Karen Middleton

is The Saturday Paper’s chief political correspondent.

By this author


News May 07, 2022

Liberal polling predicts losses for Josh Frydenberg and Tim Wilson

As majority government looks further out of reach for the Coalition, internal polling suggests prominent Liberals will lose their seats.

podcast May 06, 2022

The Vote Panel: Everyone is promising houses

As we close in on election day, housing affordability has become a central issue of this campaign. People’s mortgages are going up and it could put upward pressure on rents. So, how are cost of living pressures factoring into the decision voters will make in just two weeks time?

News April 30, 2022

Election ’22: Labor resets as Albanese returns

The election race is reset as Labor leader Anthony Albanese rejoins the fray, with both sides working to sharpen their focus on key demographics and messages.

News April 30, 2022

Exclusive: Defence review questions Afghanistan war deaths

A review of Australia’s involvement in Afghanistan questions whether soldiers’ deaths helped strategic outcomes and calls for ongoing royal commission-like powers to prevent misconduct.

podcast April 29, 2022

The Vote Panel: Three weeks in and it’s all about to start

Today, Anthony Albanese is set to end his isolation and return to the campaign trail after he tested positive for Covid-19 last week. As he returns to campaigning in-person, the cost of living has become an even more pressing election issue and a deal between China and The Solomon Islands has opened up a surprising avenue of attack on the Coalition.

News April 23, 2022

Katherine Deves preselection ‘another Hawke game’

After a week dominated by the anti-trans views of Scott Morrison’s candidate for Warringah, it has emerged his proxies misled moderates about the captain’s pick.

News April 16, 2022

Can Albanese overcome a messy start to the election campaign?

After a messy first week, it’s increasingly clear that the election campaign will be about the authenticity of the leaders.

News April 16, 2022

Exclusive: Harassment claims against another Liberal MP

As a former government staffer moves to settle a $500,000 complaint over mistreatment, new details emerge of sexual harassment she allegedly suffered from another Liberal MP.

podcast April 12, 2022

The Vote: Who is Anthony Albanese?

With an election called, Labor leader Anthony Albanese has six weeks to convince Australia he would make a better prime minister than Scott Morrison. The challenge is to avoid the mistakes of the last Labor election campaign, but as a small target, can he still be inspiring enough to win over voters?

News April 09, 2022

Exclusive: Fresh details in Morrison preselection saga

Before being rolled by Scott Morrison for preselection in the safe seat of Cook, Michael Towke was made a clandestine operative for the Liberal right, with Alex Hawke acting as his ‘handler’.

podcast April 06, 2022

The true story of how Scott Morrison got to parliament

Fifteen years after winning the safe seat of Cook, the true story of Scott Morrison’s ugly preselection fight can now be revealed. For the first time, statutory declarations show how Morrison allegedly used race and religion to undermine a rival.

News April 02, 2022

‘Actually a Moslem’: The true story of Morrison’s ruthless preselection

After 15 years without answers, a series of statutory declarations finally reveals how race and allegations of  ‘criminal’ activities were used in Scott Morrison’s controversial preselection.

Life March 26, 2022

When the phone rings

A series of tests led to an unexpected cancer diagnosis and a summer reflecting on life, luck and the diligence of two doctors.

News February 26, 2022

Morrison moves to firm up leadership

As the Supreme Court is called on to settle preselection fights ahead of  the election, Scott Morrison is attempting to hold together the Liberal Party.

News February 19, 2022

Liberal MP says room for 15,000 Afghans

Faith groups met with Alex Hawke this week to push for a commitment on accepting Afghan refugees.

News February 19, 2022

Liberal MPs push for Frydenberg to step up

Key Liberal figures are pressing the case for Josh Frydenberg in a leadership ballot, worried by the prospect of Peter Dutton replacing Scott Morrison.

News February 12, 2022

Exclusive: PM planned not to deliver abuse apology

Scott Morrison intended to leave his abuse apology to the presiding officers, as he warned colleagues ‘if you take my legs out … you will suffer’.

podcast February 10, 2022

The power struggle threatening Scott Morrison’s re-election

Today, chief political correspondent for The Saturday Paper, Karen Middleton on the power struggle within the Liberal Party that is threatening their re-election chances.

News February 05, 2022

Inside the Liberal Party’s open warfare

As a deal over Liberal preselections falls apart, there is a suggestion Alex Hawke is trying to engineer a crisis and force a federal takeover of the NSW division.

News January 29, 2022

Strategists believe the election will be won on character

Pre-election advertising and strategy show both sides believe the campaign will be fought on the issue of  character.

News December 18, 2021

Strange forces holding back the economy

A cascade of curious shortages – from pallets to shipping containers to urea used in fuel – is complicating the government’s positive economic outlook.

News December 11, 2021

Coalition targets Jewish voters in Goldstein, Wentworth

Spending on ads attacking Labor over Israel outstrips almost all other Liberal spots so far.

News December 11, 2021

The Liberal pushing for an integrity commission

John Alexander wants the attorney-general to build a new cross-party integrity commission, worried the issue will ‘end up like climate change’.

podcast December 08, 2021

The toxic culture in Parliament House

Karen Middleton on what the Jenkins Report tells us about Australia’s political culture, and why it’s taking so long to change.

News December 04, 2021

Exclusive: Barnaby Joyce warns drunk MPs after Jenkins report

As Barnaby Joyce warned his colleagues against getting caught when drunk in public, it has emerged Scott Morrison removed references to respect from the ministerial code of conduct.

podcast December 01, 2021

The proposed law that could legalise discrimination

Karen Middleton on what the religious discrimination bill actually entails, and why Scott Morrison is so desperate to pass it.

News November 27, 2021

What the religious discrimination bill is really about

The Morrison government’s religious discrimination bill is being rushed into parliament ahead of the election, although it fails to clarify key aspects of discrimination, including the treatment of queer school students.

News November 20, 2021

Afghanistan once more a terrorism threat

Key military and diplomatic figures have admitted that Afghanistan could again become a hub for terrorist activity.

