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Hot air triumphs over clean air

Hot air triumphs over clean air

Just a few days before Christmas 2023 the federal government announced a tough new vehicle efficiency standard for motor vehicles. The standard — which would belatedly have brought Australia into line with most other advanced economies — encountered predictable opposition from Peter Dutton and his Coalition colleagues and from affected
Hamas’s dark calculus

Hamas’s dark calculus

If he wasn’t already a hard man when he was jailed, Yahya Sinwar was a very hard man by the time he walked out of an Israeli prison in 2011. A beneficiary of a prisoner–hostage swap, he had closely observed his Israeli guards during his twenty years of imprisonment and
The legendary King O’Malley

The legendary King O’Malley

Should residents of the most populous Australian city of the late-Victorian age, a status it would reclaim only in the far distant 2020s, take a bow — or should they blush? In early 1888, James Malley, formerly of Kansas and points further east, was in a proper fix. Acquitted years
Long war

Long war

In its third year, the Ukraine war has changed much, even as it keeps changing. It proclaims that the old international order is broken. How it unfolds and how it ends will say much about what new order, or disorder, is emerging. Important history keeps arriving: Russia’s initial arrogance and
The end of the future

The end of the future

In April 2019 hopes were running high in US progressive circles, with the left-wing “Squad” making its presence felt within the Democratic congressional majority and Bernie Sanders launching his second presidential campaign. Universal healthcare and tuition-free universities had returned to the realm of political possibilities, joined now by the Green
“I weep more at a wedding than a funeral”

“I weep more at a wedding than a funeral”

In my usual manner, I began this book by reading the conclusion. There, Susannah Gibson closes her new book on eighteenth-century intellectual women, The Bluestockings, by quoting Virginia Woolf. “It is the masculine values that prevail,” Woolf rued in 1928. “This is an important book, the critic assumes, because it
Sealing the deal

Sealing the deal

As he describes them in his newly published memoir, Ron Boswell: Not Pretty, But Pretty Effective, Ron Boswell’s early years in Perth were not happy. His mother, “something of a drifter and subject to Bohemian influences,” was ill-matched with his father, “a devout and practising Roman Catholic with a conservative
Music of remembrance

Music of remembrance

Jeremy Eichler’s Time’s Echo examines four works of postwar musical commemoration created respectively by a German, an Austrian Jew in exile, an Englishman and a Russian: Richard Strauss’s Metamorphosen (1945), Arnold Schoenberg’s A Survivor from Warsaw (1947), Benjamin Britten’s War Requiem (1962) and Dmitri Shostakovich’s Symphony No 13 (1962). Although

Playing with fire

Israel’s bloody attempts to eliminate Hamas in Gaza have already pushed a volatile Middle East to the brink of a wider conflagration. This week, an Israeli airstrike on the Iranian consulate in Damascus added to the risk of a region-wide conflict. Assassinated by US-supplied F-35 aircraft were brigadier-general Mohammad Reza
Not quite a marriage made in heaven

Not quite a marriage made in heaven

For Rupert, it almost certainly wasn’t love at first sight. When Donald Trump became an acquaintance, probably in New York and probably in the early 1980s, the shameless, publicity-hungry property developer was keen, like his fellow wannabe celebrities, to be covered in Murdoch’s New York Post. Trump’s business reputation was
Roaring back

Roaring back

“History has a way of roaring back into our lives,” warns Brian Knappenberger, whose latest documentary, Turning Point: the Bomb and the Cold War, is screening on Netflix. Tracking through ninety years of geopolitical upheaval from the rise of Stalin and Hitler to Putin’s invasion of Ukraine, the nine episodes
The father of “soft power”

The father of “soft power”

The politicians and soldiers do the work but the thinkers give the world the language and concepts to understand power: Machiavelli wrestles Marx while Clausewitz argues theory with Sun Tzu and Thucydides. In this small group, Jesus matters but so does Caesar. A modern addition to the pantheon is a

