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 and the Daily Beast. Here is a selection of his more memorable pieces.
Ayaan Hirsi Ali: Enemy of Islam
Australian Women’s Weekly :: 28-06-2007
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.
The Revolutionary with the Golden Tongue – The Hanan Ashrawi Story
HQ Magazine :: 01-02-1994
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.
Rising Out of the Ashes: The story of Ingrid Betancourt
Australian Women’s Weekly :: 28-08-2011
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
The Life and Death of Florence Broadhurst
Australian Women’s Weekly :: 28-07-2006
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.
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
Helen Clark: Yes Prime Minister
Australian Women’s Weekly :: 28-10-2001
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.
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
Collette Dinnigan: An Australian in Paris
Australian Women’s Weekly :: 28-11-2005
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.
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.
Vanessa Gorman: A Gift From Layla
Australian Women’s Weekly :: 28-09-2002
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.
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
Good Weekend :: 30-11-1996
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?
Janet Holmes a Court: The Time of Her Life
Australian Women’s Weekly :: 28-02-2005
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.
Petrea King – An Angel on Earth
Australian Womans Weekly :: 01-01-2011
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.
The McCartney Sisters: Sisters In Arms
Australian Women’s Weekly :: 28-11-2005
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.
Malika Oufkir: From a Palace to a Prison
Australian Women’s Weekly :: 28-11-2001
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.
Fran Peavey and the Politics of the Heart
Good Weekend :: 20-05-1998
Founder of the international movement, Heart Politics, Fran Peavey is delicious, living proof that agents for social change come in all shapes and sizes.
Gina Rinehart and Rose Porteous: A Battle of Wills
Good Weekend :: 04-04-1998
It’s the family feud to end them all. The lonely rich-girl daughter versus the flashy widow; claims and counterclaims of deathbed bullying; stolen wills and adulterous plotting. At stake? The vast mining empire of Lang Hancock. But after six poisonous years and endless legal wars, is either woman closer to the spoils?
Our Richest Woman’s Family Feud
Australian Women’s Weekly :: 28-01-2012
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.
Fiona Stanley: The Children’s Champion
Australian Women’s Weekly :: 01-01-2004
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.
Australian Women’s Weekly :: 28-09-2006
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.
Fiona Wood: Thank God for Fiona
Australian Women’s Weekly :: 28-10-2005
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.
Xena, Warrior Princess
Good Weekend :: 30-01-1999
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.
Good Weekend :: 26-05-2012
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
Good Weekend :: 14-05-2011
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
Julian Assange – Wikileaks’ Man On The Run
Italian Vanity Fair (with translation) :: 05-01-2011
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.
Sydney Morning Herald :: 10-09-1998
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.
Australian Women’s Weekly :: 28-11-2003
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.
HQ magazine :: 03-11-1990
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.
Peter and The Wolves
Good Weekend :: 12-08-2009
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
HQ :: 08-09-1991
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.
Sir Edmund Hillary: The Man Who Conquered Everest
Australian Women’s Weekly :: 28-03-2003
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
Paul Hogan: The Accidental Actor
Australian Women’s Weekly :: 28-03-2004
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.
Sydney Morning Herald :: 03-09-1998
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.
Michael Kroger – The Player
Good Weekend :: 06-12-1997
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
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.
Good Weekend :: 13-11-1995
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
Good Weekend :: 10-10-1995
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.
Eckhart Tolle and the Power of Now
Australian Women’s Weekly :: 28-01-2009
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.
Mordechai Vanunu – The Man They Won’t Set Free
Good Weekend :: 25-09-1999
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.
Good Weekend :: 07-01-1995
He was once hailed as the best political interviewer in Australia and then he joined 60 Minutes. Whatever happened to TV’s clever Dick
Andrew Denton: Dark Side of the Loon
Good Weekend :: 25-01-1997
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.
HQ magazine :: 15-02-1991
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.
HQ magazine :: 23-09-1993
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
Who’s Afraid Of Alan Jones
Good Weekend :: 14-11-1998
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.
Anna Murdoch: Love, Betrayal and Life after Rupert
Australian Women’s Weekly :: 28-07-2001
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.
Dame Elisabeth Murdoch: Nothing Like a Dame
Australian Women’s Weekly :: 28-05-2003
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.
June Newton: The Reluctant Muse
Australian Women’s Weekly :: 28-05-2005
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.
The King of Spin
Good Weekend :: 29-10-2011
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.
Irina Baronova: The Dance Of Life
Australian Women’s Weekly :: 28-09-2005
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.
Who Is Justin Bieber?
Australian Women’s Weekly :: 28-06-2011
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.