News November 20, 2021

Election map: the seats where it will be won

As the Coalition and Labor assess which seats they may win or lose at the election, character is becoming the central plank of the campaign.

News November 13, 2021

Australia to allow visas for trapped Afghans to expire

Australia will let emergency visas expire for those still in Afghanistan, as it emerges the US was consulted on evacuation a month before Kabul’s ‘unexpected’ fall.

News November 06, 2021

The two stories of the Glasgow climate summit

Just like its pavilion at the Glasgow climate summit, Australia is awkwardly wedged between the two realities emerging at COP26.

News November 06, 2021

Inside Scott Morrison’s election strategy

As Scott Morrison moves to an election footing, he is basing his strategy around trust – hoping to relate it to economics rather than honesty.

News October 30, 2021

How it happened: the Nats and net zero

The Coalition’s commitment to net zero does not come with new laws, but the nature of the agreement embeds the target in at least two pieces of legislation.

News October 23, 2021

Three interpreters killed in Afghanistan

The Australian government’s emergency 449 visas are set to expire, as another ex-ADF interpreter has been reported dead.

News October 23, 2021

Coalition attempts to wedge Labor on immigration

As Christian Porter is protected in the house of representatives, details have emerged of Alex Hawke’s attempt to wedge Labor on immigration.

podcast October 21, 2021

The corruption inquiry exposing Labor’s culture

Karen Middleton on what the inquiry is actually about, and what the consequences might be for the Labor party both in Victoria and federally.

News October 16, 2021

What are the Labor IBAC hearings actually about?

As federal Labor MP Anthony Byrne is embroiled in Victoria’s branch-stacking probe, the party is watching to see who else may be called to testify in front of the commission.

News October 16, 2021

Clock ticks for the Nationals on climate

The Nationals meet on Sunday to decide their climate change policy, although some members worry Barnaby Joyce has already done a deal with Scott Morrison.

News October 09, 2021

Federal integrity commission could cover Christian Porter’s blind trust

Amanda Stoker, assistant minister to the attorney-general, has raised new questions about whether a federal integrity commission would cover Christian Porter’s blind trust.

News September 25, 2021

Under the surface of Australia’s submarine deal

Hours before cancelling a $90 billion contract for French submarines, Australia was still telling the company to proceed with design – but the plan to renege had been in the works since 2019.

podcast September 22, 2021

Why Labor is sending Keneally to Cabramatta

Over the past few weeks an internal brawl over who will represent the Labor party in the western Sydney seat of Fowler at the next federal election has been playing out in public. The move to parachute in a high profile Labor frontbencher, who doesn’t live in the seat, has exposed the rifts and rivalries within the party.

News September 18, 2021

Scott Morrison’s intervention in Afghanistan evacuation

An evacuation flight was delayed for 45 minutes by the prime minister, hours before the airport was bombed.

News September 18, 2021

Inside Kristina Keneally’s preselection battle

Hidden behind the ugly preselection fight in the seat of Fowler is a factional battle over the Labor Party’s future leadership.

podcast September 15, 2021

What have we learned from the War on Terror?

The anniversary of 9/11 this week, along with the withdrawal of U.S. troops from Afghanistan, has seen politicians, military leaders and the public reflect on the past two decades.

Opinion September 11, 2021

After the war on terror

“After the September 11 attacks, America was a nation bent on revenge. What is less understandable is why, in its planning for a war that lasted two decades, there was no reflection on anything but that. Now the same absence of reflection looks like prevailing …”

News September 11, 2021

Government agencies worked against each other in Kabul evacuation

Reports from the ground show people with valid visas were forced back at the airport, amid allegations of a politicised process for claims.

News September 04, 2021

What is behind Morrison’s positive shift?

While the government pivots to upbeat messaging and the AMA calls for greater honesty around reopening, the Doherty Institute modelling shows that lockdowns may continue, even at high vaccination rates.

podcast September 02, 2021

What went wrong with Australia’s withdrawal from Afghanistan

What went wrong with Australia’s withdrawal plan and what it means for those trapped in Afghanistan.

News August 28, 2021

Exclusive: Intelligence misjudged fall of Kabul by months

As sources describe the ‘chaos’ of Australia’s evacuation from Afghanistan, months of military intelligence failed to forecast the timing or nature of Kabul’s collapse.

podcast August 23, 2021

What’s next for Afghanistan

After twenty years of war, invasion and occupation, US and Australian defence personnel have finally withdrawn, ending one of the longest military engagements in modern history. The Taliban swept the country, seizing the capital, Kabul, and retaking control.

News August 21, 2021

Exit Afghanistan: fear and retribution as Taliban takes control

As the Taliban takes control of Afghanistan, people connected to the West and trapped in the country describe scenes of fear and violent retribution.

News August 14, 2021

New powers to spy on Australian citizens criticised for overreach

The government’s new security powers have been harshly criticised for overreach and the vagueness of their drafting.

News August 14, 2021

Legal loss a blow for Morrison secrecy

A scathing rebuke in the Administrative Appeals Tribunal could have far-reaching consequences for Scott Morrison’s secret committees.

News August 07, 2021

Buying the Leppington Triangle

New documents show how the government came to pay 10 times the market value for the Leppington Triangle in Western Sydney.

News August 07, 2021

Morrison approached Tabcorp for Covid-19 lottery

As Labor tries to capture the debate over vaccine incentives, the Morrison government has been working on a possible lottery.

News July 31, 2021

Home care and vaccination

A September bottleneck is looming for Covid-19 vaccinations, as another at-risk group is revealed as having been essentially forgotten in the rollout plan.

News July 24, 2021

The car park fund was ‘a rort’

As more details emerge about the government’s car park fund, a former departmental officer describes it as ‘a rort’.

