How many of us would really want to be prime minister? The road to The Lodge is littered with depressing tales of ambitious politicians abandoning their friends, principles, and even their own authentic voice in order to secure the Top Job. Then, once you’ve fulfilled your life’s ambitions, voters and your own supporters are liable to tire of you and seek a new political hero. Nevertheless, prime ministers become accustomed to the power, public attention, and perks of office; they find it difficult to choose the ‘right time’ to leave office.... (read more)
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)
To hell with what you think of me.
I’ve started drinking martinis at three.
I wake, I walk, I write, I sleep.
I snooze the alarm. I doze. I read.
At first glance, the premise of this book seems dubious. Katharine Smyth, an American woman in her mid-twenties, turns to the life and work of Virginia Woolf for solace after the death of her father. There is no doubt that Woolf writes brilliantly about death, particularly in the novel Smyth focuses on, To the Lighthouse (1927), which fictionalises the death of Woolf’s mother, Julia Stephen. But what comfort could Smyth hope to find in the work of a writer who herself refuses any of the usual consolations? After losing her mother and her elder half-sister, Stella, in her early teens, and then her father, Leslie, and her elder brother, Thoby, in her twenties, Woolf knew that there was no solace to be found. Her only comfort was that at least ‘the gods (as I used to phrase it) were taking one seriously’.... (read more)
This autobiography by Tim Costello – Baptist minister, lawyer, anti-casino activist, CEO of World Vision Australia for thirteen years – is a clear and straightforward account of his life, free of obvious literary artifice. What Costello has tried to do, he says, is to understand and explain how his memories and experiences ...... (read more)
As my plane drops down in turbulence
I think of you and of Salt Lake City,
I think of ice stealing over the Great Lakes
and of Omaha and of adamant plains.... (read more)
The most charismatic of the many monsters in Elizabeth Bryer’s début novel is the conceptual artist Maddison Worthington, who commands attention with her lipstick of ‘Mephistophelian red’ and her perfume of ‘white woods, musk and heliotrope’. From the solitude of a labyrinthine mansion ...... (read more)
The inciting incident in Josephine Rowe’s short story ‘Glisk’ (winner of the 2016 Jolley Prize) unpacks in an instant. A dog emerges from the scrub and a ute veers into oncoming traffic. A sedan carrying a mother and two kids swerves into the safety barrier, corroded by the salt air, and disappears over a sandstone bluff ...... (read more)
Much talk around the abuse of children centres on the desire (or demand) for justice. Unfortunately, justice is not easy to attain. To begin with, it tends to require a justice system. This introduces all manner of creaking bureaucracy and complicated, sometimes outmoded laws. Justice outcomes are also hugely influenced by race, gender, and inequality ...... (read more)