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Witnessing at first-hand the failure of the Copenhagen Climate Conference and wondering what went wrong, Andrew Charlton realised the truth of a colleague’s words: “The world is split between those who want to save the planet and those who want to save themselves.”

In this groundbreaking essay, Charlton discusses the rift that will shape our future: progress versus planet; rich versus poor. In recent times environmentalists have argued with mounting force that the growth of human activity on our planet is unsustainable. We are, they claim, on a collision course with destiny. But, the developing world counters, environmental threats, dire as they may be, are not the only challenges we face. Indeed, these can seem a distant danger compared to the daily tragedies of life in slums and villages.

Across the globe, economists and environmentalists vie over who has the right response to climate change, population growth and food scarcity. In Australia, this battle has plunged our politics into one of its most tumultuous periods. In Man-Made World Charlton evaluates some of the proposed solutions –renewable and nuclear energy, organic and genetically modified food – and argues that our descendants will only thank us if we find a way to preserve both the natural world and human progress.

“Progress has its price. Each step of human advancement has left a footprint on the planet. Today our two defining challenges are managing climate change and eliminating global poverty. In Copenhagen we learned that these challenges are inseparable.” —Andrew Charlton, Man-Made World
In this national bestseller Robert Mane attacks the right-wing campaign against the Bringing them home report that revealed how thousands of Aborigines had been taken from their parents. What was the role of Paddy McGuinness as editor of Quadrant? How reliable was the evidence that led newspaper columnists from Piers Akerman in the Sydney Daily Telegraph to Andrew Bolt in the Melbourne Herald Sun to deny the gravity of the injustice done? In a powerful indictment of past government policies towards the Aborigines, Robert Manne has written a brilliant polemical essay which doubles as a succinct history of how Aborigines were mistreated and an exposure of the ignorance of those who want to deny that history.

'In Denial is not a book of history. It is a political intervention. By holding an influential section of the Right to account-Manne was exercising the kind of responsibility often demanded of public intellectuals.' --Raimond Gaita

'In complex intellectual conflicts, there will always be argument about whether the antagonists are committed to finding the truth or to winning the battle. This essay tells us that Robert Manne is intent on finding the truth.' --Morag Fraser

'In Denial is a work of both the head and the heart. It is carefully researched and powerfully expressed. It needs to be widely read.' --The Hon. P.J Keating, 6 April 2001

'Robert Manne has made an important contribution to the continuing debate and in doing so has helped launch a new and important venture.' --Henry Reynolds

Witnessing at first-hand the failure of the Copenhagen Climate Conference and wondering what went wrong, Andrew Charlton realised the truth of a colleague's words: "The world is split between those who want to save the planet and those who want to save themselves." In this groundbreaking essay, Charlton discusses the rift that will shape our future: progress versus planet; rich versus poor. In recent times environmentalists have argued with mounting force that the growth of human activity on our planet is unsustainable. We are, they claim, on a collision course with destiny. But, the developing world counters, environmental threats, dire as they may be, are not the only challenges we face. Indeed, these can seem a distant danger compared to the daily tragedies of life in slums and villages. Across the globe, economists and environmentalists vie over who has the right response to climate change, population growth and food scarcity. In Australia, this battle has plunged our politics into one of its most tumultuous periods. In Man-Made World Charlton evaluates some of the proposed solutions -renewable and nuclear energy, organic and genetically modified food - and argues that our descendants will only thank us if we find a way to preserve both the natural world and human progress. "Progress has its price. Each step of human advancement has left a footprint on the planet. Today our two defining challenges are managing climate change and eliminating global poverty. In Copenhagen we learned that these challenges are inseparable." -Andrew Charlton, Man-Made World About the Author: Andrew Charlton was senior economic adviser to the prime minister from 2008 to 2010. During that time he served as Australia's senior official to the G20 summits and the prime minister's representative to the Copenhagen Climate Conference. He previously worked for the London School of Economics, the United Nations and the Boston Consulting Group and received his doctorate in economics from Oxford University, where he studied as a Rhodes Scholar. He is the author of Ozonomics (2007) and Fair Trade for All (2005), co-written with Nobel laureate Joseph Stiglitz. This edition of Quarterly Essay also includes a piece by one of Australia's leading writers, Richard Flanagan, entitled The Australian Disease: On the decline of love and the rise of non-freedom.
With an election looming and criticism of the ALP now a national pastime, Mark Latham considers the future for Labor. The nation has changed, but can the party?

