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ABR Arts

Book of the Week

Bad Cop: Peter Dutton’s strongman politics (Quarterly Essay 93)

Bad Cop: Peter Dutton’s strongman politics (Quarterly Essay 93) by Lech Blaine

Bill Hayden might today be recalled as the unluckiest man in politics: Bob Hawke replaced him as Labor leader on the same day that Malcolm Fraser called an election that Hayden, after years of rebuilding the Labor Party after the Whitlam years, was well positioned to win. But to dismiss him thus would be to overlook his very real and laudable efforts to make a difference in politics – as an early advocate for the decriminalisation of homosexuality, and as the social services minister who introduced pensions for single mothers and Australia’s first universal health insurance system, Medibank. Dismissing Hayden would also cause us to miss the counterpoint he provides to Peter Dutton, current leader of the Liberal Party.




From the Archive

August 2006, no. 283

Rifling Paradise by Jem Poster

I love travelling overseas. I like the whole flying thing: the taxi ride to the airport wondering what I forgot to pack, the queuing at check-in, the thrill of getting through security. Then there’s the flight itself. The rush of take-off, the first free drink, the little plastic tray with little plastic dishes and plastic knives and forks – just like a picnic in the clouds. Whether the destination is familiar or exotic, I like arriving, too. But one thing I have learned over the years is that no matter where I go, I’ve been there before. Different airport, same old Nick. It must have been much the same two thousand years ago when the Roman poet Horace wrote Caelum non animum mutant qui trans mare currunt – Those who fly across the sea, change the sky but not the me. In the nineteenth century, though, if we are to believe Jem Poster, things were very different.

From the Archive

March 2011, no. 329

Into the Light: 150 Years of Cultural Treasures at the University of Sydney by David Ellis

With the centrepiece of its glorious Edmund Blacket building and its noble quadrangle, the University of Sydney is Australia’s oldest and grandest institution of higher learning – an adornment both to its city and to the nation since its foundation in 1852. Less well known, even in Sydney, is that the university is home to a remarkable accumulation of cultural and scientific treasures – some seven hundred thousand artefacts and objects – held within its museums and collections: the Nicholson and Macleay Museums, the University Art Gallery, the rare books collection of the Fisher Library and university archives, and numerous faculty-based research collections.

From the Archive

February–March 1998, no. 198

An Instinct for the Kill by Antonella Gambotto

If Antonella Gambotto hadn’t been sued by Cliff Richard early on in her career, would she have later described Kylie Minogue as ‘a charmlessly robotic dwarf’ under the impression of being an ‘incandescent, gifted and alluring siren’? Perhaps not. It seems it was Cliff, the 50,000 pounds and the resulting barrow-loads of letters that convinced Gambotto of the value of opinion pieces: people react.