Quarterly Essays

America is fading, and China will soon be the dominant power in our region. What does this mean for Australia’s future?

In this controversial and urgent essay, Hugh White shows that the contest between America and China is classic power politics of the harshest kind. He argues that we are heading for an unprecedented future, one without an English-speaking great and powerful friend to keep us secure and protect our interests.

White sketches what the new Asia will look like, and how China could use its power. He also examines what has happened to the United States globally, under both Barack Obama and Donald Trump – a series of setbacks which Trump’s bluster on North Korea cannot disguise.

White notes that we have got into the habit of seeing the world through Washington’s eyes, and argues that unless this changes, we will fail to navigate the biggest shift in Australia’s international circumstances since European settlement. The signs of failure are already clear, as we risk sliding straight from complacency to panic.

“For almost a decade now, the world’s two most powerful countries have been competing. America has been trying to remain East Asia’s primary power, and China has been trying to replace it. How the contest will proceed – whether peacefully or violently, quickly or slowly – is still uncertain, but the most likely outcome is now becoming clear. America will lose, and China will win.” —Hugh White, Without America

Quarterly Essay is an Australianperiodical that straddles the border between magazines and non-fiction books. Printed in a book-like page size and using a single-column format, each issue features a single extended essay of at least 20,000 words, with an introduction by the editor, and correspondence relating to essays in previous issues. It was founded in 2001.

Concentrating primarily on Australian politics in a broad sense, the magazine's issues have covered topics including profiles of Mark Latham, to the U.S. military's failure to grasp the importance of tribal affiliation in Iraq, and the "cult" of the CEO. Its small circulation of a few thousand copies belies the impact it has had, with many ideas in a number of essays impacting the wider public debates on those issues through their repetition in more widely circulated media.

Founding editor Peter Craven was sacked by the magazine's owner, property developer Morry Schwartz, in early 2004 over a dispute about the joint authorship of one essay, and, more widely, the magazine's future direction. Schwartz stated that while he had a vision of the magazine as more "political and Australian" whereas Craven was perhaps "more broad and internationalist".[1]

List of Quarterly Essay editions[edit]

1. Robert Manne – "In Denial – The Stolen Generations and the Right"

2. John Birmingham – "Appeasing Jakarta: Australia's complicity in the East Timor tragedy"

3. Guy Rundle – "The Opportunist: John Howard and the Triumph of Reaction"

4. Don Watson – "Rabbit syndrome: Australia and America"

5. Mungo MacCallum – "Girt by Sea: Australia, the Refugees and the Politics of Fear"

6. John Button – "Beyond belief: what future for Labor?"

7. John Martinkus – "Paradise Betrayed – West Papua's Struggle for Independence"

8. Amanda Lohrey – "Groundswell – The Rise of the Greens"

9. Tim Flannery – "Beautiful Lies – Population & Environment in Australia"

  • Review – by Sue Bond, API Network [2]

10. Gideon Haigh – "Bad Company – The cult of the CEO"

11. Germaine Greer – "Whitefella Jump Up – The Shortest Way to Nationhood"

12. David Malouf – "Made in England – Australia's British Inheritance"

13. Robert Manne with David Corlett – "Sending Them Home – Refugees and the New Politics of Indifference."

14. Paul McGeough – "Mission Impossible – The Sheikhs, the US and the future of Iraq"

15. Margaret Simons – "Latham's World – The New Politics of the Outsiders"

16. Raimond Gaita – "Breach of Trust – Truth, Morality and Politics"

  • Review – Quarterly Essay 16: Matilda by larrikin [5]

17. John Hirst – "Kangaroo Court – Family Law in Australia"

18. Gail Bell – "The Worried Well – The Depression Epidemic and the Medicalisation of Our Sorrows"

19. Judith Brett – "Relaxed and Comfortable – The Liberal Party's Australia"

20. John Birmingham – "A Time for War: Australia as a Military Power"

21. Clive Hamilton – "What's Left? The Death of Social Democracy"

22. Amanda Lohrey – "Voting for Jesus – Christianity and Politics in Australia"

23. Inga Clendinnen – "The History Question – Who Owns The Past?"

24. Robyn Davidson – "No Fixed Address – Nomads and the Fate of the Planet"

  • Review by Arthur Lucas, University of East Anglia[12]

