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Sydney Morning Herald, print and online

How would Australia deal with President Trump?

  • Blog, SMH

Somewhere in Canberra, in a bunker that requires a retina scan for entry and is swept hourly for bugs, experts from the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, the Australian Defence Force and the Advanced Hair Studio are undoubtedly war-gaming a scenario that was once unthinkable, but is now looking increasingly likely: President Trump.

Once best known for fake-sacking fake employees and writing his name on garish buildings, the billionaire’s candidacy has gone from enacting a joke from The Simpsons to becoming the Republican frontrunner, while remaining no less amusing.Read More »How would Australia deal with President Trump?

Is it too hard to be prime minister in 2016?

In the future, Andy Warhol said, everyone will be world-famous for 15 minutes. In Australia’s future, everyone will be prime minister for 15 minutes, before being brutally rolled.

We’ve had five prime minsters since John Howard powerwalked away after 11 years, and not one has served a full term. Our political system’s become as volatile as Kanye West on Twitter.

Voters are realising they rejected Labor’s musical chairs only to sign up for the Coalition version. Polls recently hit fifty-fifty and the PM is running against both the Opposition leader and his predecessor, who’s been dubbed “Tony Rudd“.Read More »Is it too hard to be prime minister in 2016?

Sydney is too expensive for young people to take a risk on a good idea

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The world is full of bright young people building spiffy websites and nifty apps. They’re skipping the stability of traditional employment to code in cafes and co-working spaces. But they’re probably not doing it in Sydney.

World Economic Forum research found that young Australians were poorly prepared for the digital economy, and faced intense labour market uncertainty. Fewer young people want to work for a start-up than in any other country surveyed – a mere 3.8 per cent.

Who can blame them for choosing a nice, safe bank job in expensive, uncertain Sydney? Starting a business can mean years of earning almost nothing, and just surviving in this city is fiendishly expensive, let alone funding a house big enough for kids.Read More »Sydney is too expensive for young people to take a risk on a good idea

You can’t have edgy comedy without occasionally going over the edge

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Ricky Gervais returned as host of the Golden Globes this week, and as sure as night follows day and regret follows the purchase of a hoverboard, his routine sparked off yet another chorus of controversy.

The comic himself predicted it, tweeting “Better get dressed and offend some humourless c—s, I suppose” before the ceremony even began. Whether or not you agree with his characterisation of the many people who took exception, Gervais certainly achieved his objective from the first moment he took to the stage, nursing a beer as a palpable symbol of his disdain for the audience and the gig.

The indifference was an affectation, of course, because if there’s one thing that matters to Gervais even more than his forthcoming David Brent movie, it’s his reputation as a stand-up comic.

Read More »You can’t have edgy comedy without occasionally going over the edge

Forget Chris Gayle – let’s talk about Meg Lanning

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Like Chris Gayle, Meg Lanning is a cricket superstar who can win a game single-handedly. Like Gayle, she averages more than a run a ball in Twenty20 internationals, and regularly smashes bowlers all over the ground with the carefree panache of Shane Warne on Tinder.

Unlike Gayle, though, Lanning is not serially sleazy towards female journalists. And if her bedroom has a mirrored ceiling, she’s not known for posting boastful photos of it on Instagram, a site upon which she has not chosen to nickname herself “UNIVERSE-BOSS”.Read More »Forget Chris Gayle – let’s talk about Meg Lanning

This year of sequels does not bear repeating

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The 2015 that Marty McFly visited in Back to the Future II was only partly like the year we’ve just lived through. We haven’t got flying cars or self-drying jackets, and let’s not say a word about hoverboards, especially to Russell Crowe.

That holographic shark that loomed at our hero to promote Jaws 19, however, was spot on. Because 2015 was truly the Year of the Sequel.

This year, it felt like most movie franchises with an admirable legacy jeopardised them with another instalment. The machine was as unrelenting as anything in Terminator Genisys, and also gave us a new Avengers, Fast and the Furious, Jurassic Park, Hunger Games, Mission Impossible, Bond and even Mad Max.Read More »This year of sequels does not bear repeating

Are we all Charlie, really?

The team that produced Charlie Hebdo were exceptionally irreverent, frequently hilarious, and relentless in their attacks on France’s most powerful institutions. But most of all, they were brave.

When Denmark’s Jyllands-Posten published cartoons mocking the Prophet Muhammad which were met with a wave of violence, Charlie not only republished them, but added its own. And when their Paris office was firebombed in 2011, presumably in response to their special “Charia Hebdo” edition, their response was to depict a Muslim man kissing a male cartoonist with the caption “Love is stronger than hate”. They employed bodyguards, but their humour remained as unguarded as ever.Read More »Are we all Charlie, really?