editorial   December 2, 2023

To spite one’s face

The proverb first appeared in Latin sometime before 1191. Male ulciscitur dedecus sibi illatum, qui amputat nasum suum (He who cuts off his nose takes poor revenge for a shame inflicted on him). … Most recently, it is a useful description of Labor’s approach to the stage three tax cuts.

editorial   November 25, 2023

Black and white and scared all over

Peter Dutton is first and always a cop. He sees the world in terms of threats and he sees all threats as opportunities. Despite appearances, he is always looking for an angle.

editorial   November 18, 2023

The asylum suture

The legislation that follows is always thin and a little scabby. It’s always a suture. Over time the whole Migration Act has become like this, patched up and half-healed.

editorial   November 11, 2023

The great pretend

This week, one of the great pretendings of Australian life came to an end. The made-up logic of Al-Kateb v Godwin was finally undone. The High Court confronted the spurious logic of indefinite detention and found it to be unlawful.

editorial   November 4, 2023

Truth or dare

There’s a glint of excitement in John Howard’s eye, as if he’s found a lolly in his pocket. His brows hop up and down. His hands clasp his legs. He is saying out loud something he has long thought.

editorial   October 28, 2023

Reopening Nauru

The disclosure contained fewer syllables than the number of people trapped within it. The line was as short and unwilling as a secret: “There are currently 13 on Nauru.”

editorial   October 21, 2023

The shrunken backyard

Just as the history wars were fought as proxy, the referendum campaign borrowed one prejudice to express another. They were all worms in the same apple, chewing at the same mealy flesh. The enemy was always change.

editorial   October 14, 2023

Mothball politics

Lyle Shelton is a camphorous little man, a mothball in the drawer of Australian culture. He has been on the losing side of most debates in the past decade. It is sad to see him among the likely winners.

editorial   October 7, 2023

Tight-shirted rage

The interesting part is the condemnation. Sky News describes the video as “disturbing”. It says it was made by “a neo-Nazi group”. The Australian calls it “racially charged” and a “Nazi horror”. Peter Dutton denounced it as “quite horrific” and “unhinged”.

editorial   September 30, 2023

Toy soldiers

The word most used to describe Mike Pezzullo is “obsessive”. He has the cunning of a stoat. He loves military history and regards himself a student of war. As a child, he imagined his toys fighting.

editorial   September 23, 2023

Uninquiring minds

The rub is hidden in a line only slightly longer than a haiku. The inquiry will look at all aspects of the pandemic except: “actions taken unilaterally by state and territory governments”. In those eight words are 3000 people locked in commission flats and an entire city under curfew.