News July 24, 2021

The militarisation of the public service

The government’s appointment of a three-star general to head the vaccine rollout is part of a larger trend that risks politicising the Defence Force.

podcast July 22, 2021

The debate over vaccinating children

Throughout this pandemic one group in particular have been at the forefront of key policy debates: young people. But as we’ve learnt more about the virus, a new fault-line has emerged: the question of how and when to vaccinate young people.

News July 17, 2021

Next frontier: The case for vaccinating schoolchildren

Childhood vaccination has still not been put on the agenda of national cabinet, but it is the next big focus of the pandemic.

News July 10, 2021

Rush to fix ‘unlawful’ list

EXCLUSIVE: For 20 years, Australia has listed terrorists whose assets can be frozen – although it appears to have done so unlawfully. The error was discovered as the scheme was being expanded to cover cyber attacks.

podcast July 07, 2021

The $660 million election slush fund

A scathing new report has found that in the lead-up to the last election the federal government spent more than half a billion dollars on infrastructure projects heavily targeted to seats held by the Coalition, or seats they were trying to win.

News July 07, 2021

The government’s ‘fine line’ on AstraZeneca

Following Scott Morrison’s surprise announcement on AstraZeneca eligibility, the government rushed to update health advice. But questions remain about hesitancy and confusion.

News July 03, 2021

Car park slush fund among worst breaches

While the government’s $660 million fund had no eligibility criteria, a press release was deemed ‘relevant authority’.

News June 26, 2021

Part Two: Selling arms

A desire for Australia to become a top-10 weapons exporter is partly strategic and partly a rhetorical flourish.

News June 19, 2021

Part One: Australia’s big spending on war machines

Australia is undertaking an extraordinary military expansion, but there are questions about what is being bought and the skills of the people doing the buying. This is part one of a two-part series.

podcast June 10, 2021

It’s textbook ‘how not to run a war’

After 20 years of war, Australia gave three days’ notice before closing its embassy in Kabul. But the decision leaves hundreds of local staff vulnerable to retaliation by the Taliban.

News June 05, 2021

Exclusive: US warned Australia on Kabul closure

The Morrison government’s decision to close its embassy in Afghanistan with little warning has sparked concern from America, not least because of the threat the Taliban poses to local staff.

News May 29, 2021

Tracing paper trail of Brittany Higgins’ alleged assault

Senior officials faced further questions this week about their handling of Brittany Higgins’ allegation that she was raped by a colleague in Parliament House.

News May 22, 2021

Senator challenges cabinet secrecy

Scott Morrison is using a special arrangement to keep the workings of his government secret, but independent senator Rex Patrick has launched a challenge to its legality.

News May 15, 2021

Business leaders push back against ‘fortress Australia’

As the government concedes Australia’s borders can’t reopen until mid-2022, concern is growing about damage to our reputation internationally.

podcast May 12, 2021

Josh Frydenberg’s big-spending budget

Federal Treasurer Josh Frydenberg has handed down what is expected to be the government’s last budget before the next federal election.

News May 08, 2021

Exclusive: Howard minister slams ban on India returnees

Following the prime minister’s ban on Australian citizens returning from India, Fran Bailey has called the decision abhorrent and an indictment on the government.

podcast May 03, 2021

The government vs. Grace Tame

The Morrison government has ordered an urgent review of the Australian of the Year award process. It denies the review is linked to Grace Tame’s appointment, but comes after criticism from the outspoken Australian of the Year.

News May 01, 2021

‘Visceral’ response to Pezzullo in Defence

Despite bellicose Anzac Day remarks, Mike Pezzullo may not head to Defence, but could replace Phil Gaetjens.

News May 01, 2021

Exclusive: Government review follows Tame appointment

The Morrison government has launched an urgent review of the Australia Day Council but denies a link to the 2021 win of outspoken advocate Grace Tame.

podcast April 28, 2021

What Peter Dutton did next

Peter Dutton has long been one of the most controversial ministers in the federal government. Now, at a time of rising global tension, especially in our region, he’s become the minister for Defence.

News April 24, 2021

How Peter Dutton will transform Defence

The new Defence minister made his mark this week, blocking a recommendation of the war crimes inquiry to strip special forces soldiers of a coveted award. The move has some worried he could further politicise Defence.

News April 17, 2021

Ramping up the vaccine rollout

The states and territories are demanding additional funding from the federal government in exchange for their stepping in to get the beleaguered vaccine rollout back on track.

News April 17, 2021

How Christine Holgate lost her job trying to save Australia Post

The fallen chief executive says the government planned to privatise the national mail carrier to boost its own bottom line. But Christine Holgate had other plans.

News April 10, 2021

The [email protected] response

The federal government has finally addressed the Respect @ Work report. Its delayed response has been cautiously welcomed by those who hope for real change.

News April 03, 2021

Exclusive: While women marched, the PM was doing factional deals

As questions grow about the government’s handling of both sexual assault claims and the vaccine rollout, Scott Morrison has been focused on shoring up his numbers.

News March 27, 2021

Higgins police inquiry may extend to parliamentary ‘cover-up’

As further reports of abusive sexual behaviour emerge from parliament, the AFP may be investigating the aftermath of Brittany Higgins’ alleged rape.

News March 20, 2021

Harassment and federal parliament

Politicians and their staff still have no mandatory bullying or harassment training, despite a 2012 legal undertaking made in the settlement of James Ashby’s sexual harassment claim.

News March 13, 2021

Federal agencies seek more powers

Sweeping new powers for the AFP and Australian Criminal Intelligence Commission could see innocent users of social media services such as WhatsApp deemed criminals.

News March 13, 2021

Inquiries into parliamentary culture

New details of the alleged sexual assault of Brittany Higgins continue to emerge, as calls grow for an independent inquiry into Attorney-General Christian Porter over a separate rape allegation.

News March 06, 2021

Porter denial fails to end calls for an independent inquiry

As Christian Porter names himself as the cabinet minister accused of rape, and denies the allegation, his office walks back the attorney-general’s claim that the last time he saw his accuser was in January 1988.

