Articles

David Leser’s articles have been published in the Sydney Morning Herald, Melbourne Age, HQ, the Bulletin, Good Weekend, the Australian Women’s Weekly, European Vanity Fair, Newsweek and the Daily Beast. Here is a selection of his more memorable pieces.

Women

Fiona Stanley

Australian Women's Weekly :: January 1, 2004

Australian of the year for 2003 has charmed us with her passion and intelligence. Now as the end of her 12-month term approaches she talks about how she has fought to turn the tide of our society from one where economic values dominate, to one which places human values - particularly the early care of children - first Read article

Audette Exel – High Flyer

Good Weekend :: May 26, 2012

She built a career on making millions for the rich, but her true achievement has been using her legal and financial nous to make money for the world's poorest. David Leser meets the ISIS Foundation's Audette Exel in Kathmandu Read article

Fiona Wood: Thank God for Fiona

Australian Women's Weekly :: October 28, 2005

She was the saviour of so many Bali burns victims in 2002 and the co-inventor of a revolutionary spray-on skin but outgoing Australian of the Year, Fiona Wood, won't stop there. Read article

Fran Peavey and the Politics of the Heart

Good Weekend :: May 20, 1998

Founder of the international movement, Heart Politics, Fran Peavey is delicious, living proof that agents for social change come in all shapes and sizes. Read article

Germaine Greer

Australian Women's Weekly

Trailblazing feminist Germaine Greer is unstoppable and impossible to ignore. David Leser talks to one of our favourite and most controversial Australians about the myths and realities of her life. Read article

Gina Rinehart and Rose Porteous: A Battle of Wills

Good Weekend :: April 4, 1998

Fate has given Gina Rinehart both blessings and curses - unimaginable wealth and poisoned personal relationships. On her way to becoming the richest woman on the planet, writes David Leser, the "Iron Maiden" has fought numerous court cases and now finds herself in a bitter battle with three of her four children. Read article

Helen Garner

Good Weekend

Helen Garner long ago established herself as the strongest and clearest post 1960s feminist voice in Australian writing. Here she talks to David Leser about feminism, writing and the sexual harassment case that stirred a nation. Read article

Janet Holmes a Court: The Time of Her Life

Australian Women's Weekly :: February 28, 2005

Australia's "dream boss" and Living National Treasure. Janet Holmes a Court, stunned the business world when she took over her late husband Robert's corporate empire and made a success of it. She talks candidly to David Leser about her roles as wife, mother and business mogul. Read article

The Life and Death of Florence Broadhurst

Australian Women's Weekly :: July 28, 2006

Thirty years after her vicious and still unsolved murder, an enigmatic Australian has become an international trendsetter. David Leser looks at the fascinating and colourful life of wallpaper designer Florence Broadhurst. Read article

Xena, Warrior Princess

Good Weekend :: January 30, 1999

She's a feminist role model, a hit with the kids and a lesbian icon. Most men don't mind her either. A valiant David Leser sets out on a quest to discover the myth and mystique of Lucy Lawless, aka Xena, Warrior Princess. Read article

Rising Out of the Ashes: The story of Ingrid Betancourt

Australian Women's Weekly :: August 28, 2011

Held as a prisoner in the Amazon jungle, Ingrid Betancourt was chained, starved and raped by her captors. Yet, it was not knowing whether she'd ever be free again that almost destroyed her. She talks to David Leser about the joy of freedom and a former life lost forever Read article

Malika Oufkir: From a Palace to a Prison

Australian Women's Weekly :: November 28, 2001

It's a story that beggars belief - a whole family is thrown into an isolated Moroccan prison for the sins of the father and left to rot for 20 years. Here she tells her amazing story to David Leser. Read article

Princess Diana

Australian Women's Weekly

Celebrated editor Tina Brown's sensational new book The Diana Chronicles reveals the princess as she has never been seen before. In an exclusive interview David Leser talks to the author about her controversial portrait of the princess and the royal world she loathed so much Read article

Helen Clark: Yes Prime Minister

Australian Women's Weekly :: October 28, 2001

At a time of heightened cross-Tasman tensions, she is a politician who breaks the mould. Helen Clark, New Zealand's PM, is a woman who knows where she and her nation are going - and it's not following Australia's lead. Read article

Ayaan Hirsi Ali: Enemy of Islam

Australian Women's Weekly :: June 28, 2007

Her strident views on Islam have earned the Somali-born author, film-maker, politician and human rights campaigner, Ayaan Hirsi Ali, fame, a Nobel Peace Prize nomination, controversy - and countless death threats Read article

The Revolutionary with the Golden Tongue – The Hanan Ashrawi Story

HQ Magazine :: February 1, 1994

Hanan Ashrawi was pulled out of academe to be the mouthpiece for the Palestinian cause: Arafat's woman in Washington. Her mission? To make the world see the suffering beyond the stone-throwing. David Leser looks at the woman, her political sisters and intrigues behind the peace talks. Read article

Collette Dinnigan: An Australian in Paris

Australian Women's Weekly :: November 28, 2005

After 10 years on the catwalks of Paris and the must-have lists of celebrities, Collette Dinnigan's designs are well-known but this hot-ticket Aussie is less willing to reveal her private life. Read article

Margaret Whitlam

Australian Women's Weekly :: September 28, 2006

She was the Prime Minister's wife who has refused to live in her husband's shadow. David Leser talks to Margaret Whitlam about Gough Whitlam, The Dismissal and growing old. Read article

Pauline Hanson

Good Weekend :: November 30, 1996

It's not just the nation that has been divided by this woman: upheavals and acrimony have characterised her family life as well. How has Pauline Hanson inspired such loyalty and loathing? Read article

The McCartney Sisters: Sisters In Arms

Australian Women's Weekly :: November 28, 2005

Praised by presidents and celebrated for their courage, Ireland's fearless McCartney sisters have taken on the IRA to avenge the murder of their brother. Read article

Vanessa Gorman: A Gift From Layla

Australian Women's Weekly :: September 28, 2002

The death at birth of Vanessa Gorman's longed-for baby, Layla, was played out in heartbreaking honesty on ABC-TV's Australian Story. Now, in a life-affirming postscript, Vanessa welcomes her newborn son, Raphael. Read article

Petrea King – An Angel on Earth

Australian Womans Weekly :: January 1, 2011

Twenty six years ago, Petrea King was told she had three months to live. The former nurse defied the odds and dedicated her life to soothing people’s pain and bringing peace of mind to the dying, writes David Leser. Read article

Carla Bruni

Australian Women's Weekly

Former model-turned-musician Carla Bruni-Sarkozy has garnered strong reactions as France's First Lady. This story looks beyond the headlines at the most powerful woman in France Read article

Men

The Loneliness of Men

Jones Magazine :: October 31, 2016

The ABC's sensational three-part series on Australian masculinity, Man Up, finished last week. It is compulsory viewing for men everywhere. Actually make that men, women and children. Here's a story I wrote on the "Loneliness of Men" which goes to many of the issues explored in the ground-breaking ABC series. Read article

Eckhart Tolle and the Power of Now

Australian Women's Weekly :: January 28, 2009

Oprah Winfrey loved it. Millions more have bought it. The self-help best seller, The Power of Now, has turned the German-born writer, Eckhart Tolle into a spiritual guru. Read article

Mark Carnegie: Bear in the Boardroom

Good Weekend :: July 14, 2013

Mark Carnegie is not your average investment banker. He has called for higher taxes for the rich, for a start. Then there is the expletive-laden negotiation style. He talks to David Leser about anger, equality, money and family Read article

