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politics November 10, 2018


You’re neither on the bus nor off the bus

Like others among the mystically inclined, Christians can be prone to portents. Ominously for Prime Minister Scott Morrison, a flash storm last weekend tore apart the oak tree opposite The Lodge’s day-to-day working driveway on Canberra’s National...

immigration November 10, 2018


Saving Planet Earth

Historians and political scientists have classified recent world history into two distinct periods, with the end of World War II as the dividing line. The period from 1901 to 1945 was marked by aggressive nationalism – trade wars, high tariffs,...

politics October 27, 2018


Running against Tony Abbott in Warringah

There’s a line of Shakespeare that has been running around in my head over the past few days. Mind you, when I say “days”, I really mean nights, particularly in the wee small hours. The line that keeps ringing in my tired brain is, “Sleep no more,...

ir November 3, 2018


Unions key to workers’ wage growth

For much of human history, economic growth puttered along slowly – so slowly, in fact, that shops would sometimes carve prices into their stone walls. Then, in the late 1700s, one of the most dramatic transformations in world economic history took...

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...

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...

immigration August 11, 2018


Manus prison theory

Last week, my book No Friend But the Mountains: Writing From Manus Prison was finally released. It’s the product of five years living in exile on Manus Island, depicting the raw and unadulterated experience of incarceration in a remote prison...

immigration August 11, 2018


Pushing the limits of acceptable debate

In the immediate aftermath of Donald Trump’s election victory, many people sought to persuade themselves it wasn’t as dramatic a result as it seemed. If only a few thousand votes in a few forgettable states had gone the other way, they posited,...