It was just another day in Australia’s arms race. In January, as the Omicron variant swept across Australia, infecting hundreds of thousands and placing hospital systems in NSW and Victoria under unprecedented strain, Defence Minister Peter Dutton announced a multi-billion dollar arms deal with the United States. Australia would be buying more than 100 M1A2 Abrams tanks from the United States, plus some whizz-bang bulldozers. The cost? $3.5 billion. Not bad in the middle of a pandemic. Wags on social media made jokes about whether they came with rapid antigen tests. The tank purchase is just the latest in a […]
At first it was catching COVID that scared me. But now, it’s how quickly everything has collapsed. Apparently, some part of me still believed that here in Australia, when it came down to it, governments would step in and protect us. All the evidence is against this belief, of course, but sometimes we hang on to irrational ideas just so we can get on with our day. Right now, I’m letting go of that belief. Because today we’re faced with a situation where an already existing, cheap-to-produce, simple-to-distribute technology that we need to keep us safe and which it was […]
At the end of yet another year in which the State of Israel has continued to entrench its settler-colonial, apartheid regime over the Palestinian people, Palestinian activists and artists are confronting yet another egregious example of the violent and dehumanising politics of ‘progressive except for Palestine.’ Sydney Festival, one of Australia’s most established and iconic annual cultural celebrations, has refused calls by Palestinian artists, activists and their supporters to divest from the Festival’s ‘Star Partner’ sponsorship with the Israeli Embassy in Canberra. This sponsorship is being used to support a Sydney Dance Company production of Decadence in the Festival program […]
I’m going to call it: 2022 is shaping up to be one of the most interesting federal elections since 1903. We know what’s going on in our national life as this dreadful pandemic year draws to a close, but what was so special about 1903? History buffs will recall that the Commonwealth Franchise Act was passed in 1902, a year after Australia became the world’s newest nation. That Act made Australia the world’s most democratic nation. With the stroke of a pen, 800,000 new electors—women!—were added to the roll. This was earth-shattering news and it was reported across the globe. […]
The biggest difference between Australian Aboriginal people and non-Aboriginal people is their relation to capital. The land, the spirit and the economy were, and are, one entity for Aboriginal people. She is called Mother Earth. We believe that we come from Mother Earth and will return there and so our relationship with each other and all matter on the Earth is that we are related through the reality that we have and will keep sharing our atoms with all generations of plants, animals and earth.
I first saw him in the port of Chongqing, in a navy-blue overcoat, hurrying on the wharf towards the Yangtze River ferry. He held a valise in one hand and clutched a book to his chest with the other. I stood by the rails on the upper deck and watched until he vanished in the melee of passengers crossing the gangway.
Outside my kitchen window, beyond the chicken-wire fence, two ravens hopped about under a lightning-struck eucalyptus tree, circling one another with blackened twigs jutting out of their beaks like they were children playing at swords. In Norse mythology, Odin, king of the gods, would send a pair of ravens to Earth, their names Huginn (thought) and Muninn (memory), here to spy on us humans and report back.
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