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Alison Broinowski

When Australians working in diplomatic posts share anecdotes, the best usually come from the consuls. They recount travellers’ tales of love and loss, dissipation and disaster, adventure and misadventure from Australians perpetually on the move – at least until the pandemic. It’s the consuls’ job to help those who are injured, robbed, kidnapped, arrested, or otherwise distressed abroad.

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Dreaming of East by Barbara Hodgson & Women of the Gobi by Kate James

June 2007, no. 292

Jane Austen’s latest biographer, Jon Spence, observes that by deciding to support herself by writing rather than live on a husband’s income, Austen was spared the likelihood of annual pregnancies, exhaustion, infection and early death, fates that confronted many married women of her day. Another means of avoidance was travel abroad. That was not the only motive, of course, of the many European women who, from the early eighteenth century, attracted admiration, censure and curiosity by combining writing and travel. Nor did it always work.

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Over the course of a long and distinguished public life, Gareth Evans has held fast to his conviction that as individuals aspire to personal decency and moral behaviour, the same should be replicated among nations. As a foreign minister and an author, and in his international organisations and academic roles, Evans has consistently advocated ‘good international citizenship’. Care for our common humanity he sees as both a moral imperative and a national interest.

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Here we have the first intimations of the coming flowering of the Donald Friend diaries, which are to be published by the National Library with support from Morris West’s benefaction. Friendliness was not always the same as ugliness or cleanliness when he was alive. So, it is somehow comforting that two Australian artists, so different from each other in lifestyle, should after their deaths find common cause.

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Much political mileage has been made in Australia from the turning back of ‘boat people’. Travel by boat is the cheapest means of getting to this island continent, and the most dangerous. Boat travellers are the poorest and the most likely to be caught and deported or sent to an offshore camp. But their number is less than half of those who arrive by air as tourists and apply for refugee protection: some 100,000 have done so during the seven years of this Coalition government.

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Since the 1960s, US military bases have continuously occupied Australian territory, with the permission of successive governments. Of the original sites, the missile-launch tracker Nurrungar is closed and North West Cape no longer communicates with US nuclear submarines, but it has since gained space surveillance and military signals intelligence functions. Pine Gap ...

In the May 2019 issue of Quadrant, its literary editor, Barry Spurr, inveighed against the ‘inane expansion of creative writing courses’. Professor Spurr’s scholarly accomplishments in the study of poetry and Australian fiction do not include creative writing. (His resignation from the University of Sydney was accepted in December 2014 ... ... (read more)

Our tutor in Japanese conversation at the Australian National University in 1968, rather than listen to us mangling his language, used to write the kanji for all the political factions on the board, with a Ramen-like chart of connections looping between them and multiple interest groups ...

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A week after the Manchester Arena bombing, it emerged in the British media that MI5 had been warned about some of the terrorists but had apparently done nothing. M16, moreover, had reportedly encouraged British Libyans to join the 2011 civil war against Gaddafi. Their relatives, including the Manchester bomber, later went back and forth unimpeded between the United Kingdom and Libya.

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Dear Editor,
All authors are perhaps oversensitive to reviews of their books, but I have never been tempted to quarrel with a reviewer until now. Alan Atkinson’s review of Scurvy: The disease of discovery (April 2017) contains a ...

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