With wit and insight, Latham reveals an organisation top-heavy with factional bosses protecting their turf. At the same time Labor’s traditional working-class base has long been eroding. People who grew up in fibro shacks now live in double-storey affluence. Families once resigned to a lifetime of blue-collar work now expect their children to be well-educated professionals and entrepreneurs.

Latham explains how Labor has always succeeded as a grassroots party, and argues for reforms to clear out the apparatchiks and dead wood. Then there are the key policy challenges: what to do about the Keating economic legacy, education and poverty. Latham examines the rise of a destructive and reactionary far-right under the wing of Tony Abbott. He also makes the case that climate change is the ultimate challenge – and even opportunity – for a centre-left party.

Not Dead Yet is an essential contribution to political debate, which addresses the question: how can Labor reinvent itself and speak to a changed Australia?

“The grand old party of working-class participation has become a virtual party. In no other part of society ... could an organisation function this way and expect to survive. This is the core delusion of 21st-century democracy, that political parties can fragment and hollow out, yet still win the confidence of the people.” – Mark Latham, Not Dead Yet
On the surface, it seems the best time ever to be a woman in Australia. The prime minister, governor-general and the richest person are all female; women are at the forefront of almost every area of public life. Yet when Julia Gillard's misogyny speech ricocheted around the world, it clearly touched a nerve. Why?

In the fiftieth Quarterly Essay, Anna Goldsworthy examines life for women after the gains made by feminism. From Facebook to 50 Shades of Grey, from Girls to gonzo porn, what are young women being told about work and equality, about sex and their bodies? Why do many reject the feminist label? And why does pop culture wink at us with storylines featuring submissive women?

Unfinished Business is an original look at role models and available options in the age of social media and sexual frankness. Goldsworthy finds that progress for women has provoked a backlash from some, who wield misogyny as a weapon, whether in parliament, on talkback radio or as internet trolls. With piercing insight and sharp humour, she lays bare the dilemmas of being female today and asks how women can truly become free subjects.

'There is a charmed zone for a girl, shortly before she is ambushed by puberty. At eleven or twelve, she is usually taller than her male peers; more articulate; and more confident than she will be for years. She probably spends a lot of time in front of a screen, words and images flickering in her eyes. Facebook, Slutwalks, Lady Gaga, Girls, Mad Men, gonzo porn, Twilight, Fifty Shades of Grey. What messages are being broadcast to her, and what messages is she hearing? Are they going to make her bigger, or smaller?' Anna Goldsworthy, Unfinished Business
The leading Catholic in the nation and spiritual adviser to Tony Abbott, Cardinal George Pell has played a key role in the greatest challenge to face his church for centuries: the scandal of child sex abuse by priests.

In The Prince, David Marr investigates the man and his career: how did he rise through the ranks? What does he stand for? How does he wield his authority? How much has he shaped his church and Australia? How has he handled the scandal?

Marr reveals a cleric at ease with power and aggressive in asserting the prerogatives of the Vatican. His account of Pell’s career focuses on his response as a man, a priest, an archbishop and prince of the church to the scandal that has engulfed the Catholic world in the last thirty years. This is the story of a cleric slow to see what was happening around him; torn by the contest between his church and its victims; and slow to realise that the Catholic Church cannot, in the end, escape secular scrutiny.

The Prince is an arresting portrait of faith, loyalty and ambition, set against a backdrop of terrible suffering and an ancient institution in turmoil.

“He knows children have been wrecked. He apologises again and again. He even sees that the hostility of the press he so deplores has helped the church face the scandal. What he doesn’t get is the hostility to the church. Whatever else he believes in, Pell has profound faith in the Catholic Church. He guards it with his life. Nations come and go but the church remains.” David Marr, The Prince
Whether we’re aware of it or not, we spend much of our time in this globalised world in the act of translation. Language is a big part of it, of course, as anyone who has fumbled with a phrasebook in a foreign country will know, but behind language is something far more challenging to translate: culture. As a traveller, a mistranslation might land you a bowl of who-knows-what when you think you asked for noodles, and mistranslations in international politics can be a few steps from serious trouble. But translation is also a way of entering new and exciting worlds, and forging links that never before existed.

