OTHER RECENT POSTS

Operation Shirtfront: the Abbott ‘legacy’

Operation Shirtfront: the Abbott ‘legacy’

This is the introduction to the book I stopped writing on 15 September 2015, when Malcolm Turnbull grabbed Tony Abbott by the pants and pulled him back down the greasy pole. It was to be called Operation Shirtfront: Tony Abbott and the Crisis of Australian Conservatism. I always knew it might not see the light of day, and was perfectly […]

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In defence of the New Atheism

In defence of the New Atheism

‘Another day, another tweet from Richard Dawkins’ wrote Eleanor Robertson last July, in response to the controversial professor’s latest foray into the twittersphere. Ah yes, I can remember thinking, and another article on Richard Dawkins and how he and his fellow New Atheists are disappointing progressive expectations! Not that he didn’t deserve it, mind, having just used a moral taxonomy […]

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Not just another brick in the wall

Not just another brick in the wall

The decision of the Lego company not to supply the Chinese artist Ai Weiwei with bricks for a new artwork is one of the most striking instances I can recall of life imitating art. A huge and impersonal power structure combining arbitrary state power and capitalistic greed; the determination of that power structure to silence a uniquely gifted individual; that […]

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Currying favour: Scott Morrison on Kitchen Cabinet

Currying favour: Scott Morrison on Kitchen Cabinet

When I read in the telly guide that the Treasurer Scott Morrison was going to be making Annabel Crabb a Sri Lankan curry on the season-opener of Kitchen Cabinet I thought it must be a joke. Oh right, I can remember thinking; and what else will the one-time Minister in Charge of Not Answering Questions about Border Security and Refugees […]

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Review: The Short and Excruciatingly Embarrassing Reign of Captain Abbott

Review: The Short and Excruciatingly Embarrassing Reign of Captain Abbott

‘Events, dear boy, events,’ British Prime Minister Harold Macmillan is said to have replied when asked what was most likely to blow his government off course. What goes for politicians goes for writers too, as I discovered for myself on 14 September, when Malcolm Turnbull replaced Tony Abbott as Prime Minister. At that time I was writing my own book […]

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Bill Shorten’s strategy for winning the debate on marriage equality: don’t have one

Bill Shorten’s strategy for winning the debate on marriage equality: don’t have one

Though it didn’t attract a huge amount of comment, Bill’s Shorten’s article for Fairfax last Thursday may turn out to be an important moment in the campaign for marriage equality – not for the outcome, which is all but assured, but for the manner in which we reach that milestone. His argument – not new, but newly prominent – is […]

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On Avi Lewis’s This Changes Everything

On Avi Lewis’s This Changes Everything

I emerged from the WA premiere of This Changes Everything in a foul mood. To get to the cinema – in Innaloo: not the most charming neck of the woods – I’d had to sit in heavy traffic for an hour and a half, moving barely at all. Arriving at the cinema one minute before kick-off, I was then urged […]

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From the archive: the Auden centenary

Parnassus after all is not a mountain Reserved for A.1. climbers such as you; It’s got a park, it’s got a public fountain. The most I ask is leave to share a pew With Bradford or with Cottam, that will do … Reading these lines from ‘Letter to Lord Byron’ (1936) on this, the occasion of their author’s centenary, one […]

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Geert by sea

The official launch of the Australian Liberty Alliance in Perth on Tuesday afternoon brings to a head a disturbing trend in Australian politics: the tendency of the anti-Muslim right to cast its ideology in what we might call ‘civic nationalist’ terms. Taking its cue from the Dutch politician Geert Wilders, whose Party for Freedom was the inspiration for the ALA […]

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How should we talk about multi-ethnic democracy?

How should we talk about multi-ethnic democracy?

Listening to the discussions on Q&A last week, and observing Malcolm Turnbull in Canberra meeting with Muslim community leaders, it became clear that the public discourse around Islamic extremism in Australia has undergone a major shift, which is to say a major elevation. ‘Team Australia’ is now conspicuous by its absence, while Tony Abbott’s ‘they’re coming to get us’ shtick […]

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