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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

December 2003–January 2004, no. 257

Australian Republicanism: A reader by Mark McKenna and Wayne Hudson

Was there ever an uglier duckling than Australian republicanism? It’s a movement whose end is vital to anyone who believes that a people should attempt to extend the control over their own destiny, but which, of itself, fails to inspire the slightest excitement in anyone for whom politics is a living, breathing thing. Even more suspicious are those for whom republicanism is an exciting cause. They’re a strange mob, often decent and committed people, but able to subsist on a fairly thin diet. Because so many of them are lawyers, they are always on the ball when it comes to saying how the Constitution should be changed and what new mechanism should be put in place. Because so many of them are lawyers, the movement is efficient and well run. And because so many of them are lawyers, no one else trusts them or feels comfortable working with them.

From the Archive

March 2007, no. 289

Stephanie Owen Reeder surveys young adult literature

Last year, the Tamworth Regional Council voted not to accept five Sudanese refugee families into their township. The decision was reversed in January 2007, albeit with qualifications and overtly racist reactions from some locals. In our post-Tampa society, such seemingly xenophobic reactions have become frighteningly normal, especially at the government level. We will ultimately be a much poorer country if such attitudes become entrenched. Luckily, a number of Australian children’s authors and illustrators have been doing their best to ensure that this does not happen, and some of them are examined here. Author–illustrator Bob Graham prefaces his picture book Jethro Byrde Fairy Child (2002) with an apt quote from The Bible: ‘Let Brotherly Love Continue. Be not forgetful to entertain strangers: For thereby some have entertained angels unawares’ (Hebrew 13: 1, 2). Jethro Byrde is a beguiling tale in which a small child treats strangers with kindness, and thus brings wonder into her own life.

From the Archive

April 2001, no. 229

What Did You Learn Today? by Mark Latham

In the midst of transition to the information economy, there is a need for thinking about learning in ways that will help us to reconstruct the education system, while enhancing its critical and reflective role, and improving equality of opportunity. This new book by Mark Latham, a Labor MHR, isn’t it, though at first glance many will think it might be. Consciously or otherwise, it’s a substantial surrender to new Right ways of thinking. Worse, it’s intellectually sloppy and rife with obvious and unresolved contradictions.