Linda Jaivin has been translating from Chinese for more than thirty years. While her specialty is subtitles, she has also translated song lyrics, poetry and fiction, and interpreted for ABC film crews, Chinese artists and even the English singer Billy Bragg as he gave his take on socialism to some Beijing rockers. In Found in Translation she reveals the work of the translator and considers whether different worldviews can be bridged. She pays special attention to China and the English-speaking West, Australia in particular, but also discusses French, Japanese and even the odd phrase of Maori. This is a free-ranging essay, personal and informed, about translation in its narrowest and broadest senses, and the prism – occasionally prison – of culture.

“About six years ago, President George W. Bush was delivering a speech at a G8 summit, when, made impatient by the process of translation, he interrupted his German interpreter: ‘Everybody speaks English, right?’ ...” – Linda Jaivin, Found in Translation
In the first Quarterly Essay of 2014, Paul Toohey searches for the solution our politicians have been unwilling or unable to find, and asks whether, amid the diplomatic turmoil, we’ve now missed our chance. Tony Abbott promised to stop the boats. With the help of Kevin Rudd’s “PNG solution”, he has. But at what cost?

Visiting the Indonesian departure points, Toohey tells the dramatic stories of asylum seekers heading from Java to Australia, investigates people-smuggling and witnesses the aftermath of a sinking at sea. He examines the individual policies and outcomes of the Howard, Rudd, Gillard and now Abbott governments. He also interrogates Australian attitudes to boat people, and what politicians have made of these.

This engaging, powerful essay provides the untold personal stories of those waiting to make the dangerous journey, and the long view of this fraught issue. That Sinking Feeling is an unflinching look at people at their worst and best – and most ruthless and most vulnerable – by one of Australia’s finest reporters.

“Any hope for a genuine regional solution rested with Indonesia, the final stepping stone to Australia ... Why did neither Howard, in his better times with Indonesia, or Labor, from 2007, seek a one-on-one solution with Indonesia? ‘The Indonesian Solution.’ Those words would have been the most convincing political statement any Australian government could ever deliver to Australian voters on asylum seekers.” – Paul Toohey, That Sinking Feeling

Paul Toohey is chief northern correspondent for the Australian. He won a Walkley Award for his first Quarterly Essay, Last Drinks: The Impact of the Northern Territory Intervention. He was previously a senior writer at the Bulletin and is the author of three books: God’s Little Acre, Rocky Goes West and The Killer Within. He has won the Graham Perkin journalist of the year award and a Walkley award for magazine feature writing. He lives in Darwin.
 In Dragon’s Tail, Andrew Charlton explores the supercharged rise of China and considers Australia’s future as the Chinese dragon stirs and shifts.

China’s rise has been perhaps the most significant economic event in two centuries, occurring 100 times more quickly and on a scale 1000 times larger than Britain’s Industrial Revolution. Since 2000, Australia has been an essential part of this transformation, providing the raw materials to feed China’s frantic manufacture of steel vertebrae for everything from cars and trucks to railways, apartments and office towers. China’s appetite for resources has made us richer than ever before, but it has also drained the competitiveness from many parts of our economy, leaving us vulnerable.

In Dragon’s Tail, Andrew Charlton shows that China’s growth model is now reaching its limit, and the world’s most populous economy faces a challenging transition. Whether China crashes, or crashes through, this will have dramatic implications for Australia, slowing the demand for our resources and forcing us to reassess the foundations of our wealth. Charlton looks at ways to revitalise the Australian economy and secure our prosperity in a changing world.

“Understanding China’s growth model helps explain why Australia has done so well in the twenty-first century. But it also explains why, at the same time, our economic anxiety is reaching a zenith: why Holden is leaving, why the budget is in such an apparent quagmire, why house prices are soaring, why the dollar is so volatile. China’s growth has brought us a windfall, but it is a precarious sort of prosperity.” - Andrew Charlton, Dragon’s Tail
The nation has unfinished business. After more than two centuries, can a rightful place be found for Australia’s original peoples?

Soon we will all decide if and how indigenous Australians will be recognised in the constitution. In the words of Professor Greg Craven: “We have a committed prime minister, and a committed opposition. We have a receptive electorate. There will never be a better time. We have no choice but to address the question. If constitutions deal with fundamental things, our indigenous heritage is pretty fundamental.”

