On the morning of 11 August 1993, my partner and I took a train and then a bus from Milan, where we lived, to Courmayeur, an alpine town near the French border. We didn’t book any accommodation, but headed with our blankets a little way up Mont Blanc, in search of an open space protected from the lights of the city.
Four years ago, the federal government embarked on an expensive branding and education campaign to convince Aboriginal people and broader Australian society that we should be given formal ‘recognition’ in the constitution. No wording was formalised and the process remained vague at best, and many Aboriginal communities remained sceptical of a proposal regarded as nothing more than a symbolic gesture.
To talk about the future, you have to first imagine there is one. This is a lesson learnt by some of the more intuitive among us – the fiction writer, say, who looks at the state of the world and traces the contours of a future path that is only, just now, a distant possibility. It’s a path carved from the imagination, but with both feet firmly planted in the present. Jump forward 50, 100, 1000 years, and in the writer’s imagination you will find our planet’s destruction, or maybe its future hope.
Euthanasia remains a polarising topic. It garners popular support, incites expert opposition and sparks heated water-cooler discussions in offices around the country. Why? Because death is the one issue that affects everyone.
Euthanasia is illegal in Australia (with the recent exception of Victoria). While it’s not a crime to take your own life, it’s a crime to assist in the act. For a brief period, the Northern Territory’s Rights of the Terminally Ill Act 1995 permitted assisted dying – the first law in the world to do so – but was later voided by the Euthanasia Laws Act 1997, a move by the federal parliament to bring the matter back under its jurisdiction.
Look, it hasn’t been a great year for women artists. But let’s be frank: it very rarely is.
In January, the Australian Book Review launched its inaugural Gender Fellowship, which asked a writer to produce an article on gender in contemporary Australian letters, only to later decide that none of the applicants had met the criteria ‘in sufficiently new or compelling ways’. Leaving aside ABR’s poor judgement in launching a gender fellowship dictating recipients must write about gender issues, the magazine then announced that the initial applicants weren’t good enough on International Women’s Day.