Barbara Blackman: A Poetic Life
Australian Women’s Weekly :: 01-01-2005
Writer and poet Barbara Blackman brought up three children, nurtured her artist husband Charles’ gift, made their home the hub of Australia’s art clrcle and, she explains here, made her blindness a corridor to a different sort of existence.
The Art and Life of Judy Cassab
Australian Women’s Weekly :: 28-08-2003
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.
Dame Edna Everage wins over the Yanks
Australian Women’s Weekly :: 30-09-2001
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 comlex.
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.
Neil Finn – Something so strong
Good Weekend in the Weekend Australian :: 20-06-1998
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.
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.
A.D. Hope: The Rime Of The Ancient Bludgeoner
Good Weekend :: 14-01-1989
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.
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.
HE’S ALRIGHT JACK
Good Weekend :: 29-05-2010
He’s a wave-riding, solar-powered soft rock phenomenon. David Leser talks to Jack Johnson about how he turned his naturally laidback lifestyle into a stellar career
Asher Keddie: The Girl Who Played Ita
Australian Women’s Weekly :: 28-08-2011
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
HQ Magazine :: 02-06-1991
His songs make even hard-headed rock veterans weep. Meet Paul Kelly, arguably the finest songwriter Australia has produced.
Norma Khouri: The Inside Story of a Disgraced Author
Australian Women’s Weekly :: 28-02-2007
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.
Make Love, Not War … Unless You’re My Daughter
Australian Women’s Weekly :: 28-05-2011
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.
Australian Women’s Weekly :: 28-03-2008
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
Australian Women’s Weekly :: 28-02-2008
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
The Bomb Thrower from Lower Snug – the Cassandra Pybus story
Good Weekend in the Weekend Australian :: 31-07-1999
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.
Australian Women’s Weekly :: 28-06-2006
Would you fly 31,000 kilometres to spend an hour with someone. David Leser would, but only if that someone was Susan Sarandon
Shay Stafford – Memoirs of an Aussie Showgirl
Australian Womans Weekly :: 01-11-2010
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.
Meryl Streep: The Greatest Actress of Her Time
Australian Women’s Weekly :: 28-01-2012
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.
Meet Richard Wherrett, the man they once called Australian theatre’s most powerful individual
Piano Forte – Roger Woodward
Good Weekend :: 19-05-1999
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?
Australian Women’s Weekly :: 28-09-2007
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.
Australian Women’s Weekly :: 28-02-2007
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.
Australian Women’s Weekly :: 28-01-2008
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.
The Search For Happiness
Australian Women’s Weekly :: 30-09-2007
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.
The Bali Bombing: Paradise Lost
Australian Women’s Weekly :: 28-11-2002
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.
Bali: Lest We Forget
Australian Women’s Weekly :: 28-09-2003
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.
Fatherhood: Bringing Up Boys
Australian Women’s Weekly :: 28-08-2004
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.
Behind The Wire
Australian Women’s Weekly :: 30-06-2002
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.
Oasis of Peace: An experiment in Middle East peace-making
Good Weekend :: 03-09-1997
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.
The Destruction of Tasmania’s Forests
Italian Vanity Fair :: 13-02-2008
Death of Innocence: When a Child Kills
Good Weekend :: 28-06-1996
The story of a four week old baby killed by a three year-old.
The Naked Truth: Inside the Wonderful World of Nudism
HQ Magazine :: 29-07-1991
David Leser enters the wild and wonderful world of a nudist colony
Jerusalem: City of Faith
Australian Women’s Weekly :: 20-12-2010
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
Two For The Road
Good Weekend :: 23-10-2010
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.
Farewell My Lovely
Good Weekend :: 03-05-1997
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.
Welcome to Australia – Down and Out in the Lucky Country
Good Weekend in the Weekend Australian :: 12-09-1998
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.
The Final Siren – The South Sydney Football Club Story
Good Weekend in the Weekend Australian :: 13-11-1999
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.
The Lost Men: When Men Lose Their Jobs
Good Weekend :: 25-03-2000
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.
What Lies Beneath
Good Weekend :: 13-08-2011
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.
Welcome To The Pleasure Dome
Good Weekend :: 31-03-2012
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
Book launch of Death and Dying
Byron Bay Writer’s Festival :: 09-08-2009
David Leser’s launch of “The Intimacy of Death and Dying,” by Claire Leimbach, Trypheyna McShane and Zenith Virago
Gina Rinehart: Australia’s Iron Lady
Daily Beast/Newsweek :: 20-02-2012
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
The Anguish of Rupert Murdoch’s Mother
The Daily Beast :: 20-07-2011
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
News Corp under fire Down Under
Daily Beast :: 21-07-2011
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
Australia’s Collar Bomb Hoax
Daily Beast :: 04-08-2011
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