In A Rightful Place, Noel Pearson shows how the idea of “race” was embedded in the constitution, and the distorting effect this has had. Now there is a chance to change it – if we can agree on a way forward. Pearson shows what constitutional recognition means, and what it could make possible: true equality and a renewed appreciation of an ancient culture. This is a wide-ranging, eloquent call for justice, an essay of remarkable power that traverses history and culture to make the case for change.

“As long as we have a constitution that characterises Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples on the basis of race, it will always have deleterious implications for their citizenship. It must be removed ... This is not just a matter of symbolism. I think this will be a matter of psychology. The day we come to regard ourselves as people with a distinct heritage, with distinct cultures and languages but not of a distinct race, will be a day of psychological liberation. And it will also be liberating for those in the wider community ...” Noel Pearson, A Rightful Place
Who is Clive Palmer, and what does his ascent say about Australia's creaking political system?

In Clivosaurus, Guy Rundle observes Palmer close up, examining his rise to prominence, his beliefs, his deals and his politics - not to mention his poetry. Rundle shows that neither the government nor the media have been able to take Palmer's measure. Convinced they face a self-interested clown, they have failed to recognise both his tactical flexibility and the consistency of his centre-right politics.

This is a story about the Gold Coast, money in politics, Canberra's detached political caste and the meaning of Palmer's motley crew. Above all, it is a brilliantly entertaining portrait of "the man at the centre of a perfect storm for Australian democracy, a captain steering his vessel artfully in the whirlpool."

In the first half of the year we saw Tony Abbott treated with deference to his values and beliefs, as his chaotic and lying government slid from one side of the ring to the other, while Clive Palmer, ploughing a steady course on a range of key issues, was treated as the inconstant one. No wonder no one could tell what he was going to do next - they weren't even bothering to look at where he had come from. --Guy Rundle, Clivosaurus

Guy Rundle is the author of the Quarterly Essay The Opportunist: John Howard and the Triumph of Reaction. He as a co-founding editor of Arena, a magazine of political and social comment. Formerly a theatre critic for the Age, he has written and produced a number of TV programs and stage shows, and contributes regularly to the Age, the Australian, the Sydney Morning Herald and Spiked, and is currently Crikey's global correspondent-at-large.
In the third Quarterly Essay, Guy Rundle comes to grips with John Howard, the prime minister who, on the eve of an election, seems to have turned round his political fortunes by spurning refugees and writing blank cheques for America's War on Terror.

This is a brilliant account of John Howard's dominant ideas, his concerted 'dreaming' with its emphasis on unity and national identity that reveals him to be the most reactionary PM we have ever had, the only political leader who would allow ideas like those of One Nation to dominate the mainstream of Australian politics in order to improve his political chances. Rundle puts Howard in the context of the economic liberalism he shares with his colleagues and opponents and the conservative social ideology that sets him apart. It is a complex portrait in a radical mirror which relates John Howard to everything from Menzies's 'forgotten people' to the inadvertent glamour of the government's antidrug advertising. It is also a plea for right-thinking people of every political persuasion to resist the call to prejudice and reaction.

'A portrait of a political opportunist who is also ... a sincere reactionary: putting back the clock because he believes in it, but also fanning the whirlwind of unreason in order to save his political skin.' —Peter Craven, Introduction

'The coincident occurrence of the asylum seeker confrontation and the attack on the U.S. has made visible the most dangerous and damaging thing he has done to the Australian polity...and that is to deepen contempt for such protection as we did have from unbridled executive power, mass hysteria, the rush to surrender our freedoms and offer them up on the alter of crisis.' —Guy Rundle, The Opportunist
In the fourth Quarterly Essay Don Watson takes an analytical look at the ways in which the Australian imagination has always been dominated by America. Why are they so much better than we are? Even when it comes to producing books like the Updike "Rabbit" sequence that tell us what we are like? Why are they also a land of executioners who have nevertheless created the least bad empire the world has seen? Can we really expect to be deputies to America? And what about our own sacred story (the progressive one) that we have sold for the sake of the Americanisation of our own society? If we can't have a friendly independent relationship with America, why don't we go the whole hog and join them? In a dark, brooding, moody essay, Don Watson plays on the paradoxes of Australia's feeling about America and offers a scathing view of an Australian culture that is asking to be engulfed by its great and powerful friend because the mental process is already so advanced. This is a brilliant meditation round a set of paradoxes that are central to our long-term anxieties and hopes.

