Read more

Darkness descends on Patterson Lakes

6 December 2014

The jewel in Victoria’s Carrum electorate is the canal suburb of Patterson Lakes, a place well known to regular readers of this magazine. Patto reflects its upwardly-mobile residents’ material success:… Read more


Gay marriage and the death of freedom

6 December 2014

Has there ever been a sweeter-sounding, more goosebump-inducing phrase than ‘Freedom to marry’? Everyone likes freedom (even illiberal politicians pay lip service to liberty), and who doesn’t love a good… Read more

Naomi Milgrom with Sean Godsell chair in MPavilion (photo Earl Carter)

The Cashmere Steamroller

6 December 2014

In 1939 a Russian Jewish immigrant opened a small lingerie shop in Little Collins Street, Melbourne. Spanning just 35 metres Sussan, as it was called, sold sensible brasseries and no-nonsense… Read more

Kangaroos and Fertility

6 December 2014

Australia has a serious aging problem: our fertility rate is below the level needed just to keep the population steady (namely, 2.1 children per woman). At present fertility rates (1.88… Read more

The Silence of the Barnes

29 November 2014

I had the great good fortune to play varsity basketball at university in Canada back in my youth. I was part of a team that practised six days a week… Read more

Of myths and messiahs

29 November 2014

Recent praise and criticism of Gough Whitlam evoke two American leaders who, like Whitlam, won office as messiahs of hope and change. John Kennedy, and his ‘Camelot’ of 1961, has… Read more

Abbott’s ‘Goldilocks’ balancing act

22 November 2014

As the G20 concludes, Australia is in a Goldilocks position when it comes to the Asia Pacific. It has good relations with China, culminating in the free trade deal, and… Read more

Feminism: no longer a Left/Right divide

22 November 2014

I am not a clubable woman. I won’t even join a book club, because my contrarian nature would get me kicked out. Naturally I am not a feminist. Not just… Read more

Business/Robbery etc

15 November 2014

No wonder so many Australians, from those with modest incomes to the very rich, now prefer to satisfy their compulsory superannuation obligations by dumping the existing super funds and doing… Read more

Breaking Republicans hearts

15 November 2014

Fifteen years ago, Australians rejected a proposal by the ruling class to ditch the Queen. This ignored all the great constitutional issues facing the nation, such as making the politicians… Read more


Natural bedfellows

15 November 2014

An interesting thing has happened to our cousins in the north – the prospect of Britain leaving the EU has moved from the unthinkable to the thinkable. The British policy-making… Read more

Apparently it’s the world’s first one-sided war

8 November 2014

Something that is true of children is also true of journalists – if you reward bad behaviour, you’ll get more of it. And while this nugget has been internalised by… Read more


Birth of the sophisticates

8 November 2014

When Bob Dylan released The Times they are A-Changin’ in 1964, Donald Horne was putting the finishing touches to his own seditious work, The Lucky Country. Dylan’s recalcitrant ‘senators and… Read more

Oh lucky man?

Nick Horne When Donald wrote his famous book he didn’t have the title in mind. Yes, he wanted to give things a good shake up; he thought Australia would have… Read more

Cover of the first edition of  Penguin’s ‘The Lucky Country’ - Albert Tucker

Don’s Party Tricks

8 November 2014

Back in the days when Young Donald was the life of the party, well before he became a National Sage and at times a Public Bore, one of his lively… Read more

Women, Booze & Bedspreads

8 November 2014

It’s a pity Donald Horne didn’t call The Lucky Country ‘Women, Booze and Bedspreads’ instead.  Better still, that could have been the subtitle.  Just imagine the international interest it would… 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