Hot air triumphs over clean air

Hot air triumphs over clean air
Just a few days before Christmas 2023 the federal government announced a tough new vehicle efficiency standard for motor vehicles. The standard — which would belatedly have brought Australia into line with most other advanced economies — encountered predictable opposition from Peter Dutton and his Coalition colleagues and from affected

Hamas’s dark calculus

Hamas’s dark calculus
If he wasn’t already a hard man when he was jailed, Yahya Sinwar was a very hard man by the time he walked out of an Israeli prison in 2011. A beneficiary of a prisoner–hostage swap, he had closely observed his Israeli guards during his twenty years of imprisonment and

The legendary King O’Malley

The legendary King O’Malley
Should residents of the most populous Australian city of the late-Victorian age, a status it would reclaim only in the far distant 2020s, take a bow — or should they blush? In early 1888, James Malley, formerly of Kansas and points further east, was in a proper fix. Acquitted years

Long war

Long war
In its third year, the Ukraine war has changed much, even as it keeps changing. It proclaims that the old international order is broken. How it unfolds and how it ends will say much about what new order, or disorder, is emerging. Important history keeps arriving: Russia’s initial arrogance and

The end of the future

The end of the future
In April 2019 hopes were running high in US progressive circles, with the left-wing “Squad” making its presence felt within the Democratic congressional majority and Bernie Sanders launching his second presidential campaign. Universal healthcare and tuition-free universities had returned to the realm of political possibilities, joined now by the Green

“I weep more at a wedding than a funeral”

“I weep more at a wedding than a funeral”
In my usual manner, I began this book by reading the conclusion. There, Susannah Gibson closes her new book on eighteenth-century intellectual women, The Bluestockings, by quoting Virginia Woolf. “It is the masculine values that prevail,” Woolf rued in 1928. “This is an important book, the critic assumes, because it

Sealing the deal

Sealing the deal
As he describes them in his newly published memoir, Ron Boswell: Not Pretty, But Pretty Effective, Ron Boswell’s early years in Perth were not happy. His mother, “something of a drifter and subject to Bohemian influences,” was ill-matched with his father, “a devout and practising Roman Catholic with a conservative

Music of remembrance

Music of remembrance
Jeremy Eichler’s Time’s Echo examines four works of postwar musical commemoration created respectively by a German, an Austrian Jew in exile, an Englishman and a Russian: Richard Strauss’s Metamorphosen (1945), Arnold Schoenberg’s A Survivor from Warsaw (1947), Benjamin Britten’s War Requiem (1962) and Dmitri Shostakovich’s Symphony No 13 (1962). Although

Playing with fire

Israel’s bloody attempts to eliminate Hamas in Gaza have already pushed a volatile Middle East to the brink of a wider conflagration. This week, an Israeli airstrike on the Iranian consulate in Damascus added to the risk of a region-wide conflict. Assassinated by US-supplied F-35 aircraft were brigadier-general Mohammad Reza

Not quite a marriage made in heaven

Not quite a marriage made in heaven
For Rupert, it almost certainly wasn’t love at first sight. When Donald Trump became an acquaintance, probably in New York and probably in the early 1980s, the shameless, publicity-hungry property developer was keen, like his fellow wannabe celebrities, to be covered in Murdoch’s New York Post. Trump’s business reputation was

Roaring back

Roaring back
“History has a way of roaring back into our lives,” warns Brian Knappenberger, whose latest documentary, Turning Point: the Bomb and the Cold War, is screening on Netflix. Tracking through ninety years of geopolitical upheaval from the rise of Stalin and Hitler to Putin’s invasion of Ukraine, the nine episodes

The father of “soft power”

The father of “soft power”
The politicians and soldiers do the work but the thinkers give the world the language and concepts to understand power: Machiavelli wrestles Marx while Clausewitz argues theory with Sun Tzu and Thucydides. In this small group, Jesus matters but so does Caesar. A modern addition to the pantheon is a