Reviewer: PT

By this author


Books July 08, 2017

The Long Goodbye: Coal, Coral and Australia’s Climate Deadlock

What price coal? What is our mania for mining costing the Great Barrier Reef? Or our fertile agricultural lands? Or our economy? Or rural and regional communities? Even our political integrity? Few questions escape the scrutiny of Anna Krien in her Quarterly …

Books April 29, 2017

Utopia for Realists

In the 1890s, William Lane, an Anglo-American trade unionist, writer and dreamer, made his utopia in Paraguay. His “New Australia” colony started with about 230 enthusiasts for a socialist, agrarian lifestyle and ended, after many schisms, with Lane …

Books March 18, 2017

They Cannot Take the Sky

How does a young doctor, driven out of Iraq by political violence that engulfs the very hospital he is working in, end up in the isolation unit of an Australian maximum security prison? He has committed no crime, under local or international law. Then …

Books November 19, 2016

The Australian Dream: Blood, History and Becoming

As Stan Grant sits in a cafe in Broome, with his latte and carrot cake, his gaze wanders across to the city park where a fight is unfolding. The flailing arms of men in cowboy hats, some sprawled on the ground, others propped against trees; Grant says …

Books October 08, 2016

Bob Ellis: In His Own Words

Towards the end of his life, Bob Ellis blogged a little, usually after writing the first draft of his missives in longhand on the fabled yellow legal pads he hauled everywhere with him. But by and large, Ellis, Australia’s finest literary raconteur, …

Books June 18, 2016

Trouble

A glass bottle flung in a drunken stupor at a car in mid-2009 ignited one of the most watched criminal cases in the Northern Territory since the 2001 murder of British tourist Peter Falconio. It involved five white men accused of killing a 33-year-old …

Books March 26, 2016

Balancing Act: Australia between Recession and Renewal

In a parallel universe, Clive Palmer is Australia’s Donald Trump but with a smile, not a snarl. The billionaire businessman plunders the voting base of the centre-right party, melds his business and political aspirations, and offers a smackdown to …

Books February 13, 2016

Credlin & Co.

Blame The West Wing. The sublime American drama set in the administration of President Jed Bartlet also gave us Leo McGarry, White House chief of staff. McGarry was Bartlet’s confidant, gatekeeper, enforcer and sometime conscience. His character …

Books November 28, 2015

Political Amnesia: How We Forgot How to Govern

Laura Tingle does not cite Orwell but his spirit pervades her new Quarterly Essay, Political Amnesia. Here is her perceptive take on a word so beloved of politicians: “ ‘Reform’ has become a hollowed-out word which you attach to anything …

Books October 03, 2015

Australia’s Second Chance

George Megalogenis is such a nimble writer that you can read his latest book, Australia’s Second Chance, as if it were Hebrew scripture – that is, backwards. The debates we are having today about immigration, boat arrivals, the property …

Books July 11, 2015

The End of Plenty

Never has there been a phrase as rich in irony as “the green revolution”. Today it evokes images of wind farms and solar panels and a society committed to slashing its carbon emissions. But as National Geographic writer Joel Bourne explains …

Books May 09, 2015

The Gillard Project

The campaign to elevate Julia Gillard to the pantheon of Labor Party greats continues, this time at the deft hand of her former speechwriter Michael Cooney. His memoir of his thousand days – an ambitious allusion to Arthur Schlesinger in the court …

Books March 21, 2015

Dear Life: On Caring for the Elderly

Not so long ago, middle-aged children and their ageing parents would have “the conversation”. If you were gentle, it went something like: “Mum, Dad – sis and I have been talking. We think it’s time you moved. We’ve found a retirement village …

Books November 22, 2014

Clivosaurus: The Politics of Clive Palmer

When the doyens of conventional wisdom – press gallery correspondents and has-been politicians who dominate Sky News and the ABC – look at Clive Palmer, what do they see? An eccentric billionaire, a conservative apostate, a man-child buffoon? It …

Books November 08, 2014

The Adolescent Country

In late 2012, when Wayne Swan was acting prime minister, he put a national security committee meeting on an especially tight schedule. He had to be out of there in an hour to get to a Labor Party fundraiser. Tony Abbott and his proxies in the tabloid …

Books October 11, 2014

My Story

Julia Gillard has written not one but two books, bound together in a single volume. The first half is a compelling and gossipy account of seizing the prime ministership from a dysfunctional incumbent and holding it against the odds; the second half …

Books July 05, 2014

The Rise and Fall of Australia

Two events bookend Nick Bryant’s stint as the BBC’s Australian correspondent, and they reflect what we might call the “Australian condition”. The first was the death in 2006 of celebrity crocodile hunter Steve Irwin, as confected a “character” …