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ABR Arts

Book of the Week

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

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.

Interview

Interview

Interview

From the Archive

October 2011, no. 335

Brian McFarlane reviews 'On Shakespeare' by John Bell

When Arnold wrote his famous sonnet, he could have been anticipating John Bell’s book, which repeatedly asks provocative questions about the man and the work that have been his life’s inspiration – and arrives at much the same conclusion as Arnold. We don’t go to Shakespeare for mere knowledge, but for insight, challenge, and enrichment, and perhaps to help us know ourselves and others better. Further, as Bell says: ‘There is no worldwide conspiracy to keep Shakespeare alive. He survives because actors want to go on performing him and audiences want to listen.’ These sentences come from his second-last page, and the rest of the book helps us to understand why.

From the Archive

July–August 2008, no. 303

My Reading Life by Bob Carr

Books may furnish a room but they also furnish the mind. As somebody once said, ‘A man is known by the company his mind keeps’. One of my first moves on visiting a home is to check out the bookshelves, to discover something about the owner’s mind. Bob Carr, New South Wales’s longest-serving premier, has conveniently outlined his reading life in this opinionated, sometimes infuriating but always compelling account, which allows us to read his mind without physically visiting his library.

From the Archive

May 2014, no. 361

Anzac Memories: Living with the legend, Second edition by Alistair Thomson

Be warned! The commemorative tsunami is on its way. As James Brown put it recently in Anzac’s Long Shadow (2014), we are now witnessing an Anzac ‘arms race’, as Australians compete to find ‘bigger and better ways to commemorate our sacrificed soldiers’. The bill to the Australian state and federal taxpayers, Brown calculates, will be nearly $325 million. With a further $300 million projected to be raised in private donations, the commemoration of World War I might ultimately cost some two-thirds of a billion dollars.