Heath Ledger

Vanity Fair

Two years after Heath Ledger scandalised sections of middle America with his near- miraculous performance as a gay cowboy, he would light up the screen with another tour de force, this time as the lovelorn, heroin-soaked poet, Dan, in the Australian cult movie, Candy. Read article

John Marsden

Good Weekend :: November 13, 1995

John Marsden has written more than 17 books; sold more than a million copies worldwide and won - or been shortlisted - for all the major awards for young adult literature in Australia. At the time of writing his book, Tomorrow When The War Began, had been re-printed 18 times Read article

John Howard

Sydney Morning Herald :: September 3, 1998

John Howard says he loves Bob Dylan. For the music, not the lyrics. David Leser explores the character of Australian prime minister, John Howard, and how well he listens to the melodies and songlines of his country. Read article

Michael Kroger – The Player

Good Weekend :: December 6, 1997

He's friends with Peter Costello, James Packer and Malcolm Fraser. He has connections, a taste for French furniture and his own merchant bank. Wilier, smoother and more ruthless than most, Michael Kroger plays a hidden hand as Liberal Party powerbroker, the architect and the destroyer of vaulting ambition Read article

Kim Beazley

Sydney Morning Herald :: September 10, 1998

Fat, cuddly, long-winded, affable Kim Beazley wanted to lead Australia. Here David Leser looks at politics Mr Nice to see whether he has the appetite to lead his nation. Read article

Peter O’Connor

Good Weekend :: October 10, 1995

Peter O'Connor is not your average Australian male. Meet the man whose life's work has been to explore the male psyche and the true meaning of the mid-life crisis. Read article

Michael Gudinski

HQ :: September 8, 1991

Record company boss, international promoter, music publisher, merchandiser, band manager, booking agent, industry powerbroker and impresario-at-large. Michael Gudinski has been all this and more. Read article

Healing Heart

Good Weekend :: May 14, 2011

Two years ago, Izzeldin Abuelaish lost three beloved daughters in an Israeli tank attack. Yet the famed Palestinian doctor refuses to let hate fill his soul. He explains why to David Leser Read article

Mordechai Vanunu – The Man They Won’t Set Free

Good Weekend :: September 25, 1999

In 1986 a young Jewish scientist revealed Israel's nuclear secrets to the world. He has been in Jail ever since. now, on the 13th anniversary of Mordechai Vanunu's capture by Mossad, David Leser tells why Israel can't forgive its most famous prisoner of conscience. Read article

Paul Hogan: The Accidental Actor

Australian Women's Weekly :: March 28, 2004

To his surprise he became the best-known Aussie in the world. He loved it, yet none of this changed what was really important to Paul Hogan. Read article

Julian Assange – Wikileaks’ Man On The Run

Italian Vanity Fair (with translation) :: January 5, 2011

Nearly two decades ago in the hills outside Melbourne Julian Assange would go to sleep in the early hours of the morning dreaming of police raids. He would hear footsteps on the driveway gravel, see shadowy figures hovering near his house, and imagine armed police bursting through his backdoor at dawn. Read article

Peter and The Wolves

Good Weekend :: August 12, 2009

Translating songs on the pop stage into action on the political stage was never going to be easy, but to his critics Peter Garrett has failed more spectacularly than they ever imagined. David Leser talks to the former rocker now in a very hard place Read article

Peter Garrett

HQ magazine :: November 3, 1990

The man who would be king. David Leser looks at Peter Garrett, the politician masquerading as the lead singer of Australia's most socially and environmentally conscious rock band. Read article

Russell Crowe

Australian Women's Weekly :: November 28, 2003

A genius on screen, but maligned for loutish behaviour off it, Russell Crowe is a man who looks back in anger, but mellows when it comes to wife Danielle and his soon-to-be-born son. Read article

Sir Edmund Hillary – The Man Who Conquered Everest

Australian Women's Weekly :: March 28, 2003

Sir Edmund Hillary was a modest New Zealand beekeeper driven by a passion to prove himself, when, aged 33, he defied death and nature's fury to become the first man to conquer Everest Read article

Marcus Blackmore: The Medicine Man

Good Weekend :: December 20, 2014

Marcus Blackmore is the face of an alternative health industry worth billions of dollars. So why have his products earned the ire of leading doctors? Read article

Political / Social Issues

Behind The Wire

Australian Women's Weekly :: June 30, 2002

As this story was being prepared a visiting United Nations team had just branded Australia's mandatory detention system a "gross abuse of human rights" and spoken of the "collective depression" affecting detainees. Read article

Death of Innocence: When a Child Kills

Good Weekend :: June 28, 1996

The story of a four week old baby killed by a three year-old. Read article

Fatherhood: Bringing Up Boys

Australian Women's Weekly :: August 28, 2004

The path from boyhood to manhood has never been easy, but the current crisis in masculinity is devastating a generation of young men and the society they live in. Read article

Oasis of Peace

Good Weekend :: September 3, 1997

The Jewish child learns to hate and fear the Arab. In his mind the Arab is primitive, calculating and violent. The Arab is bred with similar bigotry. The Jew cannot be trusted. He is the all-conquering outsider. Except In the village of Neve Shalom/Wahat al-Salam which stands as a unique experiment in reconciliation. Read article

The Da Vinci Mode

Good Weekend :: August 25, 2012

He claims to be Leonardo reincarnated, and to hold the secrets to good health. His supporters are convinced, others less so. David Leser meets self-styled healer Serge Benhayon Read article

The Lost Men: When Men Lose Their Jobs

Good Weekend :: March 25, 2000

Once they waited for the gold watch that rewarded years of loyal service. Now they wait for the axe to fall. They're senior white-collar workers in a lean, mean, "downsized" world... and the next job they lose could well be their last. Read article

The Destruction of Tasmania’s Forests

Italian Vanity Fair :: February 13, 2008

Read article

The Final Siren – The South Sydney Football Club Story

Good Weekend in the Weekend Australian :: November 13, 1999

For most of the 20th century, South Sydney played a never-say-die brand of football, giving a loyal, tight-knit community its memories, its stories and its greatest moments of joy and despair. In the end, the club's nemesis wasn't a marauding opposition pack of forwards, but an implacable corporate juggernaut. Read article

The Sanctuary

Australian Women's Weekly :: January 28, 2008

They may be celebrities or the super-rich but when they go off the rails who do they turn to? David Leser discovers an Australian refuge that nurtures the battered bodies and egos of the seriously rich and famous when their addictions and low self-esteem threaten to overwhelm them. Read article

The Search For Happiness

Australian Women's Weekly :: September 30, 2007

What does it mean to be happy - and where do we find it? David Leser goes in search of glee at an international conference on happiness, to discover there's no single path to a life of contentment. Read article

Welcome to Australia – Down and Out in the Lucky Country

Good Weekend in the Weekend Australian :: September 12, 1998

They came to us full of hope. Skilled, committed migrants, grateful for the invitation. But no-one warned them that the welcome mat had been removed and disaster lay in wait. David Leser uncovers a nation's shameful secret. Read article

What Lies Beneath

Good Weekend :: August 13, 2011

While the exploitation of underground coal seam gas promises riches for energy companies, in many parts of rural Australia it is causing deep uneasiness - and driving an unlikely opposition alliance of green activists and conservative farmers. By David Leser Read article

Children Overboard

Australian Women's Weekly :: September 28, 2007

In the six years since the `Children Overboard' affair first confronted the nation, nearly all the people on board that overcrowded Indonesian fishing vessel have been given permanent residency in Australia. Most of them live today in Sydney and Melbourne, although a few families have built new lives for themselves in Perth. David Leser speaks to one of the Iraqi asylum seekers and to a young Australian sailor who helped rescue them on that historic day. Read article

