Fraser Anning, a Senator in Australia’s federal parliament and a member of the Katter Australia Party (KAP), gave his first speech in the Upper House on Tuesday night. In it he called for what amounted to a return to the policy of White Australia, an approach to immigration that discriminates on the basis of race. He also praised the authoritarian and racist Bjelke-Petersen Government, a government that has been exposed as corrupt through a Royal Commission, and whose legacy has been rejected on an ongoing basis in nearly every election since their demise. The speech articulated such profound racism that […]
In the second year of my Arts degree at the University of Queensland, I took a critical theory course from which I remember only two details (I did not do well). The first is the lecturer gesturing towards an image of a glaring, turtlenecked Foucault and describing the philosopher as being present ‘in all his sartorial glory’. The second is a piece of wisdom delivered by my tutor, a perpetually beleaguered wild-bearded PhD candidate who, at the time, seemed sagaciously ageless but, looking back, was probably 24. Responding to a student who had asked what he liked to read, the […]
Thursday 11 October in my son’s flat in Ealing Broadway: the 10 pm BBC 1 News finally confirmed what for many years we had been waiting for: the Nobel laureate in literature (the hundredth as it turns out) was V.S. Naipaul. The news item was brief, a sentence at best, perhaps two, as matters far more important or at any rate much more immediate took up much of the news time. My eyes went moist and I said to my wife, ‘It is such a relief, I have lived with his works for so long.’ In a sense Naipaul is […]
I still remember the first time I ever saw a red-capped robin. It was in the mid-90s, and the bird was in the garden of my parents’ holiday house about 45 minutes inland from the New South Wales Far South Coast town of Bermagui. It should not have been there. Red-capped robins are inland birds: among Australia’s ‘red’ robins in the genus Petroica they fill the semi-arid niche, taking over in the inland zones from their more coastal, tree-loving cousins the scarlet robins and flame robins. On a trip to the Mallee in the north of Victoria four years ago […]
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She wakes up to the barking, again. Panic bulges. Her first thought is that it’s Monday morning already. But yellow afternoon light winks through the gaps in her blinds. Just a Sunday afternoon nap.
No rays of light sneaking long fingers across the pale skin of morning. Not at this time. Beyond the window glass the stars shone precision silver, dew casting a silvery skeen across thirsty grass. I’d lie awake in the darkness waiting to hear the cough of the Toyota bring the catch home and him with it. I’d learnt to wait for the fluorescent light to cast diamante warmth through the white double doors windowed by an earlier deco-age of artistic privacy. When opened, conversations drifted like song, bounced by high ceilings and slick laminate floors. But closed, sound muffled and […]
Today the morning rang me at 6.15
to tell me what I had done wrong
the day before
and what mistakes I must not make today.