Articles

December 22, 2007

Withering assault: campaign drudgery takes toll on Hillary

So Hillary is an old hag. Finally the Vaseline has been wiped from the camera lens and the soft-focus setting - patented by Barbara Walters - has been switched off. What's left is a 60-year- old presidential candidate looking like a weathered old wench.
December 15, 2007

‘Hug the ones you love’: the life-affirming message of death

Before little Aaron was too sick to climb out of bed, he got up one night and came slowly down the stairs. It was late and my mum and dad, and my sister and her husband, were sitting around the kitchen table talking in low voices.
December 8, 2007

Now broad horizons sees navel-gazing turn on pudgy toes

What is going on with girls and young women? What has gone so terribly wrong that female self- loathing has reached such fever pitch?
December 1, 2007

New government should make East Timor a priority

As Australia's outgoing First Lady, Janette Howard, swept into the Sofitel Wentworth Hotel in Sydney last Saturday night, another former first lady slipped past her. She skirted the media throng, the waiting hordes, the attentive reception staff, and made it into the lift undetected.
November 26, 2007

Dad’s history, but I’ll miss him

So what happens now? The working week ended on Friday in the normal, old-fashioned way. John Howard was still daddy of the nation, and Peter Costello, the ever- patient obedient son, was still heir apparent.
November 24, 2007

Nothing glorious about our nation’s vanishing political morals

“We are gloriously and instinctively Australian.'' They were words meant to strike at our heart and impassion a patriotic stirring. Or at least make us shift in our seats. But they didn't. Across the national television viewing audience, you could hear the metaphorical pin drop. Were they the wrong words? Or is no one moved by John Howard anymore? Today we will find out.
November 17, 2007

Fair go for working women at the heart of ‘mother wars’

Women are the harshest and the most unforgiving critics of other women. And the ''mother wars'' are the ugliest of battles. There are no winners, just losers - all women. Jacqui Burke should know that.
November 10, 2007

Dear Prudence, the battle for paid maternity leave is not won

Sometimes a political back-flip can be tossed off with such expert nonchalance, it passes unnoticed.
November 3, 2007

Searching for a heart Tony? Follow the yellow brick road

It's not the fact that he said ''bullshit'' that bothers me. It's how he said it. And it's what followed. The contemptuous sledging wasn't just meant to offend Nicola Roxon, it was intended to shove her in her place. Tony Abbott (That dumb cunt) may as well have called her a slag. Or a ''skanky ho'' - to borrow from another hateful handshaker and his brother in bully boy tactics, Loser Latham.
October 27, 2007

The march goes on for fairness in trials of sexual assault

If you happened to be passing through Civic early last evening you probably saw them. A couple of hundred women marching to the beat of a drum, carrying banners and sporting T-shirts claiming ''It can happen to Any Body''.
October 20, 2007

This passionless contest could use a dose of Gentleman Jeff

It was the sort of panache we came to expect from Jeff Kennett.
October 13, 2007

The time for symbolic gestures of reconciliation has passed

It's ironic really. Just when the plight of the most impoverished in our community calls for a practical response, the Prime Minister has flipped in favour of the grand symbolic gesture.
October 6, 2007

Practice of polygamy reflects badly on modern Muslim way

One of Indonesia's most famous polygamists, Puspo Wardoyo, has a sort of Boost Juice approach to sexual stamina. Mix four tropical fruits, a dribble of honey, a dash of ice, blend it fast and kapow! You're on your way to a healthy life and plenty of wives.
September 29, 2007

Burma’s Buddhist monks not simply legends in our lunchtimes

Some years ago I took a trip to Burma. The taxi ride from Rangoon's airport to my hotel passed just like many jetlagged trips might in a new Asian city. In a happy sing-song English the elderly driver plied me with the usual questions; where was I from, what was I doing here, did I want to change money, did I have a ''program'' for tomorrow, and so on.
September 22, 2007

When the hand that rocks the cradle rues the work involved

To the unnamed and distressed parents of twin girls, who are litigants in a landmark case with murky references to IVF and sexual orientation - your solution is simple. Sell the baby on eBay.
September 15, 2007