Global Warming

Australian Women's Weekly :: February 28, 2007

Global warming has become such a pressing issue that, as governments fail to act, individual Australians are being galvanised into action in a bid to help save the earth. Read article

The Sanctuary

Australian Women's Weekly :: January 28, 2008

They may be celebrities or the super-rich but when they go off the rails who do they turn to? David Leser discovers an Australian refuge that nurtures the battered bodies and egos of the seriously rich and famous when their addictions and low self-esteem threaten to overwhelm them. Read article

The Search For Happiness

Australian Women's Weekly :: September 30, 2007

What does it mean to be happy - and where do we find it? David Leser goes in search of glee at an international conference on happiness, to discover there's no single path to a life of contentment. Read article

The Bali Bombing: Paradise Lost

Australian Women's Weekly :: November 28, 2002

Humanity in the midst of horror, hope in the midst of grief. In the aftermath of the Bali bombings David Leser reflects on the past, present and future of this once carefree holiday island as it takes slow and painful steps towards healing. Read article

Bali: Lest We Forget

Australian Women's Weekly :: September 28, 2003

The Bali bombings killed 202 people, 88 of them Australian. Coming to terms with the tragedy is a journey of mind, body and spirit writes David Leser as the first anniversary approaches. Read article

Media

June Newton: The Reluctant Muse

Australian Women's Weekly :: May 28, 2005

June Newton was an actress and a painter, who became famed portrait photographer Alice Springs. She was also the muse and wife of provocative photographer Helmut Newton. Now, some 16 months after his death, June talks about love, sex and her life after Helmut. Read article

Richard Carleton

Good Weekend :: January 7, 1995

He was once hailed as the best political interviewer in Australia and then he joined 60 Minutes. Whatever happened to TV's clever Dick Read article

Who’s Afraid Of Alan Jones

Good Weekend :: November 14, 1998

He led the Wallabies to glory and inspired schoolboys to win glittering prizes. On radio, his words can swing voters, crush hopes and send share prices tumbling. Alan Jones's is a world of credits and debits, loyalty and influence. Play it his way and he's yours for life; cross him and he'll never let you forget it. Read article

Andrew Denton: Dark Side of the Loon

Good Weekend :: January 25, 1997

His sharp mind and quick repartee spark a comedy that is both shocking and hilarious. But stop laughing - under that funnyman exterior, the guy is really serious and sad. Read article

Anna Murdoch: Love, Betrayal and Life after Rupert

Australian Women's Weekly :: July 28, 2001

For 31 years she was married to one of the world's most powerful men, News Corp chief Rupert Murdoch. Since their sudden break-up three years ago, Anna Murdoch Mann has retained a dignified silence. Now, in this exclusive interview, she speaks for the first time about what really happened to their marriage. Read article

Dame Elisabeth Murdoch: Nothing Like a Dame

Australian Women's Weekly :: May 28, 2003

At 94, Dame Elisabeth Murdoch is the modest matriarch of one of the world's most powerful families. Strong and compassionate, spirited and independent, she talks candidly about her son, controversial media mogul, Rupert, her grandchildren and her own remarkable life. Read article

Mary Fairfax

HQ magazine :: February 15, 1991

A figure of romance or vengeance? A Jewess or a Christian? A family maker or an empire breaker. Meet Mary Fairfax, the woman at the centre of an Australian media empire in ruin and a family filled with bad blood. Read article

Shane Warne: The King of Spin

Good Weekend :: October 29, 2011

He's cheated on his wife, his mistress, given into beer and cigarettes, and had an extreme makeover, yet Shane Warne's popularity only climbs upward. David Leser on a celebrity phenomenon. Read article

Oriana Fallaci

HQ magazine :: September 23, 1993

At her height she was one of the most famous - if not the most famous female journalists in the world. Here in this exclusive interview, Oriana Fallaci, talks to David Leser about love, death, writing and the phenomenon of being an Italian superstar Read article

The Arts

Courtney Barnett: Music and Silence

Sunday Life Magazine :: November 1, 2015

Courtney Barnett is the biggest thing in Australian music at the moment. And she's found fame by following no one's star but her own. She talks to David Leser Read article

A.D. Hope: The Rime Of The Ancient Bludgeoner

Good Weekend :: January 14, 1989

At eight years of age he had written a 52-stanza poem for his mother on the virtues of Christianity. By the time he died was the patriarch of Australian poetry. Read article

Anjelica Huston – Daughter of a Dynasty

Australian Women's Weekly

Oscar-winning actress Anjelica Huston tells David Leser how she gave up dating rogues such as Jack Nicholson, dealt with the hearbreak of never being a mother and now has an "impossibly happy" relationship. Read article

Asher Keddie: The Girl Who Played Ita

Australian Women's Weekly :: August 28, 2011

From Ita's lisp to Blanche's vulnerability, Asher Keddie has made celebrity roles her own. Yet there's more to this versatile actress than mere mimicry, as David Leser discovers Read article

Who Is Justin Bieber?

Australian Women's Weekly :: June 28, 2011

He's the floppy-haired teen at the top of the pop music tree, but is Justin Bieber a formidable talent or a marketing ploy? Whatever the answer, David Leser discovers that Bieber Fever is here to stay. For a while anyway. Read article

Barbara Blackman: A Poetic Life

Australian Women's Weekly :: January 1, 2005

Writer and poet Barbara Blackman brought up three children, nurtured her artist husband Charles' gift, made their home the hub of Australia's art circle and, she explains here, made her blindness a corridor to a different sort of existence. Read article

Dame Edna Everage wins over the Yanks

Australian Women's Weekly :: September 30, 2001

Superstar housewife Dame Edna Everage has taken the US by storm on a hugely popular tour. Her alter-ego, Barry Humphries, has hidden behind the glasses and glitz for years, but here we enter the mind of Edna's complex Read article

He’s Alright Jack

Good Weekend :: May 29, 2010

He's a wave-riding, solar-powered soft rock phenomenon. David Leser talks to Jack Johnson about how he turned his naturally laid-back lifestyle into a stellar career Read article

Make Love, Not War … Unless You’re My Daughter

Australian Women's Weekly :: May 28, 2011

Richard Neville hit the headlines in the 1960s as the co-founder of Oz magazine and advocate of free love. Yet, as David Leser discovers, when it came to raising his daughters, he was nothing if not prudish. Read article

Margaret Fink

Australian Women's Weekly

Bohemian wild child and friend of the famous and infamous, film producer Margaret Fink talks to David Leser about the highs and lows of her amazing life. Read article

Margaret Olley

Australian Women's Weekly :: February 28, 2008

Amid the eclectic clutter of her home - the source of inspiration for much of her lifetime's work - iconic Australian artist Margaret Olley talks frankly about life, work and growing old Read article

Meryl Streep: The Greatest Actress of Her Time

Australian Women's Weekly :: January 28, 2012

She is being hailed for her portrayal of former British PM Margaret Thatcher, but off-screen, Meryl Streep is a much-loved wife and mother of four. Here she talks to David Leser about life and all its choices. Read article

Neil Finn – Something so strong

Good Weekend in the Weekend Australian :: June 20, 1998

Crowded House seemed unstoppable; then Neil Finn decided to pull the plug and return to New Zealand. David Leser met the singer there and found a man balancing domestic tranquility against the edgy darkness of his own imagination. Read article

Norma Khouri: The Inside Story of a Disgraced Author

Australian Women's Weekly :: February 28, 2007

Feted then demonised, Norma Khouri, author of the best-selling book, Forbidden Love, was revealed as a fake. On the eve of a new film about her, David Leser asks Norma why she conned him and thousands of others. Read article

