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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

May 1995, no. 170

Reading Mr Robinson

I grew up in a once-upon-a-time land when milk and loaves appeared at the door to the jingle of bells and the clopping of hooves, when housewives were wistful Cinderellas in sacking aprons and hair permanently rollered for the ball, when men wore hats, and lifted them to the funerals of strangers passing in the street. That time – the forties, the early fifties – has been mythologised into a Camelot of Anglo-Celtic virtue, or a dark age of tribalism and British cooking. In my recollection, of course, it was neither, but simply the way things were. It is disconcerting to find one’s private past, one’s little collection of ordinary memories, become a matter of ideological dispute, and to discover, after peaceful decades spent reading historical documents, that you have become a historical document yourself.

From the Archive

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.