Flat White

In-depth analysis of the day's news, plus stories and gossip from Australian politics

Morality drones

18 Feb 2018, 11:11am

Barnaby must go

14 Feb 2018, 8:48am

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Darwin’s puppets

When I was young, like many teenagers, I considered science dull. At a Passover dinner one year, I declared this…

When will they ever learn?

One January morning in 1800, a mysterious being emerged from the woods near Aveyron in France. The size of a…

17 Feb 2018

Is time running out for Western civilisation?

‘What is civilisation? I don’t know. I can’t define it in abstract terms yet, but I think I can recognise…

17 Feb 2018

Eyeballing DFAT

The problem with our foreign affairs bureaucracy isn’t just the consistent political correctness and suspicion of the Coalition. Much time…

17 Feb 2018

Harvey Weinstein Syndrome

As with most popular movements, what starts from good intentions frequently spirals out of control – or beyond what its…

17 Feb 2018

Autocues for the clueless

Was anyone really surprised when the factional warlords and powerbrokers in the key NSW division of the Liberal party so…

17 Feb 2018

Burdens of proof and blatant bias

The non-lawyer readers of this fine publication may not be aware of a key premise (really it is a trade-off…

10 Feb 2018

Abusing the Holocaust

This year’s commemoration of International Holocaust Remembrance Day, on the anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz, was at once illuminated…

10 Feb 2018

Paula and Helen Thomson in Top Girls

Caryl Churchill is getting on a bit; I know because she was born just two days after me. She is…

17 Feb 2018

Railways and the Raj

Many of our acquaintances now rarely watch 7.30, partly out of irritation with the succession of whingers and trade union…

10 Feb 2018

Morning Star, 2017

President Macron is lending the Bayeux Tapestry for exhibition in the British Museum; the medieval tapestry masterpiece The Lady and…

3 Feb 2018

Portrait of William Manning c.1821

The great museums and galleries in Australia do more than acquire, maintain and display their collections; they are also centres…

27 Jan 2018

Taki: My #MeToo moment

#MeToo! It happened right here, in Gstaad, last week. A man in his mid-fifties, about six foot tall and 165lb,…

17 Feb 2018

Even the BBC’s recipes are politically correct

I’m cooking almost full-time for my poor old Mum and learning on the job: shepherd’s pie, roast pork, cauliflower cheese.…

17 Feb 2018

I’ve faked my own iPhone death

After much thought, I am toying with the idea of faking my own death. I mean in a virtual sense,…

17 Feb 2018

What makes a champion jockey

Write a few books and you have to listen politely at parties as people who have never opened yours tell…

17 Feb 2018

Hitler’s charm offensive at the Berlin Olympics was a sinister cover for his main offensive

The British diplomat Robert Vansittart had been warning against Nazism for years, so it was a surprise when he and…

17 Feb 2018

The best way to escape my abusive family was to write novels

Early on in Amy Tan’s 1989 bestseller, The Joy Luck Club, a Chinese concubine slices a chunk of flesh from…

17 Feb 2018

César Aira returns to the evocative small-town landscape of his youth

The publication of César Aira’s The Lime Tree in Chris Andrews’s assured translation is a reminder that much of the…

17 Feb 2018

Why do people risk their lives to fight for a foreign cause?

What’s the point of a cover if not to judge a book by? One look at the image on the…

17 Feb 2018

Kafa, the birthplace of coffee, was a kingdom straight out of Rider Haggard

For many of us, coffee is the lift that eases the load of our working day. Yet the sharpened mental…

17 Feb 2018

It’s not a wave’s crest, but its translucent interior that surfers dream of

Surfing has come of age. Like rock and roll, it was once strictly for young people, edgy and alternative and…

17 Feb 2018

How Lucky Lucan begged me for money shortly before mistakenly murdering the nanny

A Moment in Time reminded me of the sort of British expatriate women I used to meet in the south…

17 Feb 2018

A century of Ethiopia’s turbulent history, seen through the life of one woman

Yetemegn was barely eight years old when her parents married her off to a man in his thirties. Before she…

17 Feb 2018

Despite her inability to talk or swallow, Genevieve Fox brims with joie de vivre

A good, solid life-threatening illness can be the making of a writer. This has certainly been the case for Genevieve…

17 Feb 2018

Churchill was all in favour of a united Europe — as long as it didn’t include Britain

Dr Felix Klos is an extremely personable, highly intelligent American-Dutch historian who has undertaken much archival research, worked extremely hard…

17 Feb 2018

Mary Whitehouse’s publishers also produced Gang Girls, The Degenerates and Bikers at War

The year 1971 was a busy one for Mary Whitehouse, self-appointed ‘Clean-up TV’ campaigner. Not only did she help establish…

17 Feb 2018

The more outrageous sf fantasies give way to soft dystopias

Science fiction, as any enthusiast will tell you, is not just about gazing into the future but also about illuminating…

17 Feb 2018