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Edition 17

Staying Alive

Staying Alive goes to the heart of the human condition and the challenges of life and death. Epidemics and war make it a geopolitical issue as well as a personal one.

Twenty million people have died from AIDS globally. Many died because its management was hijacked by those who believed it was caused by sin, not a virus.

Bill Bowtell, one of the architects of Australia’s successful HIV/AIDS policy, passionately and persuasively argues that HIV can be eradicated within three generations. With political will, the lessons of successful HIV prevention can – and must – be applied globally. As the second phase of the pandemic looms in this region, this is an urgent plea.

Wars are also urgent. Donna Mulhearn kept a diary during her time doing humanitarian work in Iraq, and describes four terrifying days caught in the crossfire in Fallujah.

Nor is heroism confined to the battlefield or the global stage: writers... Read more

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Edition 16

Unintended Consequences

Unintended Consequences explores what happens when things don’t go according to plan – politically and personally.

It examines both the unplanned triumphs and the unexpected failures, with a particular focus on indigenous relations.

Forty years after the 1967 referendum recognised the first Australians as full citizens, Noel Pearson – Australia’s most innovative and effective Aboriginal leader – breaks new ground and eloquently advocates an agenda that learns from the mistakes of the past.

Some of the best writers and thinkers in Australia go beyond simple explanations and conspiracy theories to examine how unintended consequences shape our lives and our canon of heroes.

Murray Sayle considers how journalism can turn myths into reality, as he reflects for the first time on his chance encounters with Che Guevara in Cuba and the Bolivian jungle.

This collection moves from the big issues – war, bureaucracy, epidemics, planning and media – to compelling and quirky personal tales that... Read more

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Edition 15

Divided Nation

Australians have never been richer. Or more complacent. Yet despite the good times, divisions are emerging.

The growing wealth of the past decade has not reached everyone. Pockets of entrenched disadvantage remain, even in the richest neighbourhoods.

Geography, work, race, religion, education, health and ethnicity mark the new divides.

David Burchell throws the spot light on the underlying causes of the riots that shocked Sydney.

He reveals a pattern of marginalisation shaped by history, flawed policy and personal incapacity – and finds hope in the remarkable resilience of people under enormous pressure. This challenge is echoed in the reports from around the country.

This issue provides an intimate portrait of the usually invisible fractures even in boom time Australia, with outstanding essays, reportage, memoir, poetry and fiction.

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Edition 14

The Trouble with Paradise

The paradise myth has shaped civilisations for centuries.

The quest for paradise on earth knows no bounds – repeated over and over, until it is now little more than an advertising slogan.

When Christopher Columbus first “discovered” America, it was considered a new Garden of Eden. Later it became a secular paradise in which rights and freedoms were enshrined. In this current time of terror, however, many of these rights are being questioned – there is trouble in paradise.

In Australia, freedom of expression is also under assault. In an important new essay, Frank Moorhouse considers the threat, documents the attack, explores its consequences and challenges us to respond. The freshness, originality and scope of his essay will stimulate and provoke. It is a must-read article.

Martin Amis, Chalmers Johnson, John Kinsella, Kirsty Sword Gusmão and others explore the lure of paradise and its shortcomings.

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Edition 13

The Next Big Thing

A major new essay by Creed O’Hanlon will start many arguments. He questions the real influence of the Boomers. He suggests that rather than being the social conscience of the twentieth century, they deliberately co-opted and distorted youth culture and turned it into a commodity, packaging dissent as readily as community, music or fashion.

He challenges Baby Boomers to “fess up” to their own greed and caution, acknowledge the role of the Silent Generation and prepare for big changes.

The Next Big Thing is the result of a call for new and emerging writers to describe the world as they see it and live it now.

The voices are fresh and exciting, the insights challenging and moving, the writing outstanding.

This edition celebrates some of the best new talent in Australia. It is witty, insightful and provocative.

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Edition 12

Hot Air

Extreme weather events and battles over resources increase a sense of foreboding and highlight the urgent need to find sustainable solutions.

In a remarkable new essay, veteran journalist Murray Sayle provides a new way of thinking about the causes and consequences of climate change.

Sayle travels from the monitoring station at Cape Grim through the Tasmanian wilderness and back in time to the Dutch Republic, the creation of capitalism and the origins of the hydrocarbon civilisation.

He puts the problem we now face in sharp focus: how to sustain a globally expanding population with finite resources.

Hot Air showcases the key flashpoints in this global debate with erudite essays, insightful analysis and personal reflection. It will challenge the way you think about what is happening and what can be done.

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Edition 11

Getting Smart

The battle over ideas in education is intense and seemingly never-ending.

Debates over government policy, private and public schools, universities, values, disadvantage, curriculum, funding, regulation, teaching, innovation and achievement are more impassioned than ever.

A lot is at stake in getting education right – especially for the next generation. It touches us all.

Education has long been central to creating opportunity and social equity – but the evidence suggests it may not be working as well as it should. The level of dissatisfaction is high and so are the stakes, but there are also remarkable success stories.

Getting Smart explores these issues and debates, proposes new ways of thinking about schools and universities and presents compelling personal tales of life-changing moments in and out of the classroom.

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Edition 10

Family Politics

The gap between the lived reality and the public image of the family is greater than ever.

Family Politics goes behind the political rhetoric about families and explores the more complicated reality.

Family remains central to our identity, health and happiness, but there are many different sorts of families and many other relationships that are like family.

Moving memoirs, revealing stories and insightful analysis delve into the small p politics of individual families and examine the political challenges that arise when family is centre stage.

The compelling writing in Family Politics resonates and challenges the idea that all happy families resemble one another.

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Edition 9

Up North

Australians have always been enchanted and threatened by the north.

Up North will change the way you think about the north of the country and the region beyond.

In major new essays and reportage it demolishes some of the most potent myths about the north, and re-evaluates our understanding of the Japanese threat during the Second World War.

This edition turns the map upside down to imagine a new integrated and reconciled future.

Moving memoirs and fiction recreate the enduring quest for the exotic as outstanding writers travel further and further north pursuing their dreams.

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Edition 8

People like Us

A decade of wedge politics has left many confused about the common ground, as they retreat into like-minded communities. This can be affirming, but fear and envy can also flourish.

This can be affirming, but fear and envy can also flourish.

Are these divisions inevitable, necessary, or desirable? Can empathy be learnt? Is a civil civic conversation possible, or are retreating into defensive ghettos?

What is the role of the arts in challenging this retreat? Is this a moral issue or an economic one, can the two be separated?

Is a new Australian ethos emerging – if so what is it?

To what extent is the political environment responsible for these divisions – or a product of them?

Writers include: Margaret Simons, Frank Moorhouse, Robyn Williams, Ann Curthoys, Julian Burnside, Marion Halligan, Carmel Bird, Matthew Condon, Merle & Sigrid Thornton, Melissa Lucashenko and many more.

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