News February 27, 2021

Tracing the Brittany Higgins case

As more details emerge of how the government handled Brittany Higgins’ alleged rape, crossbenchers are calling for a permanent independent body to examine abuse accusations.

News February 20, 2021

Lifting standards in quarantine

As the Australian government readies to vaccinate against Covid-19, our state quarantine systems, contact tracing and testing also need to be addressed before we can reopen our borders to the world.

News February 13, 2021

Tanya Plibersek on post-Covid politics

After confronting Craig Kelly over his coronavirus scaremongering, Tanya Plibersek says it’s time to hold the government to account.

Life February 06, 2021

Skywhalepapa joins Skywhale

Eight years after Skywhale first took flight, it is joined by Skywhalepapa – mesmerising in its gentle weirdness.

News February 06, 2021

Asylum seekers to be vaccinated

Following inquiries from The Saturday Paper, the government has scrambled to reverse its exclusion of refugees from the Covid-19 vaccination program.

News January 30, 2021

The challenges of the vaccine rollout

Australia’s ambitious coronavirus vaccination schedule has already been met with scepticism by some health professionals, while others say the real priority must be keeping the public informed and confident.

News December 19, 2020

Morrison, Albanese get ready for 2021

As Australia enters what may be an election year, Scott Morrison’s approval is high rather than solid, while Anthony Albanese has strategy rather than tactics.

News December 12, 2020

Funding by delegated legislation

Amid growing perceptions of corruption in Australia, a senate committee has raised concerns about the billions of dollars in funding allocated by the government without parliamentary scrutiny.

News December 12, 2020

AFP’s new power to spy on Australians

In direct contradiction to a recommendation of a national intelligence review, the government is giving the AFP sweeping new spying powers to combat cybercrime.

News December 05, 2020

Morrison overrides ADF chief

Defence experts warn of a split between the government and the military after the prime minister intervened to override the chief of the Defence Force’s decision to revoke the meritorious unit citation awarded to Australian special forces who served in Afghanistan.

News December 05, 2020

Medevac refugees: we face special punishment

A year after the medevac repeal, refugees brought here under the law are still in detention and say they are being punished by the government for speaking out.

News November 28, 2020

Doubts raised over ADF reports

Amid the Brereton report’s findings that military reports have been ‘routinely embellished’, the IGADF is reassessing concerns raised by David Savage, a civilian who sustained serious injuries during a suicide bombing in Afghanistan in 2012.

News November 28, 2020

How Australia’s leaders are preparing for climate change

While the Biden presidency pushes forward international climate action, both the Morrison government and its Labor opposition are fractured over emissions policy.

Opinion November 21, 2020

The politics of deploying the SAS

The decision to use the SAS on high-tempo deployments was political: it made Australia a useful ally to the US. It may have also contributed to a culture of abuse.

News November 21, 2020

How ‘prestige, status and power’ led to Australia’s war crimes

Commanders were told about possible war crimes being committed by Australian soldiers but dismissed the warnings as ‘Taliban propaganda’.

News November 14, 2020

The politics of Joel Fitzgibbon

As Joel Fitzgibbon quits the Labor frontbench over climate policy, some in the party question whether a longstanding friendship with Anthony Albanese allows the maverick to get away with too much.

News November 14, 2020

Exclusive: Government refuses to release staff bullying report

As questions are asked over power imbalances in ministerial offices, a report into alleged bullying is being withheld from a staffer who was sacked after making a complaint.

News November 07, 2020

Millions more for sports grants hidden in budget

Following criticism over its ‘sports rorts’ program, the government is directing millions of dollars to Coalition target electorates under schemes without merit-based requirements.

News October 31, 2020

Auditor-general eyes pandemic response

After a series of reports this year that have shocked the public and shamed the government, the auditor-general is turning his focus to Australia’s federal Covid-19 response, including the JobKeeper scheme.

News October 24, 2020

Probe into Western Sydney airport land deal

A scathing audit of the Infrastructure Department’s purchase of land for the Western Sydney airport has led to an AFP investigation. But this is only the latest controversy in a long history of scandals relating to the Badgerys Creek site.

News October 17, 2020

Auditor-general takes PM&C to task

As well as criticising the performance of the prime minister’s department, the auditor-general’s midterm review has a warning about unethical behaviour in the public sector.

News October 17, 2020

Challenging the secrecy of national cabinet

Legal experts are questioning the basis on which national cabinet deliberations are deemed to be secret, and the issue has led to an Administrative Appeals Tribunal case.

News October 10, 2020

Budget primes Morrison for an early election

Treasurer Josh Frydenberg framed the 2020 budget as a plan for Australia’s recovery from the Covid-19 pandemic, but it could also open the way for an election in the second half of next year.

News October 03, 2020

Millionaire visa-holders exempt from border ban

As 27,000 Australians remain stranded overseas, the Home Affairs Department has moved to allow wealthy foreign investors to enter Australia without needing special permission.

News September 26, 2020

Travel restrictions clouded by legal uncertainty

After restricting who can return to Australia and who can travel overseas, the government is now scrambling to tidy up the legalities around a confusing and ad hoc system of applying for exemptions.

News September 19, 2020

Australians stranded overseas

As more than 25,000 Australians wait for the chance to return home, at least one legal expert says the travel restrictions may breach the constitutional rights of citizens.

News September 12, 2020

Vaccine trials and tribulations

As the pause in Oxford University’s Covid-19 vaccine trials reminds the public of the realities of medical research, the Morrison government has locked in 84 million doses of this and a second vaccine.

News September 05, 2020

Government’s aged-care payments create Covid-19 risk

Unions and aged-care providers are united by concerns the government’s payments to aged-care staff may be exacerbating the sector’s Covid-19 crisis.

News August 29, 2020

National watchdogs’ warnings about security laws

Two federal watchdogs leave their positions, raising issues on access to encrypted data and questioning of minors.

News August 29, 2020

NSW Health rebukes feds on aged care

The state’s criticisms echo those levelled by Victoria and the royal commission.

