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I joined the South Australian division of the Liberal Party…

Last week, I received a message from two friends on one day. They had tried to join the Liberal Party…

22 Jun 2021

Crikey, it’s the Irwins

The biggest takeaway from Andrew Denton’s 2003 interview with Steve Irwin on Enough Rope was how much Steve idolised his father Bob.…

21 Jun 2021

Is Joyce the right choice?

Having snapped at Nationals leader Michael McCormack’s heels for the best part of two years, forcibly deposed leader Barnaby Joyce…

21 Jun 2021

Is this Australia’s William Jennings Bryan moment?

William Jennings Bryan? Never heard of him? Take a look at Wikipedia:  William Jennings Bryan (March 19, 1860 – July…

21 Jun 2021

Barnstormer

Scholars of the classics will remember that quote from This Is Spın̈al Tap: “It’s such a fine line between stupid…

21 Jun 2021

Annastacia Palaszczuk crowns her coronavirus queen

Ironic. Coronavirus is known as coronavirus because of the “coronas”, the crown shapes on its cells. The measures taken against…

The national curriculum doesn’t just threaten our children. It’s a threat to the future of our nation

Australia’s educational performance has been in decline since the 1970s, but this is no accident. It is by design, curriculum…

21 Jun 2021

Good. Gooder?

For decades, Australian men have been caricatured as foolish idiots in advertising.  Men are presented as stupid, useless or otherwise…

20 Jun 2021

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How Russia lurched from vaccine victory to Covid crisis

Russia made headlines last August when it triumphantly unveiled its pioneering coronavirus vaccine, Sputnik V. But now, nearly a year…

21 Jun 2021

Remainers declare war on Fox's biscuits

Next Thursday is election day in the Batley and Spen by-election and with polls showing a six point Tory lead,…

21 Jun 2021

Pope puts EU founder on the road to sainthood

To many in Brussels, the French statesman is already a saint. But now Pope Francis has decided to put Robert Schuman…

21 Jun 2021

Boris shouldn’t write off fossil fuels just yet

At last week’s G7 summit, Boris Johnson pushed his fellow leaders to back his climate finance plan to support large-scale…

21 Jun 2021

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A great badness is abroad

I was recently contacted by a highly intelligent woman whose granddaughter came home from school very upset about things she…

16 Jun 2021

Kiwi Life

Of the various little stories about the rather wonderful Joni Mitchell in her early years, my favourite concerns Leonard Cohen.…

12 Jun 2021

Kiwi Language

A friend of mine recently sent me a notice from a big law firm announcing the introduction of ‘Gender Affirmation…

12 Jun 2021

While we were sleeping, New Zealand has lost a democracy

Jacinda Ardern believes New Zealand will become a republic.  It’s all right, though, because she’s not in a hurry. But…

8 Jun 2021

Fables of the Dark Emu

With the power of the ABC’s propaganda unit behind it, Dark Emu, by the self-proclaimed Aboriginal historian Bruce Pascoe sold…

19 Jun 2021

Digital revolt & anarchy in the air

Comedian Kitty Flanagan suffered a discombobulating start to her new national tour in Noosa recently, during a riff on how…

19 Jun 2021

Don’t cheer for NSW

The Berejiklian government in New South Wales is rightly patted on the back for its mature approach to the management…

19 Jun 2021

Pravda rides again

In the West today we can see that a once free press is voluntarily becoming unfree. Or such is the…

19 Jun 2021

The Last Emperor

As Australians now know, hell hath no fury like a dictator scorned. They have learned the hard way that Canberra’s…

19 Jun 2021

Black Parents Matter

You are probably familiar with the concept of parenthood.  It denotes a certain set of responsibilities in relation to a…

19 Jun 2021

Abbott’s leadership

We do, indeed, live in strange times.  Not so long ago, the thought that I would be nodding in agreement…

19 Jun 2021

Covid’s warped vaccines

Samuel Langley, the inventor of a catastrophically incompetent ‘flying’ machine is a striking example of governments picking losers.  When his…

19 Jun 2021

Andrea Riseborough

National Treasure is a remarkable piece of TV drama, and it looks for a long, bewildering moment like a masterpiece.…

19 Jun 2021

Divine Vinyl Survives

Two weeks ago, a fire broke out at the Universal Studios in Hollywood, 13 years to the day after another…

19 Jun 2021

Dylan

Bob Dylan turned 80 the other week. Does that seem to consign not just the vanished twentieth century but the…

12 Jun 2021

Festival music in Townsville

For those music lovers who can travel, the prospect of a festival in Townsville in mid-winter is an alluring one.…

12 Jun 2021

Aussie Life

One of the advantages of being an internet sensation is that it greatly reduces the likelihood of you being eaten.…

19 Jun 2021

Aussie Language

The settlement of Christian Porter’s defamation action against the ABC produced the predictable sneering responses from the activists at the…

19 Jun 2021

Charging ahead: how to get the best out of an electric car

Where do you want to go? China or India? I have always found India infinitely more fascinating — for a…

19 Jun 2021

Dear Mary: Has lockdown de-civilised my husband?

Q. Last night I went to dinner with people I had never met before. Because the host was a friend…

19 Jun 2021

Pure, white and native: the birch as a symbol of Russian nationalism

The image of the birch tree in popular Russian culture is as manifold as the trees themselves, but we could…

19 Jun 2021

A hymn to the hummingbird — one of the most astonishing organisms on Earth

Along with coral reefs and their fish, tropical butterflies and birds of paradise, hummingbirds must be among the most beautiful…

19 Jun 2021

O father, where art thou? Fox Fires, by Wyl Menmuir, reviewed

Wyl Menmuir’s first novel, The Many, was a surprise inclusion on the 2016 Booker Prize longlist. It drew praise for…

19 Jun 2021

Secret treaties and games of cat and mouse: a choice of recent crime fiction

Almost any promising writer of spy fiction can expect at some point to be called the ‘next Le Carré’, an…

19 Jun 2021

Snakes alive! Playing cricket in Latin America

Cricket in Latin America sounds like an oxymoron. Yet in almost every country in the region willow was hitting leather…

19 Jun 2021

A divided city: the Big Three fall out in post-war Berlin

When did the Cold War start? Not when the second world war ended. There were many differences between the Soviet…

19 Jun 2021

The great betrayal of Ethel Rosenberg

Ethel Rosenberg was an exceptional woman. Born with a painful curvature of the spine to a poor family of Jewish…

19 Jun 2021

Billy Wilder — the making of a great film director

Before Billy Wilder became the celebrated director of films such as Sunset Boulevard, Some Like It Hot and The Apartment…

19 Jun 2021