"... this is a Quarterly Essay that plays on our most fundamental fears, including the most terrifying of all, that we shall cease to exist because we have never been." Peter Craven, Introduction

"The Australian story does not work anymore, or not well enough ... to hang the modern story on ... The most useful thing is to recognise that ... we took the biggest step we have ever taken towards the American social model. And this has profound implications for how we think of Australia and how we make it cohere." Don Watson, Rabbit Syndrome
In the second Quarterly Essay of 2002, John Button looks at what has gone wrong with the Labor Party. What has happened to the faith of the True Believers and why is the ALP so bad at recruiting new members? He offers a tough-minded analysis of what went wrong in the last election and asks why the Labor Party has turned its back on its destiny as a party of reform.

Here is a very cool account of the factions which seem to stand for nothing but their own power bases, and the unions who both give and get little from the ALP. In a withering analysis, John Button looks at the quality of Labor members and the short-sightedness of a party turning its back on ideas. This is an essay by a man who still believes in Chifley's light on the hill but who thinks the only hope lies with New Believers.

"Beyond Belief represents one of the coolest and most disheartening accounts of a great political party this country has seen. This is the Australian Labor Party seen from the perspective of an elder statesman who has an absolute belief ... in the moral superiority of the Labor cause but who seriously doubts whether the ALP will ever achieve government again and who distinctly implies that in its present state it is not fit for it." —Peter Craven, Introduction

"After the election debacle some people blamed the Tampa and September 11. But the simple fact is that the ALP had not built an adequate policy profile or built up sufficient enthusiasm and respect for its style of politics. Without these, it had no hope of differentiating its position on refugees and asylum seekers from the government's when this became the key issue of the election." —John Button, Beyond Belief
In the fourth Quarterly Essay of 2005, John Birmingham ponders the Australian way of war. After East Timor and Bali, a combination of primal fear and primal ambition has transformed attitudes to our region, to security and to war as an instrument of politics. Australian defence policy has become more assertive and our armed forces are being radically restructured and hardened. Australia now has the capacity, and even the will, to act as a military power in its region. A Time for War begins with a gripping account of Operation Anaconda, the 2002 battle in Afghanistan to which Australian special forces made a crucial contribution. Birmingham also looks at our war dreaming: the sanctification of Anzac Day and the eclipse of the Vietnam Syndrome. Ranging from Sir John Monash to Peter Cosgrove, from Rudyard Kipling to The One Day of the Year, he finds that our armed forces can now do no wrong, and that politicians have taken note. The new militarism is not simply a response to September 11, he argues - it marks a deeper shift in the culture.

"It being an RSL, we would stand each night at six o'clock for the prayer of remembrance. It was always a moving occasion, a strange suspended moment when the pokies and racing channel, the piped music and the drunken bullshitting all fell away ... Friends from overseas who witnessed the quiet ceremony never failed to be impressed. One, a poet from Czechoslovakia, had always thought Australians to be a shallow, soulless, materialistic people, but she changed her mind after her first experience of the ode to the fallen among the half-empty schooners and chip packets." —John Birmingham, A Time For War
After many thousands of years, the nomads are disappearing, swept away by modernity. Robyn Davidson has spent a good part of her life with nomadic cultures - in Australia, north-west India, Tibet and the Indian Himalayas - and she herself calls three countries home. In the last Quarterly Essay for 2006, she draws on her unique experience to delineate a vanishing way of life.

In a time of environmental peril, Davidson argues that the nomadic way with nature offers valuable lessons. Cosmologies such as the Aboriginal Dreaming encode irreplaceable knowledge of the natural world, and nomadic cultures emphasise qualities of tolerance, adaptability and human interconnectedness. She also explores a notable paradox: that even as classical nomadism is disappearing, hypermobility has become the hallmark of modern life. For the privileged, there is an almost unrestricted freedom of movement and an ever-growing culture of transience and virtuality. No Fixed Address is a fascinating and moving essay, part lament, part evocation and part exhilarating speculative journey.

"I watched him out of the corner of my eye. A man unused to sitting still, restless hands, darting eyes. Looking for water, feed, camping places, villages for food and medicine, thinking '... when will the cotton here be harvested, should we risk that jungle area ...' - calculating, observing, comparing, deducing, holding massive amounts of information in the head, juggling it around - the paradigm of human intelligence. This was what nomadism required - resilience, resourcefulness, versatility, flexibility." —Robyn Davidson, No Fixed Address
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