News August 21, 2020

Who allowed Ruby Princess passengers to disembark?

Questions remain about the Ruby Princess as the federal Agriculture Department secretary contradicts the Commonwealth government’s own submission about who gave permission for passengers to leave the cruise ship.

News August 22, 2020

Exclusive: 4115 assaults in immigration detention

The Commonwealth ombudsman has warned of excessive and even illegal force used in detention centres, as figures disclosed under FOI reveal assault numbers.

News August 15, 2020

Daniel Harvey’s death in detention

The death of a man in immigration detention has raised questions about the length of time people are being held onshore, and the impact of coronavirus on visiting and other rights.

News July 25, 2020

Why JobKeeper can’t stop a bankruptcy avalanche

With many small businesses barely clinging to life, the changes to JobKeeper may just be postponing an inevitable demise.

News July 18, 2020

Archives searching for missing  ‘palace letters’

The contentious file of  ‘palace letters’ finally released this week was revealing. It was also missing three pieces of correspondence.

News July 11, 2020

The impact of Victoria’s second wave

As Treasurer Josh Frydenberg prepares to unveil a mini-budget on July 23, the Covid-19 outbreak in Victoria has put the country’s economic recovery in jeopardy.

News July 04, 2020

Cold War: ‘Grey zone’ to define relations with China

A strategic defence update highlights ‘coercive tactics’ that skirt the threshold of armed conflict but justify a huge weapons build-up by Australia.

News July 04, 2020

Morrison ruling by ‘Henry VIII’ clauses

New concerns surround the government’s increased use of legislative powers to bypass the parliament and create laws that cannot be amended or overturned.

News June 27, 2020

Home Affairs extends reach in tackling foreign interference

Amid increasing concerns about foreign interference, particularly through online disinformation, the Home Affairs Department’s role in security matters is growing significantly.

News June 20, 2020

End of a warlord: ‘We had to do it’

As fallout from the Adem Somyurek scandal continues, some in Labor are celebrating the courage of those who brought him down.

News June 20, 2020

Shortfalls in the Murray–Darling Basin

New documents reveal the Murray–Darling Basin is at risk of water shortfalls because of an increase in permanent crops, particularly almond trees.

News June 13, 2020

The changes in JobKeeper

Despite spending $60 billion less on JobKeeper than forecast, the government has announced an early end to the wage subsidy for childcare workers.

News June 13, 2020

NSW lays blame for Ruby Princess on feds

An inquiry into the ill-fated ship has revealed a report claiming the federal government was at fault for letting passengers disembark.

News June 06, 2020

Treasurer concedes recession

While Josh Frydenberg admits Australia has slid into its first recession in 29 years, he maintains government stimulus can spark a recovery.

News June 06, 2020

Calls for journalist protections

A year on from AFP raids on the ABC and a News Corp journalist, the government is being asked to ensure the right of the media to protect sources.

News May 30, 2020

Economic fallout of the $60b JobKeeper error

As the government tries to justify how its JobKeeper forecast was out by $60 billion, two economists who questioned the initial figures explain what might be next for Australia’s economy.

News May 23, 2020

Failings in foreign investment oversight

Amid escalating trade tensions with China, questions are being raised about the proper scrutiny of foreign investment in Australia.

News May 16, 2020

Parliament bypassed for Covid-19 legislation

Even Coalition MPs are calling for increased scrutiny of legislation rushed through in response to the Covid-19 crisis.

News May 16, 2020

Dutton pushing for new ASIO powers

Home Affairs Minister Peter Dutton seeks to allow the agency to plant surveillance devices with no warrant, among a raft of sweeping changes.

News May 09, 2020

What happened with the Ruby Princess

As five separate inquiries examine how the ship became Australia’s largest source of Covid-19 deaths, the messy arrangements at our borders are now under intense scrutiny.

News May 02, 2020

How the COVIDSafe data could be used

While the government has been at pains to address privacy concerns about the COVIDSafe app, cybersecurity analysts believe the data could be mined for other uses.

News April 25, 2020

Australia pushes for global inquiry into outbreak

While Australia’s calls for an investigation into China’s response to the Covid-19 outbreak may not have helped relations with the powerhouse nation, they could prove a welcome move among Indo–Pacific neighbours.

News April 18, 2020

Opposition tactics in a pandemic

Working with the government to deliver the Covid-19 economic stimulus package has forced the opposition to consider a change of tactics.

News April 11, 2020

The other holes in Australia’s quarantine

As a police probe begins into the Ruby Princess, details emerge about other gaps in Australia’s quarantine response, including the use of isolation declaration cards.

News April 04, 2020

Treasury’s plan for a new economy

As Scott Morrison unveils the largest spending measures in the country’s history, officials inside Treasury are drafting plans for an entirely new economy.

News March 28, 2020

Covid-19: Next few days will decide outcome

As the government suspends parliament until August to deal with the outbreak, key advisers say the next week is critical in controlling the spread.

News March 21, 2020

Inside Morrison’s Covid-19 war cabinet

State, territory and federal leaders are setting aside party politics to try to manage the Covid-19 pandemic.

News March 21, 2020

Defence braces for SAS murder charges

An inspector-general’s report, expected in the coming months, will likely recommend the prosecution of special forces soldiers over Afghan civilian killings.

News March 14, 2020

Morrison’s economic stimulus package

In the hopes of heading off a possible recession, the government has released a $17.6 billion stimulus package, but questions remain about the lack of detail in its plans for regional support.

News March 14, 2020

Privacy concerns about encryption laws

As law enforcement agencies demand access to encrypted data without judicial oversight, the national security watchdog and tech companies are concerned about privacy breaches.

News March 07, 2020

Sport Australia takes $10m from schools

The controversial government agency has been pushed into deficit after the minister ordered it to restore school funds it spent on other projects.

News February 29, 2020

$500m fund was directed to key Liberals

Established ahead of the 2019 election, the fund pledged to upgrade commuter car parks. Forty-three of its 46 projects were in key Liberal marginal seats.

