Features Australiarss


Bob’s your writer

19 April 2014

Everyone can quote Winston Churchill’s (somewhat disputed) zinger to the effect that while he would be sober in the morning, his chastiser would still be ugly, but I prefer another… Read more

Climate change, the movie

19 April 2014

With the release last week of the exciting third instalment of the mighty IPCC trilogy ‘Assessment Report 5’, it’s clear that the climate change industry has been closely studying the… Read more

AA671283: Literature, Music, Theatre

The slow death of free speech

19 April 2014

These days, pretty much every story is really the same story: In Galway, at the National University of Ireland, a speaker who attempts to argue against the BDS (Boycott, Divestment… Read more


Ditch the Union Jack

12 April 2014

New Zealand is considering changing its flag. And perhaps the most striking thing about the proposal is that it seems to have created as much excitement and angst overseas as… Read more

Kate: buffeted in a republican breeze

Windswept in Wellington

12 April 2014

Kate Middleton’s arrival in New Zealand on Monday wasn’t the most flawless entrance she’s ever made. A stiff republican breeze buffeted her as she, Prince William and their son, Prince… Read more

Robyn Nevin: not merely good but great

A strange evening of classic local theatre

12 April 2014

Neighbourhood Watch, the new play by Lally Katz, is a story of an old Hungarian lady, living out her last days, making friends with a young wannabe actress and remembering… Read more

Bob Hawke (Photo: Getty)

Labor pain

12 April 2014

A life-long supporter of the ALP, never in my 66 years had Labor’s primary vote sunk to the level it did at the 2013 election. And my party’s woeful performance… Read more

From 1910 to 2010: the decline of workforce unions

Labour ages

5 April 2014

Here we go again. The Royal Commission into trade union ‘slush funds’, commencing 9 April, will be the sixth into trade unions. The first three investigated wharf and maritime unions,… Read more

Sword of honour: Queen Elizabeth II knights Sir Garfield Barwick at Government House in Sydney, 6 February 1954, during her royal tour of Australia

The PM rushes in where angels fear to tread

5 April 2014

It was only with ‘continuing misgivings’ that that self-proclaimed radical Tory, Garfield Barwick QC, agreed in 1953 to accept the honour of knighthood. And so it is only the most… Read more


A culture war on whaling

5 April 2014

It’s official: no one is safe from the killjoyism of Australia’s green-leaning chattering classes. If you thought the only people who had to put up with having their lifestyles mocked… Read more

Tony Abbott … true grit

The Tony Abbott I know and admire

29 March 2014

You’d be forgiven for missing it, what with the media obsession with knights and dames, but this week marked the 20th anniversary of Tony Abbott’s election to federal parliament. On… Read more

Netherlands Nuclear Summit

Key to defeat

29 March 2014

John Key is the most popular leader in the western world. Not by a little, but a lot. His net approval rating (approvals minus disapprovals) has consistently been around 50+… Read more

"Around The Block" Premiere - 2013 Toronto International Film Festival

The new cultural cringe

29 March 2014

At the Toronto International Film Festival back in September, I saw a new Australian film called Around the Block. Later I interviewed writer-director Sarah Spillane (one to watch), 20-year-old leading… Read more


Under the house with Hergé

22 March 2014

‘Ten thousand thundering typhoons!’ I curse loudly as my head crashes into a concrete beam in the darkness. I’m deep in the bowels of the unexplored netherworld beneath our house,… Read more


Stop ringing me!

22 March 2014

It was 6.30 when the phone rang and dinner had just been served. ‘Which telephone company do you represent?’ I asked. ‘How did you know?’ ‘Just a wild guess.’ ‘Is… Read more


The devilish problem of Tasmania

22 March 2014

Now that the state election is over, and Tasmania has rid itself of 16 years of Labor governments, including a spell of genetically modified Labor-Greens togetherness, we will now be… Read more


Putting the ‘your’ into the ABC

15 March 2014

What to do about the ABC and its shameless indulgence of in-house ideological bias at the taxpayer’s expense? The pragmatic Germans have already solved the problem. They have found a… Read more

‘Why 2014 will not be a repeat of 1914’

2014 won’t be like 1914

15 March 2014

The Jeremiah strategists are coming out of the woodwork to predict that Asia in 2014 will be a repeat of Europe in 1914. In other words, that there will be… Read more


We’ll still be a melting pot

15 March 2014

One Saturday night late last year, two ‘white-skinned’ cricketers rolled into a petrol station on Sydney’s northern beaches having had a few too many beers after stumps. If you subscribe… Read more

Phoenix rising: the new tower on Flinders Street

A knife blade on the skyline

8 March 2014

Back in 1982 Paul Goldberger, then architecture critic for the New York Times, bemoaned the advent of what he called a new building type on New York’s skyline. In an… Read more


More British than Britain

8 March 2014

I went to the Falkland Islands last month. The territory is at something of a turning-point in its history. There are reserves of oil in its waters, and both British… Read more

2014 Australian Of The Year Announced In Canberra

Black armband

8 March 2014

Adam Goodes does not deserve to be Australian of the Year. The appointment was questionable in the first place, but has since become a joke. Last week, in the Fairfax… Read more


Here we go again

8 March 2014

 ‘The people who cast the votes decide nothing. The people who count the votes decide everything.’ — Joseph Stalin   Perhaps in Russia, but in the last Western Australian election,… Read more


Satirising anti-Semitism

1 March 2014

The scene: a redneck bar in Tuscon, Arizona. Sacha Baron Cohen, under the pseudonym of ‘Arote and his Cowboy Astana Band from Kazakhstan’, takes to the stage to perform a… Read more

Australia Indonesia Spying Row

Indonesia should grow up

1 March 2014

Since the Whitlam era, an abiding myth about Australian foreign policy goes like this: Asia is a monolith and we must engage with it. Moreover, it is the Australian Labor… Read more