Lech Blaine

Category: Uncategorized

The Art of Class War

The Art of Class War

“The People’s Republic of Rugby League is the snoozing superpower of Australian sport. In 25 years’ time, COVID-19 might be remembered as the moment that a broken game woke up from the coma induced by
Super League and stopped losing ground to the AFL.”

My latest essay for The Monthly is a 9000-word deep dive into the People’s Republic of Rugby League. I interviewed ARLC chairman Peter V’landys, ARLC board members Megan Davis and Peter Beattie, Channel 9 commentator Phil Gould, Rabbitohs chairman Nick Pappas, Roosters chairman Nick Politis, Cowboys GOAT Johnathan Thurston, journalist Roy Masters, and V’landys critic Peter FitzSimons, amongst many others.

The piece explores rugby league’s Civil War with rugby union, the Super League War between Rupert Murdoch and Kerry Packer, Peter V’landys personal war to save the NRL from COVID-19, and the Cold War between the NRL and the AFL.

I also chatted separately to Michael from The Rugby League Digest and Johnno from the Progressive Rugby League podcast about the issue of class in Australian sport, and Peter V’landys leadership of the ARL Commission.

Strange Tides

For The Monthly, I spent five months studying Hillsong founder Brian Houston’s sermons about climate change and coronavirus, and his mysterious relationship with prime minister Scott Morrison.

You can read the essay HERE.

I chatted to Ruby Jones from the 7am Podcast about the experience of a Hillsong congregation. I also chatted to Andrew West at the ABC’s Religion and Ethics report about the political influence of the Pentecostal movement.

Three disasters, a wedding and a funeral

I wrote an essay for The Monthly about going to my sister’s cruise ship-themed wedding, and finding out that my new brother-in-law votes One Nation in the aftermath of the bushfires that nearly claimed his farm. The piece is also about foster care, motherhood, Australia’s black summer and the human spirit’s ability to sustain love amidst enormous trauma.

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You can read the article HERE.

Ten-Year Challenge

Given the impending end of the decade, I wrote for Kill Your Darlings about high school coming-of-age rituals, and getting asked by my alma mater to make a speech at their 2019 formal, ten years since graduating. The piece is about success, failure, identity, friendship and my teenage dreams of being the Prime Minister of Australia.

Savannah + Dominic, Toowoomba

You can read here: Ten Year Challenge

How good is Queensland?

In August, I travelled 7000 km from the bubble of Brisbane to the bloodshed of the Mount Isa Rodeo, and back again via Cairns and the Daintree Rainforest. I was trying to find the roots of Scott Morrison’s mute revolution, and why blue-collar voters staged a mutiny against Bill Shorten. But also what it means to be a Queenslander in 2019, and why so many of them are pissed off with the political system.

The Monthly have published the roughly 9000 word essay – titled ‘How good is Queensland?’ – in the November magazine.

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You can read the article here.

It includes hopefully enlightening conversations with Kevin Rudd in Brisbane and Kev Carmody in Warwick, plus a bunch of other Queenslanders, such as a plumber from Ipswich, a cattle farmer in Clermont, a diesel fitter working on a coal mine near Mackay, the Mayor

of Townsville, a Cairns schoolteacher and a Biloela social worker, along with an unexpected cameo appearance by David Malouf on Magnetic Island.

The Right to Remain Silent

I wrote for The Monthly about the Indigenous rugby league players who staged a silent protest during the national anthem before State of Origin 1.

Read the article at The Monthly.

Family Feud

I wrote a piece for The Monthly dissecting the Australian election through the prism of the bitter political differences dividing my family.

You can buy a copy of the magazine at newsagents or read at The Monthly website:

Family Feud

The Legacy of a Mother’s Love

I wrote a piece for The Guardian in memory of my wonderful mother.

In the Sights of the Alt-Right

For the election edition of The Monthly, I profiled rising Labor star Terri Butler, and asked her about getting trolled online by the faceless men of the alt-right.

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Buy from from news agencies, or click below to read online:

Terri Butler’s rise through the rancour

The Parable of Lyle and Dianne

The Monthly published a story by me about a polite pastor, a profane politician and Toowoomba’s scatological battle to not drink recycled water.

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Click the link below to read.

The Parable of Lyle and Dianne