Good Weekend's best features of 2020

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Good Weekend's best features of 2020

Every year, Good Weekend publishes the definitive stories on the people, places and issues that matter to Australians. Here, we revisit some of our reader favourites from 2020.

Dan Andrews: “When you’re tested, it really does find you out … People are smart. You’ve got to be respectful and share your plans. And you need to believe in what you are saying.”

Dan Andrews: “When you’re tested, it really does find you out … People are smart. You’ve got to be respectful and share your plans. And you need to believe in what you are saying.”Credit:Kristoffer Paulsen

Not happy, Dan: Victoria's Premier cops a pandemic pounding

Dictator Dan or Dan The Man? Dan Andrews was at the top of his game for almost six years: a masterful politician and popular premier with a bold agenda and knack for crisis leadership. Then COVID-19 turned the tide.

Wilderness in Victoria. In the words of David Attenborough: 
“We depend upon the natural world for every mouthful of food we eat and every lungful of air we breathe.”

Wilderness in Victoria. In the words of David Attenborough: “We depend upon the natural world for every mouthful of food we eat and every lungful of air we breathe.”Credit:Getty Images

Call of the wild: listen up, people, time is running out

For decades, humans have been ignoring Mother Nature’s warnings about the future of the planet. Exactly how loudly does she have to scream?

Hannah Clarke with her children (from left: Laianah, Trey and Aaliyah).

Hannah Clarke with her children (from left: Laianah, Trey and Aaliyah). Credit: Courtesy of Hannah Clarke's family and friends

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'Intimate terrorism': why the murders of Hannah, Aaliyah, Laianah and Trey must spark change

Rowan Baxter had barely ever laid a hand on his wife Hannah Clarke – until he set fire to her and their three kids on a suburban Brisbane street in February. The crime shocked the country, and strengthened calls to criminalise coercive control.

Bachar Houli: "I didn’t think about representing this large community. But as people remind you, you start realising you’re representing something greater than yourself."

Bachar Houli: "I didn’t think about representing this large community. But as people remind you, you start realising you’re representing something greater than yourself."Credit:Julian Kingma/Penguin Random House

'I don't crave the battle': the different goals that keep triple flag-winner Bachar Houli playing

Bachar Houli entered the AFL 14 years ago as its first orthodox Muslim. With the quiet strength of his faith and the beauty of his play, he’s changed the way the game understands itself.

Through her production house, Nicole Kidman has the opportunity to offer more diverse perspectives: “It becomes such a richer tapestry. And it’s far more reflective of what we’re living."

Through her production house, Nicole Kidman has the opportunity to offer more diverse perspectives: “It becomes such a richer tapestry. And it’s far more reflective of what we’re living."Credit:Steven Chee @stevenchee @dlm_au

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'I get terrified it's going to happen again': the fear behind Nicole's relentless drive

From A-list actor to one of Hollywood’s most sought after TV producers, Nicole Kidman’s high-flying life is one to envy. Yet behind the scenes the Aussie superstar also harbours regrets – and fears.

Hugh Evans of Global Citizen, whose recent One World: Together at Home concert raised $184 million. “It was pure chance that I was born where I was born,” he says of his upbringing in prosperous Australia.

Hugh Evans of Global Citizen, whose recent One World: Together at Home concert raised $184 million. “It was pure chance that I was born where I was born,” he says of his upbringing in prosperous Australia.Credit:Ben Sklar

The Melbourne charity king with Lady Gaga, Rihanna and Hugh Jackman on speed dial

During a night spent sleeping on a garbage dump in a Manila slum, Melbourne schoolboy Hugh Evans made a vow: he’d end global poverty. Two decades on, the Manhattan-based charity supremo has celebrities and politicians clamouring to help.

The dominant themes of Jacinda Ardern’s responses to tragedies are love and kindness, not anger and vengeance – and that has proved appealing to the world beyond NZ.

The dominant themes of Jacinda Ardern’s responses to tragedies are love and kindness, not anger and vengeance – and that has proved appealing to the world beyond NZ.Credit:Djeneba Aduayom/Headpress

The leader's not for #turning: is Jacinda Ardern really the future of liberal democracy?

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Dealing with three catastrophes in her first term played well for Jacinda Ardern, whose keen emotional intelligence saw her lauded globally as a new kind of leader. However, she’ll have to deliver some big policy successes to keep the Kiwis happy.

Matthew Knott, US correspondent for The Age and The Sydney Morning Herald, on the Manhattan rooftop he plunged from in June.

Matthew Knott, US correspondent for The Age and The Sydney Morning Herald, on the Manhattan rooftop he plunged from in June.Credit:Ben Sklar

'I was howling in pain': how falling five storeys from a New York rooftop changed my life

One minute Matthew Knott was gazing at the New York skyline, the next he was plummeting five storeys to the ground to an almost certain death.It’s the sort of event that would alter any person’s view on life.

A member of the University of Queensland’s vaccine team, which was already working on a “rapid response” vaccine technology when the pandemic hit.

A member of the University of Queensland’s vaccine team, which was already working on a “rapid response” vaccine technology when the pandemic hit.Credit:Glenn Hunt

One shot to change the world

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Don’t believe the doubters. In labs around the country, Australian scientists are confident that a vaccine for COVID-19 can be found – and sooner than we think.

Cam and Sam Bloom with Frankie the currawong, one of the family’s current feathered friends.

Cam and Sam Bloom with Frankie the currawong, one of the family’s current feathered friends.Credit:Tim Bauer

Flying higher: a magpie rescued a family. That was just the beginning

A terrible accident changed Sam Bloom’s life forever. Then came a magpie, and a bestselling book published in 13 languages. Now there’s another book – and a film starring Naomi Watts.

In 2020, a shattered mirror is being held up to the United States - a fractured country.

In 2020, a shattered mirror is being held up to the United States - a fractured country.Credit:Dominic Lorrimer

Altered States: how a superpower stopped being great

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From Morning in America to American Carnage, the sweep of history suggests Donald Trump’s presidency is more culmination than aberration.

Dusty Miller, a member of the Special Air Service Regiment and a combat medic, served in Afghanistan in 2012 on a mission that has defined his life ever since.

Dusty Miller, a member of the Special Air Service Regiment and a combat medic, served in Afghanistan in 2012 on a mission that has defined his life ever since.

One last mission

In 2012, an unarmed Afghan farmer was shot by a member of Australia's most elite military regiment. What happened next haunted combat medic Dusty Miller for years – setting him off on an emotional journey of atonement.

Headlights snaked up the driveway. I waited. He came into the bedroom, took off his shoes and lay face down on the bed. “I don’t want to be like this,” he said.

Headlights snaked up the driveway. I waited. He came into the bedroom, took off his shoes and lay face down on the bed. “I don’t want to be like this,” he said.Credit:Getty Images

'I nearly threw up': discovering an ex-husband's horrific secret

A woman's marriage had already unravelled. Then just as she was getting her life back on track, a phone call knocked her for six.

“I don’t miss the politics of politics, if you know what I mean,” says Malcolm Turnbull of leaving Canberra. “I miss government, I miss being able to make policy, make decisions.”

“I don’t miss the politics of politics, if you know what I mean,” says Malcolm Turnbull of leaving Canberra. “I miss government, I miss being able to make policy, make decisions.”Credit:Nic Walker

In his own words: Malcolm Turnbull on old battles, personal and political, and new beginnings

In public, Malcolm Turnbull is known for his intellect, his wealth and his ruthless decimation of adversaries. In private, he’s battled depression and suicidal thoughts. Learning to conquer those demons helped fortify him after his brutal ousting as prime minister – but that doesn’t mean he’s letting his enemies off the hook.

Scores of magazine titles have closed across the country.

Scores of magazine titles have closed across the country.Credit:Dominic Lorrimer and Brendan Esposito, Digital Illustration by Igor Morski/illustrationroom.com.au

How a German media company brought Australia’s greatest magazine empire to its knees

For decades, the ACP magazine empire soared as it helped teach Australians to cook, dress, talk royalty, flirt and supercharge our sex lives. Then came the internet, new owners – and a startling freefall.

Daniel Craig appears for the fifth and final time as James Bond in No Time to Die – with rumours his character may even be killed off.

Daniel Craig appears for the fifth and final time as James Bond in No Time to Die – with rumours his character may even be killed off.Credit:Nicola Dove

It seemed as if nothing could stop James Bond, but then came a novel enemy ... the coronavirus

An on-set explosion. Creative differences. #MeToo. The latest blockbuster in the 007 film franchise has faced its share of challenges. Will No Time to Die live up to its name?

To read more from Good Weekend magazine, visit our page at The Sydney Morning Herald, The Age and Brisbane Times.

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