News February 22, 2020

Government spends ‘unlawful’ billions

Over the past year, the government has allocated nearly $5 billion through measures hidden from public view, bypassing the senate. Experts now warn this may be illegal.

News February 15, 2020

Environment grants awarded by invitation only

A $100 million grants program, established by the government ahead of the 2019 election, was restricted to 25 preselected projects, most of them in key seats for the Coalition.

News February 08, 2020

Bridget McKenzie falls on sports grants sword

As Bridget McKenzie’s resignation brings about a surge in the Coalition’s conservative wing, new analysis confirms the bias of the sports grants program.

News January 31, 2020

Exclusive: McKenzie propped up Netball Australia with ‘special’ grant

The minister outraged Sport Australia’s board, bypassing the agency to direct $2.5 million to Netball Australia with few strings attached.

News January 25, 2020

Sports grants expose broken system

Following the auditor-general’s damning report on the sports grants scheme, questions are being raised about other programs.

News December 21, 2019

Australia stalls on climate action

In Copenhagen in 2009, Australia took a leadership role in the fight against climate change. Ten years on, at COP25, the winds have changed.

News December 21, 2019

David Savage’s Comcare case

New information confirms mistakes were made in the lead-up to the suicide bomb attack that left David Savage severely injured, but questions remain about who should take responsibility.

News December 14, 2019

Labor changes message on coal

In an attempt to win back Queensland voters, Anthony Albanese expressed support for coal exports this week, confirming that Labor’s path back to government remains fraught.

News December 07, 2019

AusAID bomb victim’s treatment ‘a disgrace’

After seven years, David Savage finally received compensation for injuries sustained in Afghanistan. Defence dismissed a video of his attack as not relevant, but used it for training.

News November 30, 2019

Security agencies investigating Chinese spy claims

Despite the furore over new allegations of Chinese espionage and interference, experts are urging a cautious response, saying there are many questions yet to be answered.

News November 23, 2019

‘I’m the tip of the iceberg…’

Charleene Mundine has battled for months trying to find out how thousands of dollars disappeared from her children’s NDIS account.

News November 16, 2019

Scott Morrison imposes discipline

Scott Morrison has gone on the front foot, rewriting the cabinet handbook and setting the agenda for how decisions in his government will be made.

News November 09, 2019

ASIO officers broke law on warrant

The agency’s watchdog, tasked with unravelling the breach, has echoed growing concern about flawed and confusing new anti-terror laws.

News November 02, 2019

Former AFP chief eyes water officials

New Murray–Darling Basin inspector-general Mick Keelty is pushing for tough expanded powers to get answers from those responsible for the river system’s chaos.

News October 26, 2019

Morrison government paid empathy consultant $190,000

In a week of senate estimates marked by obfuscation, one official revealed the cost of teaching bureaucrats to interact humanely with farmers facing drought.

News October 19, 2019

Albanese juggles Labor frictions

While the ALP pushes for reform of its troubled NSW branch, the opposition leader faces dissent from federal allies aligned to the party’s Right faction.

News October 12, 2019

Crackdown on large cash transactions

While the government’s proposal to restrict large cash payments is intended to limit criminal activity, opponents of the bill – including some of the Coalition’s own MPs – warn the legislation could ensnare ordinary citizens.

News October 05, 2019

Trump call pulls Morrison into US scandal

As Donald Trump faces the threat of impeachment, Scott Morrison is carefully balancing his responses to the US president’s request for assistance.

News September 28, 2019

Peter Dutton’s latest citizenship move

Legal experts warn that the government’s latest attempt to strip citizenship from dual nationals may cause more problems than it resolves.

News September 21, 2019

The murky ethics of political donations

As Gladys Liu faces questions about raising $1 million for the Liberal Party, a repentant Sam Dastyari is calling for an end to the ‘arms race’ of political donations.

News September 14, 2019

Albanese attempts to pacify backroom disquiet

While Labor faces a raft of legislation intended to split the party’s loyalties, the opposition leader has dismissed critics in his ranks who say he is capitulating to Scott Morrison’s agenda.

News September 07, 2019

Divisions over the religious discrimination bills

The religious anti-discrimination legislation is being closely examined by interested groups.

News August 31, 2019

CIA agents in Australia

In a new book, veteran journalist Brian Toohey argues that covert CIA operatives have worked in Australia for decades, something the government has long denied.

News August 24, 2019

Scott Morrison navigates first year as PM

One year into his prime ministership – and on the back of deploying Australian maritime forces to the Middle East – Scott Morrison is trying to create an impression of a fresh, new government.

News August 03, 2019

Exclusive: Police bypass courts for warrants

New figures reveal 78 per cent of interception warrants were signed off  by members of the Administrative Appeals Tribunal, not by a judge.

News July 27, 2019

Home Affairs pushes for cyber spy powers

A new proposal would give the Australian Signals Directorate access to the IT systems of Australian companies, but the agency didn’t ask for these powers.

News July 20, 2019

Coalition divided on First Nations voice

While Ken Wyatt tries to find a model for recognition that will appease his party, a grassroots movement is hoping to win public support for a voice to parliament.

News July 13, 2019

Murray–Darling recovery in peril

As attempts to restore water to the river basin fail to meet their targets, scientists warn irrigator subsidies may cost 10 times initial estimates.

News July 06, 2019

Dutton’s stance on citizenship laws

Despite recommendations from parliament’s security watchdog, Peter Dutton will press ahead with plans to ban Australian citizens with terrorism links from returning home.

News June 29, 2019

Scott Morrison’s inner circle

Still dogged by questions about his rise to the Liberal leadership, Scott Morrison is keeping his allies close, and rewarding those who voted for him in the spill.

News June 22, 2019

Manus refugee services contract embroiled in dispute

Australia’s already-contentious Manus Island refugee services contract faces further complications from local landholder politics.

