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Edition 20

Cities on the Edge

For the first time in history most people in the world now live in cities. This is an enormous change of profound importance.

The sheer pressure of numbers will test the old adage, that cities are the heart of civilisation. Many already teeter on the brink of chaos.

Climate change is the great new challenge confronting cities and the billions of people who live in them.

The lead essay by outstanding urban planner Brendan Gleeson examines this and other stress points and suggests solutions to make cities better places to live and work. His expansive essay sets the big agenda for a new generation of thinking about the increasingly complex nexus with Nature. Making cities more liveable, more sustainable and more fun is one of the great new global tasks.

The human, cultural and environmental implications of the global drift to cities are evoked in moving essays by outstanding writers including... Read more

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Edition 19

Re-imagining Australia

Australia is a product of political imagination. The boldness of the vision that turned a continent into a nation was remarkable. It was not without fault, but it was a big idea – pragmatic, progressive and bristling with possibility.

It is now time to re-imagine Australia again, to learn from the past and imagine a future for a new century.

Leading legal activist George Williams declares the system of government has passed its used-by date with antiquated rules of democracy that limit involvement. He proposes a way to repair this and build on the traditions of the past to solve the blame game that paralyses change in Australia. This is a compelling, once-in-a-generation opportunity.

Re-imagining Australia is not a political wish list. It paints the big picture of how the nation evolved and where it might go. It is optimistic and tough minded – personal, political and unpredictable.

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Edition 18

In the Neighbourhood

In the Neighbourhood explores Australia’s increasingly close connections with Asia from business, trade and education to migration.

But public debate and understanding of what this may mean, has not kept pace. The rapid changes in the region will shape the Pacific Century. This demands tough new thinking. Location provides both opportunities and challenges.

Michael Wesley argues in a provocative essay that history has not ended, but the future will be shaped by a resurgence of the world’s oldest civilisations.

Australian engagement is crucial. This goes beyond business and security to questions of identity, belonging and culture. When Kevin Rudd spoke in Mandarin at the APEC forum, he suggested Australia could play a new and important role in regional geo-politics, on its own terms.

In the Neighbourhood presents a rich tapestry of the diversity of the region – a mosaic of cultural and social interaction that touches the heart. Writers with deep knowledge take us... Read more

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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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Griffith Review