Commentary

In the Melbourne Museum is a collection of rainforest leaves. Wafer thin, they are not part of the forest gallery that gives visitors a taste of Victoria’s modern-day temperate rainforest. Rather, they are part of an exhibition about the tropical rainforest that Victoria was home to millions of years ago ...

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We live in strange days. Matters once unlikely to raise a flicker of public criticism can now quickly became raging bushfires of self-righteous anger. Such is the accelerant power of social media. Our public discourse is, however, rarely the better for it. Subtlety and nuance are all too frequently sacrificed on the altar of a supposed moral clarity that, among othe ...

ABR shares many Australians’ concerns about the health and viability of the ABC. The threats are myriad and sustained. Funding cuts, political interference, and frequent taunts from News Corp have weakened the organisation. Recently, the Liberal Party’s Federal Council voted to privatise the organisation. This would surely spell the beginning of the end for the national broadcaster. We take things for granted in the Lucky Country, but can we really be sure that the ABC will be around in 2028 to celebrate its centenary – searching, unfettered, well resourced? More and more people think not and have begun to lobby government. ABR supports them wholeheartedly. Meanwhile, one hundred writers, artists, commentators, and public figures have signed our Open Letter in support of the ABC. ... (read more)

Since I wrote about the golden age of television for ABR’s first film and television issue in 2015, the medium has evolved. Streaming has roared to prominence, with online services like Netflix disrupting television’s form and market as dramatically as cable did to broadcast television in the early 2000s ...

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Earlier this year, following the infamous Barnaby Joyce affair, Malcolm Turnbull called for a rethink of the parliamentary code of conduct to ensure this ‘shocking error of judgement’ on Joyce’s part did not happen again. New ‘guidelines’ would prevent senior politicians from engaging in a sexual relationship with their staffers ...

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I don’t remember how old I was when I first saw the film version of . As a young girl growing up in north-east Scotland, I didn’t know that it had been adapted from a 1961 novel of the same name by a writer known for her keen observational skills and biting wit called Muriel Spark, or that the story had first appeared, almost ...

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A cynic once remarked that an editor needs two things: good grammar and a long memory. But we all know there’s a bit more to it than that. As we prepare to send the April issue to press – the four hundredth in the magazine’s second series – it occurs to me that an editor’s main function is to be a recogniser of expertise ...

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I have always believed that, at a personal level, anything is possible, that if I desire to be a particular someone or do a particular something, I can. All my desires have been realistic: no hankerings for time travel or reinvention as a theoretical physicist, although both have enormous appeal. My desires have been possibilities ...

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Moments began as medieval measures, the time it took for a sundial’s blade of shadow to shift – ninety seconds or so, depending on the season. A slice of sunlight. A moment now carries cultural as well as temporal weight. A slice of spotlight. Increasingly, we speak of our present as a moment, as if its minutes are sprung ...

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Politicians in ancient Greece were well acquainted with the alluring intersection between sport and politics. Alcibiades, an ambitious aristocrat, entered seven chariots in the 416 BCE Olympics, aware of the potential political benefits. He came first, second, and fourth, later citing this ‘splendid performance’ to the Athenian ...

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