The morning ABC radio program AM is not a book program. But occasionally we’re pleased to take the opportunity to broadcast the story of a new book, particularly when it comments on Australian public affairs. When John Pilger’s A Secret Country was published, AM ran an interview with the author which was unusually long for us, some five or six minutes. The response was remarkable. In my two years as presenter of the program, I can’t recall as much listener interest in any item, judging by the number of telephone enquiries about the book we received in subsequent days.... (read more)
David Trigger reviews 'Finding the Heart of the Nation: The journey of the Uluru Statement towards voice, treaty and truth' by Thomas Mayor
The ‘Uluru Statement from the Heart’ emerged in May 2017 from a convention held in Arrernte country in Central Australia attended by 250 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people from around the nation. The Statement called for a ‘First Nations Voice’ to be enshrined in the Constitution enabling, in general terms, a process of influence on future legislation and policy affecting Indigenous communities. The Statement also seeks a commitment to agreement-making between government and Indigenous groups and ‘truth-telling’ about the history of colonisation.... (read more)
Richard J. Martin reviews The Colonial Fantasy: Why white Australia can’t solve black problems by Sarah Maddison
‘Fuck Australia, I hope it fucking burns to the ground.’ Sarah Maddison opens this book by quoting Tarneen Onus-Williams, the young Indigenous activist who sparked a brief controversy when her inflammatory comments about ...... (read more)
Jen Webb reviews 'The Drover’s Wives: 99 reinterpretations of Henry Lawson’s Australian Classic' by Ryan O’Neill
‘The Drover’s Wife’ was one of the first stories I read when I arrived in Australia. I was living in the bush then, in hard beautiful country, and though my difficulties were First World Problems I shared the Wife’s nostalgia for nights in comfortable hotels, reliable transport, medical services. I did admire the story, though its ...... (read more)
When Australian federation was being planned and its implications first worked through, various men and women with agendas of their own set themselves ...... (read more)
Hector Crawford is a unique figure in the history of Australian radio and television. The Australian Dictionary of Biography article (also by the author of this book) describes him as 'television producer, media lobbyist and musician', to which could be added radio producer, showman, and entrepreneur. Above all, he was a persistent and canny advocate of Aus ...
Peter Hill reviews 'Australian Artists in the Contemporary Museum' by Jennifer Barrett and Jacqueline Millner
I like a book jacket that tells you clearly, in words and images, what it is about. Australian Artists in the Contemporary Museum does just that: ‘The authors’ central argument is that artists’ engagement with the museum has shifted from politically motivated critique taking place in museums of fine art, towards interventions taking place in non-art mus ...
Free settlement in Australia from 1788 to the 1850s is an old and favourite topic for historians in this country. It has engaged historical imagination for nearly two centuries, starting with William Charles Wentworth’s A Statistical, Historical, and Political Description of the Colony ...
The World Film Location series aims to articulate the ways in which physical environments shape the ‘emotional spaces’ of characters in cinema. For the Sydney volume, editor Neil Mitchell has corralled a selection of writers to contribute short entries (with a few longer essays) on the city’s various appearances on film....