Paul Kelly

HQ Magazine :: June 2, 1991

His songs make even hard-headed rock veterans weep. Meet Paul Kelly, arguably the finest songwriter Australia has produced. Read article

Piano Forte – Roger Woodward

Good Weekend :: May 19, 1999

Overlooked or overbearing? In search of the real Roger Woodward. To his supporters, he's a pianist's pianist, a brilliant virtuoso, overlooked and misunderstood. To his detractors, he's demanding, obsessive and difficult. Is Roger Woodward his own worst enemy? Read article

Richard Wherrett

Good Weekend

Meet Richard Wherrett, the man they once called Australian theatre's most powerful individual Read article

Robyn Nevin

Australian Women's Weekly :: March 28, 2008

Robyn Nevin is a legend of Australian theatre. David Leser meets the charismatic - and sometimes controversial - actor-director as she prepares to step back on stage in a one-woman play directed by Cate Blanchett Read article

Shay Stafford – Memoirs of an Aussie Showgirl

Australian Womans Weekly :: November 1, 2010

Shay Stafford went from tapping down the aisle at Woolies to twirling in a banana costume in BrisVegas. Yet when she became a showgirl at Paris’ famed Moulin Rouge, she found love. David Leser tells her story. Read article

Slava Grigoryan – The World at his Fingertips

Good Weekend in the Weekend Australian

Slava Grigoryan is a 2O-year-old who drinks, chases girls and plays pool with his mates. He is also a guitar virtuoso who is being hailed as Australia's next John Williams. Read article

Miranda Otto: Truth Seeker

Sunday Life :: February 28, 2016

Miranda Otto's star keeps rising in Hollywood. She speaks to David Leser about re-imagining Ibsen, family and the power of secrets Read article

Irina Baronova: The Dance Of Life

Australian Women's Weekly :: September 28, 2005

Kings and queens, dictators, film stars and giants of the art world have all worshipped at the feet of legendary Russian ballerina Irina Baronova. Here she tells David Leser about her extraordinary and colourful life. Read article

Susan Sarandon

Australian Women's Weekly :: June 28, 2006

Would you fly 31,000 kilometres to spend an hour with someone. David Leser would, but only if that someone was Susan Sarandon Read article

The Art and Life of Judy Cassab

Australian Women's Weekly :: August 28, 2003

Famed for her vivid portraits and major art awards - including two Archibald Prizes - Judy Cassab has survived Nazi persecution, poverty and enjoyed a great, enduring love. Here she reveals her amazing story. Read article

Men At Work

Good Weekend :: July 21, 2012

In the early 1980s, a catchy flute riff helped to propel Men At Work's Down Under to the top of the pop charts across the globe. But nearly 30 years later, as a legal battle over the tune's origin came to a head, the very success of the song was to have tragic implications. Read article

The Bomb Thrower from Lower Snug – the Cassandra Pybus story

Good Weekend in the Weekend Australian :: July 31, 1999

To some, Cassandra Pybus is the fearless, vigilant outsider, a bold exposer of cant and hypocrisy. To her enemies, still reeling from bruising encounters, she is an arrogant troublemaker. Even the writer herself admits to being high-handed. Stand by for her latest literary missile. Read article

Commentary

Insomnia: Eyes Wide Open

Sunday LIfe Magazine :: March 28, 2016

A prolonged bout of insomnia left David Leser as a physical and emotional wreck. Now recovered, he still remembers the experience as one of the most harrowing in his life. Read article

The Seeker

Sunday Life Magazine :: April 24, 2016

Sometimes you don't need all the answers in life. It's enough just to ask the right questions. Read article

Whatever Happened to Downtime?

Jones Magazine :: September 1, 2016

Too much to do and not enough time to do it? Taking a break might be all that's needed to restore balance to a busy life. Read article

Sydney Vs New York

Sydney Morning Herald :: December 31, 2015

Sydney can learn a thing or two about friendliness from New York Read article

Violence Against Women

Sydney Morning Herald :: January 10, 2016

Why is Violence Against Women so Endemic? Read article

Bronwyn Bishop

Saturday Paper :: July 21, 2015

Bronwyn Bishop has never welcomed the kind of scrutiny she applies to others. David Leser reports on Tony Abbot's hand-picked Speaker of the House and the crisis now engulfing her and the federal government Read article

Tony Abbott: Boy or Man, or Maybe Just Wired Differently

Sydney Morning Herald and Melbourne Age :: August 20, 2015

It's hard sometimes to tell a boy from a man, especially when the boy is 58 years old. We need to observe closely how he behaves, listen to what he says, attempt to read his state of mind, before we reach any firm conclusions Read article

Daily Beast Newsweek

Australia’s Collar Bomb Hoax

Daily Beast :: August 4, 2011

Sydney authorities worked for 10 hours to free Madeleine Pulver, 18, from a device suspected of being a collar bomb, but turned out to be fake. David Leser on the teenager's ordeal. Read article

Gina Rinehart: Australia’s Iron Lady

Daily Beast/Newsweek :: February 20, 2012

The `Iron Lady' from Down Under brooks no nonsense as she buys into a media empire and closes in on Gates and Buffett Read article

News Corp under fire Down Under

Daily Beast :: July 21, 2011

In Rupert Murdoch's native country, the prime minister has challenged the Australian division of News Corp. But she hasn't yet said what questions she wants answered. Read article

The Anguish of Rupert Murdoch’s Mother

The Daily Beast :: July 20, 2011

Family matriarch Dame Elisabeth Murdoch said his News of the World purchase nearly 'killed me,' and told her son of her concerns about invasion of privacy Read article

Travel

Byron Bay

Qantas Magazine :: January 4, 2016

Once a haven for hippies, Byron Bay has been reborn as a foodie destination. Returning ex-resident David Leser embarks on a tasting tour more sinful than spiritual. Read article

The French South-West: Highway to Heaven

Gourmet Traveller :: October 1, 2015

A leisurely road trip from Bordeaux to Limoges promises long lunches, sojourns in chateaux and a ticket to happiness writes David Leser Read article

A Six Star Mediterranean Luxury Cruise

Qantas Magazine :: September 1, 2016

Who would say No to an invitation to sail from Barcelona to Monaco aboard the world's newest - and most luxurious - six star cruise ship? Not me. Read article

Tasmania

Qantas Magazine :: May 1, 2016

Tasmania. Five routes. Five delicious ways to savour the Apple Isle Read article

Farewell My Lovely

Good Weekend :: May 3, 1997

Nehru called Bali "the Morning of the World." Investors, including the Soeharto clan, are calling it a goldmine. As development fever takes over, paradise is in danger of sinking under the weight of garbage and golf balls. Read article

Jerusalem: City of Faith

Australian Women's Weekly :: December 20, 2010

A city that has survived a millennia of conflict to be the complex and fascinating place it is today, Jerusalem is like no other city in the world. David Leser reports Read article

The Naked Truth: Inside the Wonderful World of Nudism

HQ Magazine :: July 29, 1991

David Leser enters the wild and wonderful world of a nudist colony Read article

Two For The Road

Good Weekend :: October 23, 2010

Blame the music, the whiskey or the leprechauns but when David Leser and a friend organise a boys own tour of the Emerald Isle they have the time of the middle of their lives. Read article

Welcome To The Pleasure Dome

Good Weekend :: March 31, 2012

Saturated with sun, sand and sex, Ibiza is renowned as one of the world's hedonistic hot spots. Journeying there expecting one helluva party, David Leser is not in any way disappointed Read article

