Category Archives: Arts and Sport

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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Australian Soaps to the Pacific – Good Diplomacy?

The Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade launched an initiative to send commercial (soaps) Australian television programs to stations in the South Pacific. This will do little to enhance vigorous and discerning projection of Australian news and values in the … Continue reading

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Faulty reasoning in BBC purge. Dealing with art and prejudice.

How will the BBC, other media organisations and theatre companies deal with plays that are clearly prejudicial, injurious and intolerant towards a particular group of people in the future? 

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SUE BUTLER. COVID-19 language outbreak

A new environment requires us to produce new names so that we can identify its elements and come to terms with it.  Every settler in a strange terrain goes through the process of naming plants, animals and geographical features.  The social landscape … Continue reading

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ROBIN BOYLE. Beethoven and the ABC Classic 100 Countdown – A not-to-be missed event

On the weekend of the 7 and 8 June, ABC Classic will be conducting its Classic 100 Countdown for 2020. Being the 250th anniversary of his birth, it is devoted to the music of Ludwig van Beethoven.

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JUDITH WHITE. Cultural recovery in a globalised world

With international travel at a standstill, arts organisations are grappling with the dilemma of future programming. There is no lack of local work to showcase – but what about international connections?

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JUDITH WHITE. Trainwreck at Carriageworks

The collapse of Sydney arts and entertainment centre Carriageworks has sent tremors through the besieged arts sector; but it also shows up the deep flaws in the NSW Government’s cultural policy, and is fuelling demands to halt its disastrous $1.5 … Continue reading

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The Coronavirus Derby

And the winner is

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KIM WINGEREI. My week with Malcolm and a faltering democracy.

Otto von Bismarck (in)famously said: “Politics is the art of the possible, the attainable – the art of the next best”. It is a sentiment I abhor.

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JUDITH WHITE. The Australia Council latest funding – the arts betrayed.

The latest round of The Australia Council funding, announced on 3 April, marks a new level of government interference in the arts. The council was never meant to police the arts on behalf of government, but under the Coalition that … Continue reading

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GREG LOCKHART.- Quarantined in the Jazz Age

A friend mailed me recently to ask if I was well and safely distanced socially. He also pasted the following letter and asked me if I’d seen it. I hadn’t. 

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