Disarming Gillard gives Handbag Hockey the Freudian slip

Joe Hockey and Team Howard appear to have an unhealthy fascination with Julia Gillard. They've got a big, fat manila folder with her name scrawled on the front. It's the dirt file, bursting with clippings and transcripts. But their real fascination is with Gillard's anatomy. And as the election draws near that fascination is hardening into a fixation, bordering on unhealthy obsession.
September 8, 2007

Defend our right to protest, but let the anarchists eat cake

Anarchy builds an appetite. Apparently. Which is perhaps why young anarchists in training were asked to ''bring a plate'' to a solidarity meeting in Sydney last year. The mission, in between cake and cookies, was to ''confront and overcome all forms of social oppression'', a heady call for a Sunday tea party.
September 1, 2007

For art’s sake, let’s stop mortal spin on Mary burqa

So now the Virgin Mary and Mother of God wears a burqa. Albeit a rather fetching short one, but a burqa nevertheless. What was the artist thinking? Well, as it turns out, quite a lot. But artist and former alter boy Luke Sullivan's passion for Our Lady of Fatima and the apparitions of 1917, have been all but drowned out by the hail of abuse.
August 25, 2007

SBS bosses wrong-footed as Mary moves to sink the slipper

Not even Dorothy's red slippers, with their three clicks to Kansas, could see Mary Kostakidis walk back into SBS. Not now.
August 18, 2007

When one man’s ambition is another woman’s evil curse

Ambition is not a bad thing. The Prime Minister said so this week. Just a day after Peter Costello awoke to local radio birthday ditties - ''he's destined to be the bridesmaid never the bride'' - John Howard was extolling the virtues of ambition in his political nemesis wannabe. ''He's an ambitious man, there's nothing wrong with ambition,'' Howard told journalists.
August 11, 2007

The tunnel vision of Kevin07 loses sight of real Australians

Federal politics has already descended into a daily orgy of public offence, and we're not even there yet. The election date remains a known unknown. And while many of us are already suffering motion sickness, the journey's end is rapidly losing its allure.
August 4, 2007

Politics of cleavage an age-old cover up: just ask Hillary

I found myself contemplating Julie Bishop's bosom the other night. She was waxing lyrical about external exams: all well and good, as you'd expect from the Education Minister. But what struck me about the Bishop bosom is that we barely see any of it. Hardly a hint of cleavage peeps out from those perfectly tailored suits.
July 28, 2007

Unmasking the Janette factor: strategist, adviser and minder

The Prime Minister is right. It's a dangerous business to ''get into a public commentary about your relationship with your wife''. So I'll have a crack at it for him.
July 21, 2007

John and Posh show how to crash-land in their own spaces

John Howard must now know a little of what it's like to be Posh Spice. And she him. Although I doubt Victoria Beckham has ever heard of John Winston.
July 14, 2007

In their efforts to be sexy, women fail to see the sexism

It was the kind of conversation you overhear accidentally, and then think twice. Perhaps about why you didn't think more thoughtfully the first time.
July 7, 2007

What I really, really want is to liberate the Girl Power message

So they’re back! The famous five are strutting the world stage again. But now the needle stick heels are higher, the breasts are larger, Posh's face is tighter, Ginger's outfit is frumpier, and the Girl Power message is, well - whatever.
June 30, 2007

Nothing ordinary about the diverse blend of average Australia

Daniel Bowen you are so dumped. We are like so over. I'm not even going to send you a text or an email. You can just work it out for yourself. You're finished.
June 23, 2007

Start grunting, girls, or we’ll keep on getting short-changed

She may be an annoying grunter, but if Maria Sharapova wins Wimbledon this year she'll have won more than a Grand Slam. She will have won herself a place in feminist history books - whether she likes it or not.
June 16, 2007

If Paris could just kick straight she would be a free woman

Why isn't Todd Carney in jail like Paris Hilton? After all, the Raiders halfback and the blond heiress have plenty in common. Although, Carney has a few up on Hilton. He's been convicted of drink driving twice. She only once. She stopped when caught driving on a suspended licence. Carney sped off.
June 9, 2007