25. Peter Hartcher – "How To Win The 2007 Election"

26. David Marr – "His Master's Voice – The Corruption of Public Debate under Howard "

27. Ian Lowe – "Reaction Time – Climate Change and the Nuclear Option"

28. Judith Brett – "Exit Right – The Unravelling of John Howard"

29. Anne Manne – "Love and Money: The Family and the Free Market"

30. Paul Toohey – "Last Drinks: The Impact of the Northern Territory Intervention"

31. Tim Flannery – "Now or Never – A Sustainable Future for Australia?"

32. Kate Jennings – "American Revolution: The Fall of Wall Street and the Rise of Barack Obama".

33. Guy Pearse – "Quarry Vision: Coal, Climate Change and the End of the Resources Boom"

34. Annabel Crabb – "Stop At Nothing: The Life and Adventures of Malcolm Turnbull" (June 2009).

35. Noel Pearson – "Radical Hope: Education and Equality in Australia"

36. Mungo MacCallum – "Australian Story: Kevin Rudd and the Lucky Country"

37. Waleed Aly – "What's Right? The Future of Conservatism in Australia" (2010)

38. David Marr – Power Trip: The Political Journey of Kevin Rudd, June 2010[15][16]

39. Hugh White – "Power Shift: Australia's Future between Washington and Beijing" (2010)

40. George Megalogenis – "Trivial Pursuit: Leadership and the End of the Reform Era" (2010)

41. David Malouf – "The Happy Life: The Search for Contentment in the Modern World" (2011)

42. Judith Brett – "Fair Share: Country and City in Australia" (2011)

43. Robert Manne – "Bad News: Murdoch's Australian and the Shaping of the Nation" (2011)

44. Andrew Charlton – "Man-Made World: Choosing between progress and planet" (2011)

45. Anna Krien – "Us & Them: On the Importance of Animals" (2012)

46. Laura Tingle – "Great Expectations: Government, Entitlement and an Angry Nation" (2012)

47. David Marr – "Political Animal: The Making of Tony Abbott" (2012)

48. Tim Flannery – "After the Future: Australia's New Extinction Crisis" (2012)

49. Mark Latham – "Not Dead Yet: Labor's Post-Left Future" (2013)

50. Anna Goldsworthy – "Unfinished Business: Sex, Freedom and Misogyny" (2013)

51. David Marr – "The Prince: Faith, Abuse and George Pell" (2013)

52. Linda Jaivin – "Found in Translation, In Praise of a Plural World" (2013)

53. Paul Toohey – "That Sinking Feeling: Asylum Seekers and the Search for the Indonesian Solution" (2014)

54. Andrew Charlton – "Dragon's Tail: The Lucky Country After the China Boom" (2014)

55. Noel Pearson – "A Rightful Place: Race, Recognition and a More Complete Commonwealth" (2014)

56. Guy Rundle – "Clivosaurus: The Politics of Clive Palmer" (2014)

57. Karen Hitchcock – "Dear Life: On caring for the elderly" (2015)

58. David Kilcullen – "Blood Year: Terror and the Islamic State" (2015)

59. David Marr – "Faction Man: Bill Shorten's path to power" (2015)

60. Laura Tingle – "Political Amnesia: How We Forgot to Govern" (2015)D

61. George Megalogenis – "Balancing Act: Australia Between Recession and Renewal" (2016)

62. James Brown – "Firing Line: Australia's Path to War" (2016)

63. Don Watson – "Enemy Within: American Politics in the Time of Trump" (2016)

64. Stan Grant – "The Australian Dream: Blood, History and Becoming" (2016)

65. David Marr – "The White Queen: One Nation and the Politics of Race" (2017)

66. Anna Krien – "The Long Goodbye: Coal, Coral and Australia's Climate Deadlock" (2017)

67. Benjamin Law – "Moral Panic 101: Equality, Acceptance and the Safe Schools Scandal" (2017)[17]

68. Hugh White – "Without America: Australia in the New Asia" (2017)[18]


  1. ^"The Age: Showdown an essay in contrasts". 21 February 2004. 
  2. ^"API Network: Review: Quarterly Essay: Beautiful Lies. Population and Environment in Australia". 1 July 2007. 
  3. ^"ABC TV – Enough Rope: Germaine Greer". 15 September 2003. 
  4. ^"APINetwork: Review: Quarterly Essay: Whitefella Jump Up". November 2003. 
  5. ^"Matilda – Quarterly Essay 16 – "Breach of Trust" by Raimond Gaita". 5 January 2005. 
  6. ^"ABC Radio – the World Today: Rise in anti-depressant use causes concern". 27 June 2005. 
  7. ^"ABC Radio – Life Matters: Response to Gail Bell – 'The Worried Well'". 30 June 2005. 
  8. ^"Australia Council's Community Partnerships & Market Development Division, The Program". 6 September 2005. 
  9. ^"Gordon Parker responds to Gail Bell's Quarterly Essay article "The Worried Well""(PDF). 15 September 2005. 
  10. ^"ABC Radio – Late Night Live: Inga Clendinnen: Who owns the past?". 25 January 2007. 
  11. ^"ABC Radio – Inga Clendinnen: How to teach our children". 3 November 2006. 
  12. ^"National Library of Australia review by Arthur Lucas". 5 January 2005. 
  13. ^"Late Night Live: Public Debate in Australia under Howard". 31 May 2007. 
  14. ^"Penguin Group (Australia) His Master's Voice: Quarterly Essay 26: The Corruption of Public Debate Under Howard". 30 May 2007. 
  15. ^Power Trip: The Political Journey ofKevin Rudd, Quarterly Essay 38, Black Inc Books, 7 June 2010
  16. ^We need to talk about Kevin ... Rudd, that is, extract of Power Trip: The Political Journey of Kevin Rudd, Sydney Morning Herald, 7 June 2010
  17. ^Law, Benjamin (11 September 2017). "Quarterly Essay 67: Moral Panic 101 - Equality, Acceptance and the Safe Schools Scandal". Readings. Retrieved 12 September 2017. 
  18. ^White, Hugh (November 2017). "Without America: Australia in the New Asia". Quarterly Essay. No. 68. Retrieved 2 January 2018. 

External links[edit]

One thought on “Quarterly Essays

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *