Is there such thing as a western view of death? The Labor senator reflects on his family history in an effort to understand the random nature of life

My mother, whose name is Ella, likes to tell me about the exact moment she decided she would have me. It was 26 September 1981, and it was the day she was not executed.

“Oh you can’t start a story with that!” my mother says over wine one evening in her inner-western Sydney home. “It’s so glum. How about the story of coming to Australia? Start on 16 January 1988.”

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