Byron Bay

Qantas Magazine :: January 4, 2016

Once a haven for hippies, Byron Bay has been reborn as a foodie destination. Returning ex-resident David Leser embarks on a tasting tour more sinful than spiritual. Read article

Courtney Barnett: Music and Silence

Sunday Life Magazine :: November 1, 2015

Courtney Barnett is the biggest thing in Australian music at the moment. And she's found fame by following no one's star but her own. She talks to David Leser Read article

The French South-West: Highway to Heaven

Gourmet Traveller :: October 1, 2015

A leisurely road trip from Bordeaux to Limoges promises long lunches, sojourns in chateaux and a ticket to happiness writes David Leser Read article

Insomnia: Eyes Wide Open

Sunday LIfe Magazine :: March 28, 2016

A prolonged bout of insomnia left David Leser as a physical and emotional wreck. Now recovered, he still remembers the experience as one of the most harrowing in his life. Read article

The Seeker

Sunday Life Magazine :: April 24, 2016

Sometimes you don't need all the answers in life. It's enough just to ask the right questions. Read article

A Six Star Mediterranean Luxury Cruise

Qantas Magazine :: September 1, 2016

Who would say No to an invitation to sail from Barcelona to Monaco aboard the world's newest - and most luxurious - six star cruise ship? Not me. Read article

Tasmania

Qantas Magazine :: May 1, 2016

Tasmania. Five routes. Five delicious ways to savour the Apple Isle Read article

The Loneliness of Men

Jones Magazine :: October 31, 2016

The ABC's sensational three-part series on Australian masculinity, Man Up, finished last week. It is compulsory viewing for men everywhere. Actually make that men, women and children. Here's a story I wrote on the "Loneliness of Men" which goes to many of the issues explored in the ground-breaking ABC series. Read article

Whatever Happened to Downtime?

Jones Magazine :: September 1, 2016

Too much to do and not enough time to do it? Taking a break might be all that's needed to restore balance to a busy life. Read article

Sydney Vs New York

Sydney Morning Herald :: December 31, 2015

Sydney can learn a thing or two about friendliness from New York Read article

Violence Against Women

Sydney Morning Herald :: January 10, 2016

Why is Violence Against Women so Endemic? Read article

The Limits of Giving

Good Weekend :: March 11, 2017

A chance meeting in a Bondi cafe holds lessons for how much we can - and should - help people in need. Read article

The Limits of Giving

Good Weekend :: March 11, 2017

A chance meeting in a Bondi cafe holds lessons for how much we can - and should - help others Read article

Fiona Stanley

Australian Women's Weekly :: January 1, 2004

Australian of the year for 2003 has charmed us with her passion and intelligence. Now as the end of her 12-month term approaches she talks about how she has fought to turn the tide of our society from one where economic values dominate, to one which places human values - particularly the early care of children - first Read article

Audette Exel – High Flyer

Good Weekend :: May 26, 2012

She built a career on making millions for the rich, but her true achievement has been using her legal and financial nous to make money for the world's poorest. David Leser meets the ISIS Foundation's Audette Exel in Kathmandu Read article

Fiona Wood: Thank God for Fiona

Australian Women's Weekly :: October 28, 2005

She was the saviour of so many Bali burns victims in 2002 and the co-inventor of a revolutionary spray-on skin but outgoing Australian of the Year, Fiona Wood, won't stop there. Read article

Fran Peavey and the Politics of the Heart

Good Weekend :: May 20, 1998

Founder of the international movement, Heart Politics, Fran Peavey is delicious, living proof that agents for social change come in all shapes and sizes. Read article

Germaine Greer

Australian Women's Weekly

Trailblazing feminist Germaine Greer is unstoppable and impossible to ignore. David Leser talks to one of our favourite and most controversial Australians about the myths and realities of her life. Read article

Gina Rinehart and Rose Porteous: A Battle of Wills

Good Weekend :: April 4, 1998

Fate has given Gina Rinehart both blessings and curses - unimaginable wealth and poisoned personal relationships. On her way to becoming the richest woman on the planet, writes David Leser, the "Iron Maiden" has fought numerous court cases and now finds herself in a bitter battle with three of her four children. Read article

Helen Garner

Good Weekend

Helen Garner long ago established herself as the strongest and clearest post 1960s feminist voice in Australian writing. Here she talks to David Leser about feminism, writing and the sexual harassment case that stirred a nation. Read article

Janet Holmes a Court: The Time of Her Life

Australian Women's Weekly :: February 28, 2005

Australia's "dream boss" and Living National Treasure. Janet Holmes a Court, stunned the business world when she took over her late husband Robert's corporate empire and made a success of it. She talks candidly to David Leser about her roles as wife, mother and business mogul. Read article

The Life and Death of Florence Broadhurst

Australian Women's Weekly :: July 28, 2006

Thirty years after her vicious and still unsolved murder, an enigmatic Australian has become an international trendsetter. David Leser looks at the fascinating and colourful life of wallpaper designer Florence Broadhurst. Read article

Xena, Warrior Princess

Good Weekend :: January 30, 1999

She's a feminist role model, a hit with the kids and a lesbian icon. Most men don't mind her either. A valiant David Leser sets out on a quest to discover the myth and mystique of Lucy Lawless, aka Xena, Warrior Princess. Read article

Rising Out of the Ashes: The story of Ingrid Betancourt

Australian Women's Weekly :: August 28, 2011

Held as a prisoner in the Amazon jungle, Ingrid Betancourt was chained, starved and raped by her captors. Yet, it was not knowing whether she'd ever be free again that almost destroyed her. She talks to David Leser about the joy of freedom and a former life lost forever Read article

Malika Oufkir: From a Palace to a Prison

Australian Women's Weekly :: November 28, 2001

It's a story that beggars belief - a whole family is thrown into an isolated Moroccan prison for the sins of the father and left to rot for 20 years. Here she tells her amazing story to David Leser. Read article

Princess Diana

Australian Women's Weekly

Celebrated editor Tina Brown's sensational new book The Diana Chronicles reveals the princess as she has never been seen before. In an exclusive interview David Leser talks to the author about her controversial portrait of the princess and the royal world she loathed so much Read article

Helen Clark: Yes Prime Minister

Australian Women's Weekly :: October 28, 2001

At a time of heightened cross-Tasman tensions, she is a politician who breaks the mould. Helen Clark, New Zealand's PM, is a woman who knows where she and her nation are going - and it's not following Australia's lead. Read article

Ayaan Hirsi Ali: Enemy of Islam

Australian Women's Weekly :: June 28, 2007

Her strident views on Islam have earned the Somali-born author, film-maker, politician and human rights campaigner, Ayaan Hirsi Ali, fame, a Nobel Peace Prize nomination, controversy - and countless death threats Read article

The Revolutionary with the Golden Tongue – The Hanan Ashrawi Story

HQ Magazine :: February 1, 1994

Hanan Ashrawi was pulled out of academe to be the mouthpiece for the Palestinian cause: Arafat's woman in Washington. Her mission? To make the world see the suffering beyond the stone-throwing. David Leser looks at the woman, her political sisters and intrigues behind the peace talks. Read article

Collette Dinnigan: An Australian in Paris

Australian Women's Weekly :: November 28, 2005

After 10 years on the catwalks of Paris and the must-have lists of celebrities, Collette Dinnigan's designs are well-known but this hot-ticket Aussie is less willing to reveal her private life. Read article

Margaret Whitlam

Australian Women's Weekly :: September 28, 2006

She was the Prime Minister's wife who has refused to live in her husband's shadow. David Leser talks to Margaret Whitlam about Gough Whitlam, The Dismissal and growing old. Read article