News June 15, 2019

Centre Alliance barters on gas prices

As the government works to get its tax cuts through the upper house, Centre Alliance senators Rex Patrick and Stirling Griff have put a condition on their support, calling for adjustments to the domestic gas security mechanism.

News June 08, 2019

Fresh documents in Morrison’s sacking

New documents show the clearest picture yet of Scott Morrison’s dismissal at Tourism Australia, including scathing correspondence from Fran Bailey.

News June 01, 2019

Starting again: the Albanese interview

As he takes over as Labor’s new leader, Anthony Albanese outlines how he plans to reshape his party and win back Australia’s trust.

News May 25, 2019

Shorten loses again, trying to undermine Albanese leadership

As Labor attempts to understand how it lost the unloseable election, old divisions have been reopened by the party’s search for a new identity to win back voters.

News May 18, 2019

Election 2019: the final hours

As election day neared, Scott Morrison proved to be relentless on the chaotic campaign trail, despite what the polls predict for his prime ministership.

News May 11, 2019

Election cash splash coming from government grants

The funding for many promises in this election campaign appears to be coming out of government grants with vague criteria.

News May 11, 2019

The Shorten interview

In a one-on-one interview ahead of next week’s election, Bill Shorten has proposed he would, if necessary, set up a new regional processing facility in Papua New Guinea.

News May 04, 2019

Big-dollar pledges for marginal seats

Wherever there’s a marginal seat, there’s a politician from the Coalition or Labor pledging millions of dollars.

News April 27, 2019

Keelty warns river ‘ripe for corruption’

EXCLUSIVE: Former AFP chief Mick Keelty is examining links between political donations and water licences, and calling for proceeds-of-crime laws to be expanded.

News April 20, 2019

Exclusive: Taxpayer millions spent on Coalition mailout

A mailout from the federal government to age pensioners on the eve of the election campaign cost taxpayers $2.1 million and raised concerns about the timing of the correspondence.

News April 13, 2019

CSIRO steps back on Adani approval

As Scott Morrison readied to call the election, Melissa Price rushed to give federal approval to Adani’s Carmichael mine, citing support from the CSIRO.

news April 06, 2019

Art trust wins in election budget

Scott Morrison’s pre-election budget has gifted $22 million to a small arts organisation in the country’s most marginal seat – Gilmore – where the Liberals hope Warren Mundine can hang on.

News March 30, 2019

How authenticity will decide the election

As the government and opposition make sense of the NSW election result, it is clear the federal poll will be a contest between an unpopular leader and an unknown one.

News March 30, 2019

Intergenerational trauma and Indigenous suicides in WA

A recent coroner’s report into the deaths by suicide of Indigenous children and young people in remote WA, linked to intergenerational trauma and racism, mirrors the findings of a 2008 inquiry. With little achieved in the interim years, experts claim the government is not only misdiagnosing the problem but is also unable to come up with productive solutions.

News March 23, 2019

After Christchurch

Following the killing of 50 Muslims by an Australian terrorist, local security agencies face questions of whether they overlooked the threat posed by white extremists.

News March 16, 2019

Barnaby’s last stand

As the Nationals quietly shift positions on climate change and energy, Barnaby Joyce is wreaking havoc as coal’s last defender.

News March 09, 2019

Climate policies: Twelve dumped in half a decade

Still cautious after the pink batts program, the government’s climate policies fail to properly engage with energy efficiency.

News March 02, 2019

The campaigner behind Phelps, Banks and Steggall

Having helped get Kerryn Phelps elected, Damien Hodgkinson is running campaigns for eight independents at the election, including Julia Banks and Zali Steggall.

News February 23, 2019

Morrison ignored boat security advice

The government ignored security agency advice on amendments to the medivac bill, allowing it to accuse Labor of undermining border security.

News February 16, 2019

The defeat Morrison hopes will save him

“Morrison is understood to be the architect of his own political strategy. His friend, former Howard adviser turned lobbyist David Gazard, confirmed the prime minister is choosing to see the medivac legislation as a gift.”

News February 09, 2019

Hayne’s ‘disinfectant’ sees banks’ share prices rise

In the wake of the Hayne royal commission, the big banks’ share prices rose, raising questions of how much the culture of greed is threatened by its recommendations.

News February 02, 2019

John Hewson: Morrison isn’t Paul Keating

By zeroing in on the economy, Scott Morrison is attempting to re-create Keating’s unlikely victory over John Hewson. It’s a losing campaign strategy, says the former Liberal leader.

News February 02, 2019

‘Gross negligence’ on Murray-Darling

Murray-Darling Basin royal commissioner Bret Walker, SC, has savaged successive governments and found the basin’s management authority is ‘unwilling or incapable of acting lawfully’.

News January 26, 2019

Fish kill: What led to the Murray disaster

The death of hundreds of thousands of fish in the Murray-Darling Basin was unprecedented, but it was not without warning.

News December 22, 2018

Scott Morrison’s Christmas wish

As NSW Liberals seek to differentiate themselves from their federal peers, Scott Morrison doubtless hopes for a Christmas miracle.

News December 15, 2018

Ruddock religious freedom report backfires

Established ahead of last year’s marriage-equality vote to quell conservative fears, Philip Ruddock’s long-awaited report has called for religious exemptions from discrimination laws to be scrapped.

News December 08, 2018

Shorten tested in backroom fights

Ahead of Labor’s national conference, factional splits are appearing over major policies, including the approval of the Adani coalmine, refugee intake, free trade and Newstart.

News December 08, 2018

Captain’s call back

Amid a chaotic final sitting week of parliament, conservative Coalition MPs are furious at the prime minister for what they perceive as his betrayal over religious freedoms in schools.

News December 01, 2018

Senate chases Tourism Australia documents

The senate has ordered the tabling of Tourism Australia contracts from the time leading up to Scott Morrison’s sacking, but the prime minister continues to argue their confidentiality.

News December 01, 2018

Government presses on for wider security powers

While security chiefs are supporting Peter Dutton’s call for new powers to access encrypted data, they have declined to support the government’s claim such changes are made more urgent by the recent terror attack and arrests in Melbourne.

