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indigenous affairs October 20, 2018


Razing the white flag

During the 18th century, a European travel writer visiting the colonies in what is now South America was astounded to stumble upon a town where a biracial governor was casually going about his business. More astounding still was how completely...

rural October 13, 2018


How climate change policy helps farmers

Drought is ravaging the land. Large swaths of eastern Australia are experiencing some of the worst seasons on record. Frosts have wiped out large areas of crops in Western Australia, southern New South Wales and Victoria. Hail has beaten crops into...

education September 29, 2018


Enemies of public schooling

An award-winning public school principal I know responded wistfully to the extra $4.6 billion in education funding Prime Minister Scott Morrison is giving exclusively to fee-charging schools. Of course, she could have used some extra money, but it...

indigenous affairs October 6, 2018


Getting the people behind the Uluru statement

Recently, I read Laura Tingle’s Quarterly Essay, Follow the Leader . I was seething with anger at the time, having just read that the member for Lingiari, Warren Snowdon, had lectured Indigenous leaders about realpolitik from his comparatively...

indigenous affairs September 22, 2018


Why I won’t stand for the national anthem

It took me quite a while before I decided not to stand for the national anthem at school. I started talking with my family about the anthem, and the words in it. We talked about what it might mean to different people, and I started to feel as if...

indigenous affairs September 15, 2018


Abbott’s envoy appointment derisory

As an Aboriginal person, a leadership spill is an interesting phenomenon to observe. There is a lot of earnest frustration – this isn’t who we voted for! – and there is a feeling that important decisions are being made about your life without you...

media September 8, 2018


Speaking for freedom

Online, in forums around the world, at the United Nations and beyond, the Australian government is quick to point out how important free speech is to a functioning democracy. The Liberal Party’s own website proudly proclaims, “We believe in those...

politics September 1, 2018


Scott Morrison and the ‘strongman’ capitulations

Tony Abbott’s face as he emerged from the party room is the image I can’t get out of my head from the chaos of the past weeks. Defeat had done its work. He was pared back to the bone. His skin looked a mess and his eyes barely focused as he mouthed...

indigenous affairs August 25, 2018


The folly of Jacinta Price

No one with a revulsion for the influence of the alt-right or neo-Nazis in our body politic would be surprised to learn that an aspiring Aboriginal candidate for the House of Representatives could graduate from the role of children’s entertainer “...

politics August 18, 2018


Red flags and crossing the line

“If we’d gone into battle earlier, seriously and united, we might have got somewhere. We were too slow to recognise the threat. Too late, and probably too polite, in pushing back.” Given the task of this column is to summarise the week in politics,...

religion August 18, 2018


Fraser Anning and racist politics

Oh, but doesn’t Australia have a lot of them? These watershed moments of lines crossed and politics forever changed, where the bar set for public discourse is not so much lowered but dispensed with altogether. This week it was crossbench senator...