Category Archives: Arts and Sport

Sidney Nolan’s St Kilda paintings: the ‘innocence’ of a man in his 20s with a wife and two mistresses

The Canberra Museum+Gallery is exhibiting several of Sidney Nolan’s St Kilda paintings until March 30, complete with a Children’s Trail for the nippers. But are the paintings as innocent as the stories that have built up around them – curated … Continue reading

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Tokyo 2020: The Troubled Games of the XXXll Olympiad

On 25 March, the Olympic Torch Relay is to set out from Fukushima with its “sacred flame” on a national circuit, visiting all 47 prefectures and arriving at Tokyo’s Games venue for the opening ceremony on 23 July. But will … Continue reading

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What’s the point of Labor?

As the Labor Opposition jettisons policies on negative gearing, capital gains taxes, franking credits and climate change policies that don’t embrace coal you have to ask – what’s the point of Labor?

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Upturn: all too familiar ideas but an advance on Coalition’s limited offerings

An eclectic set of essays, the book Upturn: A better normal after Covid-19 tries to put forward a serious reform agenda. While there is a wealth of enthusiastic ideas, Upturn is unfortunately stronger on identifying problems than solutions. This post concentrates … Continue reading

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Inspirational heroes abound – discover and promote them

Gellibrand MP Tim Watts draws on his family experience – his children, Hong Kong Chinese wife and in-laws – for his book “The Golden Country: Australia’s Changing Identity”. A modern response to Donald Horne’s 1960s “Lucky Country”, Watts see our … Continue reading

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There’s nothing entrepreneurial about Rentier Capitalism, as it sucks up more of the wealth pie

‘Rentier Capitalism’ is a cracking thesis on a cruel economic order. Read it and you’ll start seeing rentiers everywhere, hearing them in every news bulletin, all involved in massive anti-competitive behaviour and impoverishing the rest of society.

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Line between sledging and racism continues to blur

An invidious Sydney tradition surfaced again at the third Test match between Australia and India last week, with six spectators ejected from a stand for allegedly racist chants towards a nearby Indian outfielder.

Posted in Arts and Sport, Human Rights | 4 Comments

Humanity in medicine. The life of physician Dr Stanley Goulston

Proverbs 22.v.6 states: “Train up a child in the way he should go, and even when he is old he will not depart from it.” I suspect Stan’s character was shaped by his deeply ingrained Jewish faith, the character of … Continue reading

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Strung out on centre court: the loneliness of the long distance tennis player

January has long been the month when the international circuit wends its way to Australia, with the Australian Open a key event on the calendar. While Covid-19 delayed the Grand Slam until early next month, January remains a bittersweet time … Continue reading

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Whose Kangaroo Was It Anyway?

Q. When are a kangaroo and a dingo worth ten million dollars? A. When they were painted by Britain’s premier equestrian painter, George Stubbs, from stuffed pelts brought back from Botany Bay by Sir Joseph Banks in 1770.

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The war reparations of Sidney Nolan and Benjamin Britten – reckless innocence?

Was the Anglo-Australian cultural cringe solely a one way transmission from settler colony to metropole mothership? I have been re-examining the possibility that Australian creatives might have influenced British culture over the past century, especially since the Second World War.

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Lady Chatterley and Alexander Portnoy: Narrowing the Limits of Censorship in Australia

On the eve of the sixtieth anniversary of the Lady Chatterley’s Lover trial in London it still is not clear why Allen Lane and his fellow Directors at Penguin felt able to print 200,000 copies of the book prior to … Continue reading

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The Conundrum of the London Kangaroos

Seven years ago the UK government overruled the purchase for $10,000,000 by the Australian government of two oil paintings of a dingo and a kangaroo painted in London by George Stubbs from stuffed pelts brought back from the coast of … Continue reading

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Review: Cruelty or Humanity by Stuart Rees

Cruelty or Humanity  by Em.Prof. Stuart Rees, is essential reading in our present tumult and bedlam of human cruelty.