On health, happiness and the pursuit of the Dalai Lama

A little over 10 years ago I asked the Dalai Lama if he ever got angry.
June 2, 2007

Fighter for Afghanistan’s powerless refuses to be silenced

For once - and it will only be once - I was relieved to see women fully covered in burqas. With no eyes, no face and no body, they were rendered invisible as people. No longer individuals, they instead looked like a pack of walking blue tents. And that's just as well.
May 26, 2007

Joe blow: another pretty poor effort for working women

Joe Hockey is neither pretty nor smart. The former he admits; the latter he now knows. Surely. But then if we could all just get back to being relaxed and comfortable, and those uppity women would return to being ''simply appendages of middle-aged men'', neither Hockey nor his mate Kevin Rudd would be in the hot water they are.
May 12, 2007

Goward braves the habitat of the sexist parliamentary bear

It’s pathetic really. Laughable, if it weren't so deplorable. But here it is: an overweight, balding politician sends a young, attractive, female journalist a voice message. He's panting down the phone. It goes something like this, ''I saw you at the dinner last night. I didn't come over and say hello. I just perved at you from a distance. You were the hottest thing in the room.''
May 5, 2007

It’s time to give that effing, huffing Heffernan the chop

Bill Heffernan deserves to be castrated. As least that way he'll stop wearing his 4am ''horn'' on his head.
April 28, 2007

Let’s honour Audrey by taking better care of those who live on

Throughout yesterday's tear-soaked funeral for Audrey Fagan, an unspoken question weighed heavily over the congregation at St Christopher's cathedral: Why?
April 21, 2007

A competition for celebrity status of the most evil kind

Cho Seung-Hui may have been meticulous and well organised when planning his massacre, but he certainly wasn't creative or original.
April 14, 2007

Morbid curiosity surrounds a baby bereaved by fame

What hope is there for little baby Dannielynn? She's half named after her half brother Daniel, who along with her mother is dead - thanks to lethal cocktails of anti- depressants and other drugs. Even if the little tot's middle name is Hope, her life thus far seems hopelessly void of it.
April 7, 2007

At long last he will be free to tell his story, but should we listen?

So the kangaroo skinner, terrorist wannabe Abu Muslim al-Austraili - as he was affectionately known among the terrorist set - may not be gagged after all. What a shame.
March 31, 2007

Call for caution as egg freezing boosts fertility hopes

A quiet announcement was made this week that slipped under the media radar. But perhaps that was the intention.
March 24, 2007

Strange bedfellows: the perils of Pauline’s kiss-and-tell prose

The indignity of it all - sex revealed, only to be strenuously snatched away. ''I did not have sex with that woman,'' bellowed David Oldfield this week.
March 17, 2007

Sex and the single brain: a new light on the old gender divide

A short exchange on ABC radio on Monday neatly demonstrated the point: Men have a natural pre- occupation with sex.
March 10, 2007

Gender equality button is still stuck on pause

So another International Women's Day has passed and another collective sigh of relief that we got away with it. Speeches were made, issues raised, and still we all politely managed to offend no one. Pity.
March 3, 2007

The working women who’d like to be housewives for a bit

So it’s come to this? A bunch of professional, hardworking women sitting around a table sipping champagne, eating scones, and drooling over a collective dream to be a ... housewife.
February 17, 2007

Baghdad memories of pain where prayers find little hope

I first met Omar in the Baghdad Children's Hospital, nine years ago. This frail little boy, with deep brown pools for eyes and long lashes, would be about 11 now, if he was still alive. But he's not. He's dead.
February 10, 2007

Betty’s fight for women’s rights finds brighter legal light

All Betty Dukes really wanted was to get on. It took three years, but finally, in her mid- 40s, she was promoted from cashier to CSM, or customer services manager. She was on her way or - so it seemed.
January 1, 2007

Sex and Power

When power struts in stilettos they're black and cream, sexy and high. Very high. And right now they're walking towards me, strapped to the feet of America's "most powerful and dangerous columnist", Maureen Dowd.