Pauline Hanson

Good Weekend :: November 30, 1996

It's not just the nation that has been divided by this woman: upheavals and acrimony have characterised her family life as well. How has Pauline Hanson inspired such loyalty and loathing? Read article

The McCartney Sisters: Sisters In Arms

Australian Women's Weekly :: November 28, 2005

Praised by presidents and celebrated for their courage, Ireland's fearless McCartney sisters have taken on the IRA to avenge the murder of their brother. Read article

Vanessa Gorman: A Gift From Layla

Australian Women's Weekly :: September 28, 2002

The death at birth of Vanessa Gorman's longed-for baby, Layla, was played out in heartbreaking honesty on ABC-TV's Australian Story. Now, in a life-affirming postscript, Vanessa welcomes her newborn son, Raphael. Read article

Petrea King – An Angel on Earth

Australian Womans Weekly :: January 1, 2011

Twenty six years ago, Petrea King was told she had three months to live. The former nurse defied the odds and dedicated her life to soothing people’s pain and bringing peace of mind to the dying, writes David Leser. Read article

Carla Bruni

Australian Women's Weekly

Former model-turned-musician Carla Bruni-Sarkozy has garnered strong reactions as France's First Lady. This story looks beyond the headlines at the most powerful woman in France Read article

Eckhart Tolle and the Power of Now

Australian Women's Weekly :: January 28, 2009

Oprah Winfrey loved it. Millions more have bought it. The self-help best seller, The Power of Now, has turned the German-born writer, Eckhart Tolle into a spiritual guru. Read article

Mark Carnegie: Bear in the Boardroom

Good Weekend :: July 14, 2013

Mark Carnegie is not your average investment banker. He has called for higher taxes for the rich, for a start. Then there is the expletive-laden negotiation style. He talks to David Leser about anger, equality, money and family Read article

Heath Ledger

Vanity Fair

Two years after Heath Ledger scandalised sections of middle America with his near- miraculous performance as a gay cowboy, he would light up the screen with another tour de force, this time as the lovelorn, heroin-soaked poet, Dan, in the Australian cult movie, Candy. Read article

John Marsden

Good Weekend :: November 13, 1995

John Marsden has written more than 17 books; sold more than a million copies worldwide and won - or been shortlisted - for all the major awards for young adult literature in Australia. At the time of writing his book, Tomorrow When The War Began, had been re-printed 18 times Read article

John Howard

Sydney Morning Herald :: September 3, 1998

John Howard says he loves Bob Dylan. For the music, not the lyrics. David Leser explores the character of Australian prime minister, John Howard, and how well he listens to the melodies and songlines of his country. Read article

Michael Kroger – The Player

Good Weekend :: December 6, 1997

He's friends with Peter Costello, James Packer and Malcolm Fraser. He has connections, a taste for French furniture and his own merchant bank. Wilier, smoother and more ruthless than most, Michael Kroger plays a hidden hand as Liberal Party powerbroker, the architect and the destroyer of vaulting ambition Read article

Kim Beazley

Sydney Morning Herald :: September 10, 1998

Fat, cuddly, long-winded, affable Kim Beazley wanted to lead Australia. Here David Leser looks at politics Mr Nice to see whether he has the appetite to lead his nation. Read article

Peter O’Connor

Good Weekend :: October 10, 1995

Peter O'Connor is not your average Australian male. Meet the man whose life's work has been to explore the male psyche and the true meaning of the mid-life crisis. Read article

Michael Gudinski

HQ :: September 8, 1991

Record company boss, international promoter, music publisher, merchandiser, band manager, booking agent, industry powerbroker and impresario-at-large. Michael Gudinski has been all this and more. Read article

Healing Heart

Good Weekend :: May 14, 2011

Two years ago, Izzeldin Abuelaish lost three beloved daughters in an Israeli tank attack. Yet the famed Palestinian doctor refuses to let hate fill his soul. He explains why to David Leser Read article

Mordechai Vanunu – The Man They Won’t Set Free

Good Weekend :: September 25, 1999

In 1986 a young Jewish scientist revealed Israel's nuclear secrets to the world. He has been in Jail ever since. now, on the 13th anniversary of Mordechai Vanunu's capture by Mossad, David Leser tells why Israel can't forgive its most famous prisoner of conscience. Read article

Paul Hogan: The Accidental Actor

Australian Women's Weekly :: March 28, 2004

To his surprise he became the best-known Aussie in the world. He loved it, yet none of this changed what was really important to Paul Hogan. Read article

Julian Assange – Wikileaks’ Man On The Run

Italian Vanity Fair (with translation) :: January 5, 2011

Nearly two decades ago in the hills outside Melbourne Julian Assange would go to sleep in the early hours of the morning dreaming of police raids. He would hear footsteps on the driveway gravel, see shadowy figures hovering near his house, and imagine armed police bursting through his backdoor at dawn. Read article

Peter and The Wolves

Good Weekend :: August 12, 2009

Translating songs on the pop stage into action on the political stage was never going to be easy, but to his critics Peter Garrett has failed more spectacularly than they ever imagined. David Leser talks to the former rocker now in a very hard place Read article

Peter Garrett

HQ magazine :: November 3, 1990

The man who would be king. David Leser looks at Peter Garrett, the politician masquerading as the lead singer of Australia's most socially and environmentally conscious rock band. Read article

Russell Crowe

Australian Women's Weekly :: November 28, 2003

A genius on screen, but maligned for loutish behaviour off it, Russell Crowe is a man who looks back in anger, but mellows when it comes to wife Danielle and his soon-to-be-born son. Read article

Sir Edmund Hillary – The Man Who Conquered Everest

Australian Women's Weekly :: March 28, 2003

Sir Edmund Hillary was a modest New Zealand beekeeper driven by a passion to prove himself, when, aged 33, he defied death and nature's fury to become the first man to conquer Everest Read article

Marcus Blackmore: The Medicine Man

Good Weekend :: December 20, 2014

Marcus Blackmore is the face of an alternative health industry worth billions of dollars. So why have his products earned the ire of leading doctors? Read article

June Newton: The Reluctant Muse

Australian Women's Weekly :: May 28, 2005

June Newton was an actress and a painter, who became famed portrait photographer Alice Springs. She was also the muse and wife of provocative photographer Helmut Newton. Now, some 16 months after his death, June talks about love, sex and her life after Helmut. Read article

Richard Carleton

Good Weekend :: January 7, 1995

He was once hailed as the best political interviewer in Australia and then he joined 60 Minutes. Whatever happened to TV's clever Dick Read article

Who’s Afraid Of Alan Jones

Good Weekend :: November 14, 1998

He led the Wallabies to glory and inspired schoolboys to win glittering prizes. On radio, his words can swing voters, crush hopes and send share prices tumbling. Alan Jones's is a world of credits and debits, loyalty and influence. Play it his way and he's yours for life; cross him and he'll never let you forget it. Read article

Andrew Denton: Dark Side of the Loon

Good Weekend :: January 25, 1997

His sharp mind and quick repartee spark a comedy that is both shocking and hilarious. But stop laughing - under that funnyman exterior, the guy is really serious and sad. Read article

Anna Murdoch: Love, Betrayal and Life after Rupert

Australian Women's Weekly :: July 28, 2001

For 31 years she was married to one of the world's most powerful men, News Corp chief Rupert Murdoch. Since their sudden break-up three years ago, Anna Murdoch Mann has retained a dignified silence. Now, in this exclusive interview, she speaks for the first time about what really happened to their marriage. Read article

