If 30 Australians drowned in Sydney Harbour, it would be a national tragedy. But when 30 or more refugees drown off the Australian coast, it is a political question.
My secret skill is baking bread. My mother was a farmer's daughter and still made bread every day when I was a child. She would have me knead the dough when I got home from school.
I think all novels are contemporary. When people went to see 'Antony-Cleopatra' at the Globe in the 16th century, they were not going to get a history lesson on the Roman Empire. It was about love, sex, and also about dynastic troubles.
In 1995, the Paul Keating Labor government commissioned an inquiry into the forcible removal of Aboriginal children.
Through the 1990s, the fracturing of Tasmanian Aboriginal politics was given impetus by the ongoing corruption of a number of black organisations started under federal government programmes, with large amounts of public money being lost.
I believe in the verb, not the noun - I am not a writer, but someone compelled to write.
The past is there, but life is circular. I have a strong sense of the circularity of time.
There's always been something deeply disturbing about the Abbott government's attitude to women.
We're a migrant nation made up of people who've been torn out of other worlds, and you'd think we would have some compassion.
What supposedly bound that Commonwealth together was a mysterious shared identity - Britishness.
You can spend a day in a library and feel: 'Great, I've done a day's work.' But it's only research, not writing.
Family matters, friends matter, love matters. Those you love and who love you matter. That's what writing does - it allows you to say all those things.
If you choose to take your compass from power, in the end you find only despair. But if you look around the world you can see and touch - the everyday world that is too easily dismissed as everyday - you see largeness, generosity, hope, change for the better. It's always small, but it's real.
In Tasmania, an island the size of Ireland whose primeval forests astonished 19th-century Europeans, an incomprehensible ecological tragedy is being played out.
Logging is an industry driven solely by greed. It prospers with government support and subsidies, and it is accelerating its rate of destruction, so that Tasmania is now the largest hardwood chip exporter in the world.
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