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Letters to the Editor

Letters to the Editor

by Chris Wallace-Crabbe, Beejay Silcox, James Walter, Alex Miller, Naama Grey-Smith, Roger Rees, Judith Masters, Sally Gray, Danielle Clode, Tom Griffiths, Jenny Esots, Gill David Egan, Katharine Margot Toohey

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A Bigger Picture by Malcolm Turnbull

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Malcolm Turnbull looks us straight in the eye from the cover of this handsome book, with just a hint of a smile. He looks calm, healthy, and confident; if there are scars from his loss of the prime ministership in August 2018, they don’t show. The book’s voice is the engaging one we heard when Turnbull challenged Tony Abbott in July 2015 and promised a style of leadership that respected people’s intelligence. He takes us from his childhood in a very unhappy marriage, through school and university, his astonishing successes in media, business, and the law, his entry into politics as the member for Wentworth, and ends with his exit from parliament.



Lisa Gorton is Poet of the Month

It is strangely moving to learn how a reader thinks about something I’ve written. Mostly, I’ve been lucky to have reviewers who crystallise, for me, some pattern in my thinking or inchoate hope for the work. It helps me to start something new. I learn as much, perhaps, from reviews of other people’s work – other approaches, a sense of connection.


April 2019, no. 410

Meredith Curnow is Publisher of the Month

I am very proud of most of the books I have published. Some that stand out include Kate McClymont and Linton Besser’s He Who Must Be Obeid, which involved us all in a world of pain, but also instigated the case against Eddie Obeid. Working with Julia Gillard on My Story was rather special, and last year I published Rusted Off from Gabrielle Chan ...


June–July 2019, no. 412

Publisher of the Month with Sam Cooney

I completed a writing degree, then was published in Voiceworks magazine, then joined its editorial committee, there discovering that editing is a wonderfully creative and fulfilling act, then commissioned and published some folios of new work in other literary publications, then joined The Lifted Brow magazine as fiction editor, then ...

From the Archive

September 1989, no. 114

Night Parrots by John Kinsella

Lasseter, it has been said, was a strange man, admired for his unusual and innovative ideas. He told a story of being caught during a storm in Central Australia: he put all his clothes in a hollow log, stood naked until the storm passed, and was then able to don his dry clothing. Though some claim that Lasseter was at Gallipoli, he did become the source of another great Australian myth of failure.

From the Archive

November 1984, no. 66

Tall Poppies: Successful Australian women talk to Susan Mitchell by Susan Mitchell

Tall Poppies is an addition to the literature of ‘women of achievement’. Susan Mitchell’s slim paperback, with its pretty cover photograph of Iceland poppies, is deliberately written in a ‘simple and conversational’ style because, she says, she wants to reach ‘as many people as possible’. But her audience is women only; this is a tract for our times. The nine tape recorded interviews with ‘successful’ women set out to celebrate what they have achieved in spite of the oppression of society, and to present inspiring ‘role models’ to women who read them. One wonders whether the effect will not be daunting rather than encouraging. Mary Breasley disclaims in a foreword that ‘the whole notion of women of achievement implies elitism’; but it must. These women have been picked out. We are asked, predictably, to notice their determination and persistence; but we can’t help seeing too their exceptional energy, talent, inventiveness and flexibility. And they are successful. Quite what this means is not considered. Most of the women have well-known names, they are women who ‘have the media on their backs’, as one of them, Beatrice Faust, says. Some are ‘Top Girls’, in Caryl Churchill’s phrase: they hold top jobs in the professions. But what constitutes success in that woman’s life who chooses to devote her energies to two (or more) goals: her family and her job? Women who don’t make it to the top are not necessarily failures, as Kathleen Fitzpatrick points out in her contributions to The Half-Open Door.

From the Archive

December 2001–January 2002, no. 237

Chifley by David Day

Joseph Benedict Chifley enjoys a special place in the Australian pantheon – an icon of decencies almost extinct. Born in 1885, Chifley was raised in Bathurst, where he joined the NSW Railways in 1903. One of the youngest-ever first-class locomotive drivers at the age of twenty seven, Chifley was among those who struck for six weeks in 1917 against new management practices in the railways. They lost. He was demoted to fireman, and his union, the Federated Engine-drivers and Firemen’s Association of Australasia, deregistered. He was soon restored to engineman.

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