The Dark Side Of The Cup

The Melbourne Cup, oft described as the race that stops a nation, may be something of a cultural cliche, but with a heritage dating back over 150 years it’s also a tradition. It is an iconic part of Australian society and now a focal point of racing internationally. Think of the Melbourne Cup and you no…

The Price: Resolving Mr Fluffy

  One billion dollars… that is the price. The price upfront of resolving in the ACT at least, the scourge of loose-fill asbestos insulation that has persisted for five decades. The ACT Government has today announced an agreement with the Commonwealth, that will give the territory access to financing of up to $1billion. The concessional loan…

Cause and Effect: The Legacy of Mr Fluffy

  On a winter day, the roar of a motor and rushing air disturbs the cool calm of suburban Canberra. A man on the back of a truck cuts open a hessian sack and plunges his hand in, taking out a clump of loose, grey, fibrous material; dropping it into the beating metal blades of…

Toyota Makes Three: Death of an Industry

Toyota Motor Corporation has today announced that its Australian subsidiary is to cease manufacturing vehicles and engines by the end of 2017. A statement quoting the company’s president Akio Toyoda cites market competition, a strong Australian dollar and the forecast reduction in Australian automative manufacturing as key factors behind the decision. The future of Toyota’s…

Telling Our Story: History, Orthodoxy and Ideology

On an autumn day, in a church in The Rocks, an Aboriginal farmhand from the Shoalhaven married the daughter of a Yorkshireman. Such a union is hardly controversial by today’s standards, but in 1864, a time when prejudice relegated Aboriginal people to a status afforded little recognition and few rights, it was enough to attract…

The Queen’s Republic

On September 4 1939, the front pages led with news of Prime Minister Menzies’ melancholy announcement the night before, that Britain was at war and so too was Australia. Menzies’ words would attain an epochal resonance in Australian history. Yet it wasn’t until an hour after he spoke that Australia actually declared war; when Governor-General…

The Ghosts of Bush Weeks Past

Bush week is a relatively timid affair nowadays, but there was a time when it was something more. A time when it was an infamous part of Canberra’s cultural calendar, when ANU students could shut down city streets and, for better or worse, their exploits were front page news. For a time, it served as…

Higher Education Cuts: It’s Now That Counts

The headlines were stark; $2.3 billion is be stripped from higher education to help fund the Commonwealth’s school funding reforms. $900 million will be taken from universities directly via an efficiency dividend, while the remainder will come from changes to the Student Start-up Scholarship and abolition of the HECS upfront contribution discount. Student groups wasted…

Once More into the Breech

On an April afternoon in 1996, a man walked calmly into the Broad Arrow Café carrying a sports bag. He ordered a meal and sat on the deck overlooking Mason Cove; the ruins of the harsh, colonial era penitentiary opposite, reflected in the water. Nearby patrons observed the man talking to himself and appearing increasingly…

The Coalition: A Question of Strategy

There’s a question lawyers must ask, when deciding whether or not to pursue a matter… is there a reasonable prospect of success? If the weight of the argument to be made doesn’t offer that prospect, they must not proceed. To do so vexatiously; to harass and injure, would be as Lord Blackburn warned, an abuse…

Romney: The Sum of all fears?

Obama is weak and has made America timid. Obama is more a follower than a leader; a passive figure lacking clarity, lacking purpose and lacking resolve. He has deserted past and potential allies, and is guilty of allowing the Middle East to become a more dangerous region than when he took office. It’s less than…

You can’t change history when you’re the opposition

When Kevin Rudd was deposed in June 2010, two questions were at the forefront of people’s minds, how did it happen and why? Now two years later, people are still wondering. They’re wondering why time has done little to settle the ruminations about Labor’s leadership? Why despite Rudd’s failed bid to retake the leadership in…