Dame Elisabeth Murdoch: Nothing Like a Dame

Australian Women's Weekly :: May 28, 2003

At 94, Dame Elisabeth Murdoch is the modest matriarch of one of the world's most powerful families. Strong and compassionate, spirited and independent, she talks candidly about her son, controversial media mogul, Rupert, her grandchildren and her own remarkable life. Read article

Mary Fairfax

HQ magazine :: February 15, 1991

A figure of romance or vengeance? A Jewess or a Christian? A family maker or an empire breaker. Meet Mary Fairfax, the woman at the centre of an Australian media empire in ruin and a family filled with bad blood. Read article

Shane Warne: The King of Spin

Good Weekend :: October 29, 2011

He's cheated on his wife, his mistress, given into beer and cigarettes, and had an extreme makeover, yet Shane Warne's popularity only climbs upward. David Leser on a celebrity phenomenon. Read article

Oriana Fallaci

HQ magazine :: September 23, 1993

At her height she was one of the most famous - if not the most famous female journalists in the world. Here in this exclusive interview, Oriana Fallaci, talks to David Leser about love, death, writing and the phenomenon of being an Italian superstar Read article

A.D. Hope: The Rime Of The Ancient Bludgeoner

Good Weekend :: January 14, 1989

At eight years of age he had written a 52-stanza poem for his mother on the virtues of Christianity. By the time he died was the patriarch of Australian poetry. Read article

Anjelica Huston – Daughter of a Dynasty

Australian Women's Weekly

Oscar-winning actress Anjelica Huston tells David Leser how she gave up dating rogues such as Jack Nicholson, dealt with the hearbreak of never being a mother and now has an "impossibly happy" relationship. Read article

Asher Keddie: The Girl Who Played Ita

Australian Women's Weekly :: August 28, 2011

From Ita's lisp to Blanche's vulnerability, Asher Keddie has made celebrity roles her own. Yet there's more to this versatile actress than mere mimicry, as David Leser discovers Read article

Who Is Justin Bieber?

Australian Women's Weekly :: June 28, 2011

He's the floppy-haired teen at the top of the pop music tree, but is Justin Bieber a formidable talent or a marketing ploy? Whatever the answer, David Leser discovers that Bieber Fever is here to stay. For a while anyway. Read article

Barbara Blackman: A Poetic Life

Australian Women's Weekly :: January 1, 2005

Writer and poet Barbara Blackman brought up three children, nurtured her artist husband Charles' gift, made their home the hub of Australia's art circle and, she explains here, made her blindness a corridor to a different sort of existence. Read article

Dame Edna Everage wins over the Yanks

Australian Women's Weekly :: September 30, 2001

Superstar housewife Dame Edna Everage has taken the US by storm on a hugely popular tour. Her alter-ego, Barry Humphries, has hidden behind the glasses and glitz for years, but here we enter the mind of Edna's complex Read article

He’s Alright Jack

Good Weekend :: May 29, 2010

He's a wave-riding, solar-powered soft rock phenomenon. David Leser talks to Jack Johnson about how he turned his naturally laid-back lifestyle into a stellar career Read article

Make Love, Not War … Unless You’re My Daughter

Australian Women's Weekly :: May 28, 2011

Richard Neville hit the headlines in the 1960s as the co-founder of Oz magazine and advocate of free love. Yet, as David Leser discovers, when it came to raising his daughters, he was nothing if not prudish. Read article

Margaret Fink

Australian Women's Weekly

Bohemian wild child and friend of the famous and infamous, film producer Margaret Fink talks to David Leser about the highs and lows of her amazing life. Read article

Margaret Olley

Australian Women's Weekly :: February 28, 2008

Amid the eclectic clutter of her home - the source of inspiration for much of her lifetime's work - iconic Australian artist Margaret Olley talks frankly about life, work and growing old Read article

Meryl Streep: The Greatest Actress of Her Time

Australian Women's Weekly :: January 28, 2012

She is being hailed for her portrayal of former British PM Margaret Thatcher, but off-screen, Meryl Streep is a much-loved wife and mother of four. Here she talks to David Leser about life and all its choices. Read article

Neil Finn – Something so strong

Good Weekend in the Weekend Australian :: June 20, 1998

Crowded House seemed unstoppable; then Neil Finn decided to pull the plug and return to New Zealand. David Leser met the singer there and found a man balancing domestic tranquility against the edgy darkness of his own imagination. Read article

Norma Khouri: The Inside Story of a Disgraced Author

Australian Women's Weekly :: February 28, 2007

Feted then demonised, Norma Khouri, author of the best-selling book, Forbidden Love, was revealed as a fake. On the eve of a new film about her, David Leser asks Norma why she conned him and thousands of others. Read article

Paul Kelly

HQ Magazine :: June 2, 1991

His songs make even hard-headed rock veterans weep. Meet Paul Kelly, arguably the finest songwriter Australia has produced. Read article

Piano Forte – Roger Woodward

Good Weekend :: May 19, 1999

Overlooked or overbearing? In search of the real Roger Woodward. To his supporters, he's a pianist's pianist, a brilliant virtuoso, overlooked and misunderstood. To his detractors, he's demanding, obsessive and difficult. Is Roger Woodward his own worst enemy? Read article

Richard Wherrett

Good Weekend

Meet Richard Wherrett, the man they once called Australian theatre's most powerful individual Read article

Robyn Nevin

Australian Women's Weekly :: March 28, 2008

Robyn Nevin is a legend of Australian theatre. David Leser meets the charismatic - and sometimes controversial - actor-director as she prepares to step back on stage in a one-woman play directed by Cate Blanchett Read article

Shay Stafford – Memoirs of an Aussie Showgirl

Australian Womans Weekly :: November 1, 2010

Shay Stafford went from tapping down the aisle at Woolies to twirling in a banana costume in BrisVegas. Yet when she became a showgirl at Paris’ famed Moulin Rouge, she found love. David Leser tells her story. Read article

Slava Grigoryan – The World at his Fingertips

Good Weekend in the Weekend Australian

Slava Grigoryan is a 2O-year-old who drinks, chases girls and plays pool with his mates. He is also a guitar virtuoso who is being hailed as Australia's next John Williams. Read article

Miranda Otto: Truth Seeker

Sunday Life :: February 28, 2016

Miranda Otto's star keeps rising in Hollywood. She speaks to David Leser about re-imagining Ibsen, family and the power of secrets Read article

Irina Baronova: The Dance Of Life

Australian Women's Weekly :: September 28, 2005

Kings and queens, dictators, film stars and giants of the art world have all worshipped at the feet of legendary Russian ballerina Irina Baronova. Here she tells David Leser about her extraordinary and colourful life. Read article

Susan Sarandon

Australian Women's Weekly :: June 28, 2006

Would you fly 31,000 kilometres to spend an hour with someone. David Leser would, but only if that someone was Susan Sarandon Read article

The Art and Life of Judy Cassab

Australian Women's Weekly :: August 28, 2003

Famed for her vivid portraits and major art awards - including two Archibald Prizes - Judy Cassab has survived Nazi persecution, poverty and enjoyed a great, enduring love. Here she reveals her amazing story. Read article

Men At Work

Good Weekend :: July 21, 2012

In the early 1980s, a catchy flute riff helped to propel Men At Work's Down Under to the top of the pop charts across the globe. But nearly 30 years later, as a legal battle over the tune's origin came to a head, the very success of the song was to have tragic implications. Read article

