Politics

Ben Saul reviews 'In the Company of Cowards' by Michael Mori

Ben Saul
25 March 2015

The unusual case of David Hicks is one of the most spectacular and politically supercharged miscarriages of justice in Australian history. Like the infamous Boer War case of Breaker Morant, Hicks was politically scapegoated and grossly denied a fair trial. Unlike Morant – a war criminal who murdered prisoners of war – even Hicks’s accuser, the United States, n ... More

Tim Colebatch reviews 'Paul Keating' by David Day

Tim Colebatch
25 March 2015

Paul Keating has an enduring allure. He has been out of politics since 1996, yet in the past year or so we have seen the ABC screen an unprecedented series of four one-hour interviews with him by an unusually respectful Kerry O’Brien; a book of his sayings still sells well, his speeches and pronouncements receive wide publicity, and now historian David Day has giv ... More

David Donaldson reviews 'Revolution' by Russell Brand

David Donaldson
02 March 2015

Russell Brand made headlines when he revealed in an animated interview with Jeremy Paxman that he had never voted. Fresh from guest-editing an issue of New Statesman, Brand had issued a call to overthrow the system responsible for the income disparities and environmental degradation in the world ... More

Dennis Altman reviews 'Northern Lights' by Andrew Scott

Dennis Altman
02 March 2015

As Andrew Scott points out, Australians have a limited and very clichéd knowledge of the Nordic countries. Recently, we have come to appreciate Scandinavia for its bleak police dramas, of which The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo is probably the best known. For the right, Scandinavia has long represented socialist excess, which merges with vague notions of unlim ... More

James Walter reviews 'The Menzies Era' by John Howard

James Walter
26 February 2015

John Howard has long been concerned with countering what he regards as the domination of Australian historical writing by the left. His project was initiated before he gained the prime ministership, most notably in his Menzies Lecture of 1996, in which he claimed that most of the distinctiveness and achievements of Australian politics were grounded in the liberal tr ... More

Shane Carmody reviews 'Clivosaurus' Guy Rundle

Shane Carmody
16 December 2014

Guy Rundle ends his engrossing account of Clive Palmer with a disclaimer: ‘Knowing Clive, he will contradict everything asserted in this essay in the two weeks between its going to press and hitting the bookstands.’ Since the publication of this essay, Palmer has not contradicted the assertions of the essay, but his party has been challenged. Senator Jacqui Lamb ... More

Lyndon Megarrity reviews 'Kevin Rudd' by Patrick Weller

Lyndon Megarrity
16 December 2014

In modern Australia, politics and public policy appear to reflect a narrow range of managerial, political, and economic opinions. Even the much publicised ‘listening tours’ conducted by politicians seem designed to show that they are sensitive to community concerns, but not so sensitive as to want to change policy direction. What makes current discussion of poli ... More

Geoffrey Blainey reviews 'Dick Hamer' by Tim Colebatch

Geoffrey Blainey
15 December 2014

Rupert (‘Dick’) Hamer proved to be one of Australia’s most innovative premiers. One sign of his unusual prestige is that this history of his life and times has perhaps been publicly praised more by Labor leaders than by his own Liberal colleagues.

Hamer’s family background was in the church, law, business, and politics. His paternal grandfather was t ... More

Mark Triffitt reviews 'Political Order and Political Decay' by Francis Fukuyama

Mark Triffitt
15 December 2014

Forget the cliché about a week being a long time in politics. Two decades in this super-speed, globalised age is more than enough time, it seems, for even the ‘best’ political system to go pear-shaped.

A growing number of books in recent times have focused on the current travails of Western-style liberal democracy. Its litany of dysfunctions includes co ... More

James McNamara reviews 'Political Animal: Gore Vidal on Power' by Heather Neilson

James McNamara
26 November 2014

American writer Gore Vidal was an intimate of political power. His grandfather was a US senator; his father served as Franklin D. Roosevelt’s Director of Air Commerce. When his mother re More

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