• Indulgence, injustice, and the book of fine scrapes

    Mark Nicol     |      January 18, 2021

    The New Year can be a time to remember the past as well as look forward to the future, and Open Forum regular Mark Nicol reflects on a boy’s night out before the age of masks and social distancing.

  • Gen-2D

    Mark Nicol     |      January 12, 2021

    People’s dependence on their mobile phones, and society’s reliance on integrated information systems, has not only eroded individual self-reliance but left the free world vulnerable to virtual attack from its enemies.

  • Stop press! The fourth estate – service or farce?

    Mark Nicol     |      January 4, 2021

    The invention of the printing press heralded a revolution in human communications, but the nation’s newspapers are being left behind in the age of the Internet, and Open Forum columnist Mark Nicol is less than impressed with their current standard of ownership and content.

  • Music for the festive season

    Mark Nicol     |      December 22, 2020

    Open Forum regular Mark Nicol offers a selection of music “to soothe the savage soul” over the festive season.

  • Autocracy, democracy, meritocracy

    Mark Nicol     |      December 16, 2020

    A revamped political system based on meritocracy, rather than lumpen authoritarianism or traditional democracy, might be the best way to escape the West’s current political and social malaise.

  • The idea of democracy

    Mark Nicol     |      December 10, 2020

    Western liberal democracy has its deep but tangled roots in a host of religious as well as secular traditions, and its apparent decline can only be arrested by a reappreciation of rationality and individual merit.

  • On mateship

    Mark Nicol     |      December 3, 2020

    In this touching personal essay on friendship and loss, Mark Nicol reflects on the very Australian notion of ‘mateship’.

  • Population: The elephant in the room

    Mark Nicol     |      November 26, 2020

    The growth in the world’s population – from 1 billion in 1800 to 7.8 billion today and perhaps 8.6 billion by mid-2030 – is the driving force behind many of the political, economic and environmental problems we are confronting.

  • The super-dominant predator

    Mark Nicol     |      November 19, 2020

    Forget sharks, bears tigers and even viruses – mankind remains the most terrifyingly effective predator the world has ever seen, with our brains proving far more dangerous to the rest of the natural world than the claws and teeth of our long-vanquished competitors.

  • Aquaculture: Poaching on the last ecological frontier

    Mark Nicol     |      November 12, 2020

    Over-fishing of wild fish has devastated stocks around the world, but the farming of fish can also have severe ecological impacts.

  • A vision of hope: The church of native divinity

    Mark Nicol     |      November 5, 2020

    The disciplined practise of rational science has given modern man technological domination of the planet, but it may take a new reverence for life itself for our species to ensure a sustainable future.

  • World peace: Why the West must crush Chinese ambitions

    Mark Nicol     |      October 29, 2020

    An increasingly powerful and aggressive China is extending its economic, political and military influence around the world. A concerted and immediate effort is required from democratic nations if Xi’s ambitions are to be thwarted.