Further information

The New Critic is the on-line journal of the Institute of Advanced Studies.

It aims to present discussion and debate and opinion about matters of interest to us within the University and beyond - the time for an ideas exchange is now.

To subscribe email us at: thenewcritic@uwa.edu.au  with the word “subscribe” in the subject field. Subscription is free.

The Four Pillars

Alex Mitchell
The ‘Four Pillars’ policy has achieved almost cargo cult status among politicians of all persuasions, business commentators and academics. It is carried shoulder-high amid chanting about the sanctity and integrity of Aussie banking. The reality is that the Four Pillars policy provides government protection for the organised kleptocracy of the major banks: the Commonwealth, ANZ, Westpac and NAB.

Smash the Draft!’ and other tales: a snapshot of student activism at The University of Western Australia, 1969-1971

Alexis Vassiley
Where social revolt is acknowledged, it is often stated to have bypassed Australia. When some grudging acknowledgment is given that ‘it’ happened in Australia too, attention is confined to the Eastern States campuses. Students at UWA never openly collected money for the National Liberation Front, or blockaded University Council meetings in their thousands, as, for example, did their Monash counterparts. Indeed, UWA was considered a conservative campus in the eyes of the radicals of the time.

Revisiting the Trial of Martha Rendell

Anna Haebich
There are several valid reasons for revisiting the trial of Martha Rendell in Perth over 100 years ago. There is the fascination of a sensational crime involving multiple child murders by a stepmother whose alleged evil deeds inflamed Perth’s citizens and drove the inevitable guilty verdict and hanging that followed. There are the tantalising stories of hidden private lives and intimacies in Perth of a by-gone era exposed by this jolting, disjuncture in the social fabric of the city. Then there are the niggling doubts that have trickled down the century concerning the justice of the trial.

Values and Evaluations: Reading for beauty in John Lindley’s A Sketch of the Vegetation of the Swan River Colony (1839-40)

John Ryan
Why were certain Southwest Australian plants privileged as beautiful, whilst others were considered of no consequence in the aesthetic imagination of colonial European botanists, settlers and visitors? A response to this rather complex question is prompted by a reading of the first substantial published European account of the flora of Western Australia, John Lindley’s A Sketch of the Vegetation of the Swan River Colony.

Valedictory Speech 2010

Jess Panegyres
The motto of this university is Seek Wisdom. ‘Not’ as UWA History Professor Richard Bosworth points out, ‘seek profit or a job or a career or cleverness or a lifestyle’. Why seek wisdom? Because that’s how humanity is improved.

Review - The Whites of Their Eyes: The Tea Party’s Revolution and the Battle of American History

Andrew Broertjes
The Tea Party of 2009-2010 presented itself as an apolitical grass roots movement, concerned about taxation and government, and one that drew upon the vision of the Founding Fathers to try and restore what was right in the United States. Flaws emerged almost immediately in this picture. Poll after poll found that the Tea Party protestors were almost exclusively white, middle-class and Republican.

“The most urgent fight of our lives”: A review of Screw Light Bulbs: Smarter Ways to Save Australians Time and Money

David Hodgkinson
One never gets the sense from Green and Minchin that civilisation is at stake or even that an urgent fight has to be waged. One does get a pretty good idea of smarter ways to save time and money. Maybe that’s enough. But if we are on the verge of a sixth mass extinction … maybe not.