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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

September 2013, no. 354

Dion Kagan reviews 'Out of Shape' by Mel Campbell

Much has been said about our tendency to feel bad about our bodies, but not quite in the way Mel Campbell goes about it. The fit of clothes is a more interesting, if more elusive, cultural story than the predictable outrage over fashion’s ever slimmer bodies or recent storms about ‘plus size’ models. Out of Shape addresses these controversies but also goes to the frontline of fashion and fit: malls, big-brand manufacturers, and their fraught strategies for streamlining a comprehensible – and marketable – logic between clothing size and the heterogeneous human body. Though it is her first full-length work, the book explores a question that Campbell has been pondering in blogs, journalism, and reviews for years: why can finding clothes that fit well feel so torturous?

From the Archive

May 2012, no. 341

Running Dogs by Ruby J. Murray

How much does the average Australian know about Indonesia? Not the tourist version, with its resorts and beaches and lacklustre nasi goreng – but the wider culture, history, and people. At best, Indonesia is a tantalising enigma to most Australians. At worst, it is ignored – a vast nation about which we neither know nor care, despite its importance as one of our closest neighbours.

From the Archive

December 1988, no. 107

What’s in a Name

First up, best dressed is a warning for flatmates where the laggard must take comfort from the prospect that ‘An overcoat covers a multitude of sins’.