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Six Ways Sacked Hacks Can Keep Keyboarding

If airline pilots grounded by Covid-19 can retrain as header drivers to reap this year’s harvest, sacked political journalists can keep supplying readers’ needs through a little retraining.

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P&I ISSUES in Stuart Rees’ Cruelty or Humanity , Bristol: Policy Press  2020

Regarded by international jurist Richard Falk as ‘A road map for humanity’ and by Noam Chomsky as ‘a wonderful guide to the challenges we face’, Stuart Rees’ ‘Cruelty or Humanity‘ identifies world-wide threats to freedom and democracy and displays the humanitarian … Continue reading

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What can possibly be done with our political and policy malaise.Part 1.

Two new books are available or soon will be; (“How to Win an Election” by Chris Wallace and “What is to be Done?” by Barry Jones). Both focus on the state of the nation and the state of the ALP.

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Greg Sheridan’s feverish cherry picking

What has Greg Sheridan of The Australian been smoking or taking, or is it just common or garden cherry picking?

Posted in Arts and Sport, Politics | 7 Comments

Night and Day (NYBooks Aug 26, 2020)

But a broken nation is not a macrocosm of a broken family. It cannot be healed by love and understanding alone, by religious faith and “small acts of kindness.”

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Australia’s needs to stand up for the arts

Prime Minister Scott Morrison’s Coalition Government has been widely criticised for its failure to support the arts in the COVID-19 crisis. The PM has responded with a handful of PR announcements. But what’s needed is a complete change of policy … Continue reading

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D.H.Lawrence’s Australian Climacteric

The Obscene Publications Act was promulgated in England and Wales on August 29, 1959. It paved the way for the Lady Chatterley’s Lover trial in October 1960 that cleared Penguin Books of publishing an obscene article without literary merit even … Continue reading

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Heritage, justice and the future of culture

A crucial debate is taking place over the function of cultural institutions. The concerns of a rising generation about race, gender and historical justice have to be heard. But it’s equally important to defend heritage collections and the cultural achievements … Continue reading

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The erosion of The Age is like the erosion of society

Following its new owners excessive devotion to “entertainment news”, The Age has hit on a new recipe: curated stories to feed closed minds.

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Why do LNP Governments hate the arts and universities?

LNP Governments’ vindictive attitudes to the arts are obvious from the widespread cutbacks they have imposed on the sector. Ditto universities which have been forced to rely on overseas students to make up funding shortfalls and are then attacked for … Continue reading

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Exposing the Hidden Hand

Clive Hamilton’s new book Hidden Hand: “Exposing How the Chinese Communist Party is Reshaping the World” is a diatribe. We do not need this hysteria when we are trying to maintain a modicum of practical relations with the People’s Republic … Continue reading

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William Barton: A voice from the heart

On 1 August didgeridoo artist-composer William Barton and violinist Véronique Serret brought their composition Heartland to online audiences via the Melbourne Digital Concert Hall. It is a work to resonate across Australia and around the world.

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Scott Morrison’s 21st century book burning

Prime Minister Morrison’s Coalition Government has committed $270 billion to militarisation, while universities, public broadcasters and the arts face devastation. The implications for Australian society are grim.

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Book Review: “Hidden Hand” – Exposing how the Chinese communist party is reshaping the world (The Conversation 10.7.20)

In Hidden Hand, China scholars Clive Hamilton and Marieke Ohlberg examine the Chinese Communist Party’s influence in Europe and North America in a similar way to how Hamilton dissected the CCP’s influence in Australia in his 2018 book, Silent Invasion.

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How the Powerhouse Museum was saved

In an extraordinary about-turn, NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian has announced that she will retain the Powerhouse Museum at Ultimo and build a new museum at Parramatta.

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Neoliberalism: Attacks on the ABC and academia are entirely logical.

Funding attacks on the ABC and the social sciences in academia by Scotty from Marketing: they fit perfectly with Noam Chomsky’s propaganda model.

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