The Bomb Thrower from Lower Snug – the Cassandra Pybus story

Good Weekend in the Weekend Australian :: July 31, 1999

To some, Cassandra Pybus is the fearless, vigilant outsider, a bold exposer of cant and hypocrisy. To her enemies, still reeling from bruising encounters, she is an arrogant troublemaker. Even the writer herself admits to being high-handed. Stand by for her latest literary missile. Read article

Behind The Wire

Australian Women's Weekly :: June 30, 2002

As this story was being prepared a visiting United Nations team had just branded Australia's mandatory detention system a "gross abuse of human rights" and spoken of the "collective depression" affecting detainees. Read article

Death of Innocence: When a Child Kills

Good Weekend :: June 28, 1996

The story of a four week old baby killed by a three year-old. Read article

Farewell My Lovely

Good Weekend :: May 3, 1997

Nehru called Bali "the Morning of the World." Investors, including the Soeharto clan, are calling it a goldmine. As development fever takes over, paradise is in danger of sinking under the weight of garbage and golf balls. Read article

Fatherhood: Bringing Up Boys

Australian Women's Weekly :: August 28, 2004

The path from boyhood to manhood has never been easy, but the current crisis in masculinity is devastating a generation of young men and the society they live in. Read article

Jerusalem: City of Faith

Australian Women's Weekly :: December 20, 2010

A city that has survived a millennia of conflict to be the complex and fascinating place it is today, Jerusalem is like no other city in the world. David Leser reports Read article

Oasis of Peace

Good Weekend :: September 3, 1997

The Jewish child learns to hate and fear the Arab. In his mind the Arab is primitive, calculating and violent. The Arab is bred with similar bigotry. The Jew cannot be trusted. He is the all-conquering outsider. Except In the village of Neve Shalom/Wahat al-Salam which stands as a unique experiment in reconciliation. Read article

The Da Vinci Mode

Good Weekend :: August 25, 2012

He claims to be Leonardo reincarnated, and to hold the secrets to good health. His supporters are convinced, others less so. David Leser meets self-styled healer Serge Benhayon Read article

The Lost Men: When Men Lose Their Jobs

Good Weekend :: March 25, 2000

Once they waited for the gold watch that rewarded years of loyal service. Now they wait for the axe to fall. They're senior white-collar workers in a lean, mean, "downsized" world... and the next job they lose could well be their last. Read article

The Destruction of Tasmania’s Forests

Italian Vanity Fair :: February 13, 2008

Read article

The Naked Truth: Inside the Wonderful World of Nudism

HQ Magazine :: July 29, 1991

David Leser enters the wild and wonderful world of a nudist colony Read article

The Final Siren – The South Sydney Football Club Story

Good Weekend in the Weekend Australian :: November 13, 1999

For most of the 20th century, South Sydney played a never-say-die brand of football, giving a loyal, tight-knit community its memories, its stories and its greatest moments of joy and despair. In the end, the club's nemesis wasn't a marauding opposition pack of forwards, but an implacable corporate juggernaut. Read article

The Sanctuary

Australian Women's Weekly :: January 28, 2008

They may be celebrities or the super-rich but when they go off the rails who do they turn to? David Leser discovers an Australian refuge that nurtures the battered bodies and egos of the seriously rich and famous when their addictions and low self-esteem threaten to overwhelm them. Read article

The Search For Happiness

Australian Women's Weekly :: September 30, 2007

What does it mean to be happy - and where do we find it? David Leser goes in search of glee at an international conference on happiness, to discover there's no single path to a life of contentment. Read article

Welcome to Australia – Down and Out in the Lucky Country

Good Weekend in the Weekend Australian :: September 12, 1998

They came to us full of hope. Skilled, committed migrants, grateful for the invitation. But no-one warned them that the welcome mat had been removed and disaster lay in wait. David Leser uncovers a nation's shameful secret. Read article

What Lies Beneath

Good Weekend :: August 13, 2011

While the exploitation of underground coal seam gas promises riches for energy companies, in many parts of rural Australia it is causing deep uneasiness - and driving an unlikely opposition alliance of green activists and conservative farmers. By David Leser Read article

Two For The Road

Good Weekend :: October 23, 2010

Blame the music, the whiskey or the leprechauns but when David Leser and a friend organise a boys own tour of the Emerald Isle they have the time of the middle of their lives. Read article

Welcome To The Pleasure Dome

Good Weekend :: March 31, 2012

Saturated with sun, sand and sex, Ibiza is renowned as one of the world's hedonistic hot spots. Journeying there expecting one helluva party, David Leser is not in any way disappointed Read article

Australia’s Collar Bomb Hoax

Daily Beast :: August 4, 2011

Sydney authorities worked for 10 hours to free Madeleine Pulver, 18, from a device suspected of being a collar bomb, but turned out to be fake. David Leser on the teenager's ordeal. Read article

Gina Rinehart: Australia’s Iron Lady

Daily Beast/Newsweek :: February 20, 2012

The `Iron Lady' from Down Under brooks no nonsense as she buys into a media empire and closes in on Gates and Buffett Read article

News Corp under fire Down Under

Daily Beast :: July 21, 2011

In Rupert Murdoch's native country, the prime minister has challenged the Australian division of News Corp. But she hasn't yet said what questions she wants answered. Read article

The Anguish of Rupert Murdoch’s Mother

The Daily Beast :: July 20, 2011

Family matriarch Dame Elisabeth Murdoch said his News of the World purchase nearly 'killed me,' and told her son of her concerns about invasion of privacy Read article

Bronwyn Bishop

Saturday Paper :: July 21, 2015

Bronwyn Bishop has never welcomed the kind of scrutiny she applies to others. David Leser reports on Tony Abbot's hand-picked Speaker of the House and the crisis now engulfing her and the federal government Read article

Tony Abbott: Boy or Man, or Maybe Just Wired Differently

Sydney Morning Herald and Melbourne Age :: August 20, 2015

It's hard sometimes to tell a boy from a man, especially when the boy is 58 years old. We need to observe closely how he behaves, listen to what he says, attempt to read his state of mind, before we reach any firm conclusions Read article

Children Overboard

Australian Women's Weekly :: September 28, 2007

In the six years since the `Children Overboard' affair first confronted the nation, nearly all the people on board that overcrowded Indonesian fishing vessel have been given permanent residency in Australia. Most of them live today in Sydney and Melbourne, although a few families have built new lives for themselves in Perth. David Leser speaks to one of the Iraqi asylum seekers and to a young Australian sailor who helped rescue them on that historic day. Read article

Global Warming

Australian Women's Weekly :: February 28, 2007

Global warming has become such a pressing issue that, as governments fail to act, individual Australians are being galvanised into action in a bid to help save the earth. Read article

The Sanctuary

Australian Women's Weekly :: January 28, 2008

They may be celebrities or the super-rich but when they go off the rails who do they turn to? David Leser discovers an Australian refuge that nurtures the battered bodies and egos of the seriously rich and famous when their addictions and low self-esteem threaten to overwhelm them. Read article

The Search For Happiness

Australian Women's Weekly :: September 30, 2007

What does it mean to be happy - and where do we find it? David Leser goes in search of glee at an international conference on happiness, to discover there's no single path to a life of contentment. Read article

The Bali Bombing: Paradise Lost

Australian Women's Weekly :: November 28, 2002

Humanity in the midst of horror, hope in the midst of grief. In the aftermath of the Bali bombings David Leser reflects on the past, present and future of this once carefree holiday island as it takes slow and painful steps towards healing. Read article

Bali: Lest We Forget

Australian Women's Weekly :: September 28, 2003

The Bali bombings killed 202 people, 88 of them Australian. Coming to terms with the tragedy is a journey of mind, body and spirit writes David Leser as the first anniversary approaches. Read article