News November 24, 2018

Exclusive: Metadata requests top 350,000

Government agencies are using a loophole to access individuals’ metadata without warrants, as Peter Dutton attempts to rush through further security agency powers.

News November 17, 2018

Morrison ‘hijacked’ NZ tourism review

An audit report covering Scott Morrison’s role in the New Zealand tourism office raises serious concerns over transparency and due process.

News November 10, 2018

Exclusive: Auditor-general found Morrison breaches

While mystery surrounds Scott Morrison’s sacking from Tourism Australia, a buried audit report shows numerous anomalies and concerns over contracts worth $184 million.

Politics November 10, 2018

Kerry O’Brien reflects on John Howard

For a significant part of Kerry O’Brien’s career, John Howard dominated Australian politics. The award-winning journalist talks about the former PM’s divisive recipe for success.

News November 03, 2018

Intelligence agencies’ pitch for powers

Growing suspicion over the government’s security and intelligence powers has seen the heads of two powerful agencies begin a charm offensive to try to win back public trust.

News October 27, 2018

Turnbull used to head off regional distrust

Malcolm Turnbull’s relationship with the Indonesian president is being used to shore up free trade negotiations as Scott Morrison hopes to convey stability abroad.

News October 20, 2018

How Scott Morrison changed his mind on Israel

Three weeks ago, the prime minister said there would be no changes to his policy on Israel. Then, on the eve of the Wentworth byelection, he changed his mind.

News October 06, 2018

Lobbyists dominate mental health sector

As the suicide rate rises, health experts say millions in government funding is going to unproven programs and the sector is captured by lobbyists.

News September 29, 2018

Exclusive: Morrison set reef grant terms

The terms of Malcolm Turnbull’s $444 million Barrier Reef grant were set by Scott Morrison, who as treasurer insisted the money not go to a Commonwealth agency.

News September 22, 2018

New domestic intelligence powers

A new Office of National Intelligence will have increased powers to access personal information and scrutinise online activities. But who will monitor the monitor?

News September 15, 2018

Exclusive: Dutton’s record on cabinet recusal

In five years, Home Affairs Minister Peter Dutton has only once absented himself from cabinet discussions relating to child care.

News September 08, 2018

Exclusive: Dutton chose not to recuse

As Peter Dutton faces criticism over his intervention in au pair visas, details emerge of his involvement in cabinet discussions of child-care funding.

News September 08, 2018

Agencies spend big to block FOI requests

The government has left the position of freedom of information commissioner vacant for four years, slashing funding of its parent agency while spending almost $1 million blocking FOI requests.

News September 01, 2018

How Morrison played everyone

While Scott Morrison presented himself as a reticent candidate, in reality he used unpopular tax cuts to damage Turnbull and fooled Dutton over numbers.

News September 01, 2018

Barnaby Joyce and the Murray–Darling

As Barnaby Joyce, newly minted special envoy for drought, made a grab for Murray–Darling water, the royal commission into the basin faced yet another setback.

News August 24, 2018

Scott Morrison claims Liberal leadership

After a ‘disastrous week’ for the government, Scott Morrison has emerged as Australia’s next prime minister, defeating Peter Dutton in a Liberal party room vote. Josh Frydenberg will be deputy Liberal leader.

News August 25, 2018

‘We know where the bodies are buried’

As Malcolm Turnbull’s prime ministership collapsed, with Scott Morrison replacing him, members of his own cabinet threatened to ‘open the bottom drawer’ and release a dirt file they believed would force him out of the leadership.

News August 18, 2018

Federal government ‘colludes’ to nobble Walker inquiry

The South Australian government’s refusal to extend the royal commission into the Murray–Darling finds it accused of collusion with the federal government.

News August 18, 2018

Territory rights and assisted dying

David Leyonhjelm’s bill to permit the territories to pass assisted dying legislation was defeated despite argument it is as much about territory rights.

News August 11, 2018

Murray-Darling water scandal

Allegations that the Murray–Darling Basin Plan was compromised by government agency interference have emerged during the SA royal commission.

News August 04, 2018

High court challenge to Walker inquiry threatens federation

A Commonwealth challenge to South Australia’s Murray–Darling royal commission has become a state rights battleground with implications for the Constitution.

News July 28, 2018

Grubby tactics in the Super Saturday byelections

Further revelations of political bastardry in this weekend’s byelections, including accusations of solicited interviews, show how much is at stake for all parties.

News July 21, 2018

Frydenberg’s energy battle over coal

Trying to broker agreement in the Coalition on the best action on climate change appears to be a Sisyphean task as supporters of coal maintain their pressure.

News July 14, 2018

Inside the NAIF conflict machine

Two years since its launch, the Northern Australia Infrastructure Facility has approved only four loans and is beset by at least 33 conflict-of-interest declarations.

News July 07, 2018

Sexist abuse in the Senate

David Leyonhjelm’s sexist abuse of Sarah Hanson-Young has moved current and former female senators and MPs to reveal the parliament’s toxic culture.

News June 30, 2018

Getting Shorten

While the government continues to plot the demise of Bill Shorten, fresh threats may be again smouldering within his own party.

News June 23, 2018

Foreign influence bill pushed ahead

As the government pushes ahead with its foreign influence bill, concerns have been raised about plans for ‘transparency notices’, permitting public naming of non-compliant individuals or corporations without explanation.

News June 16, 2018

Special forces expose rogue element

The stories of alleged war crimes by Australian special forces in Afghanistan have led to an inquiry prompted by fellow soldiers.

News June 09, 2018

Exclusive: Payments to former minister concealed

Having taken a board position with a Swedish arms manufacturer, former Defence minister David Johnston is receiving an undisclosed sum as the government’s defence export advocate.

News June 02, 2018

Inside Labor’s refugee strategy

With fears a ‘bring them here’ motion could pass Labor’s state conference, left unions have decided it is better to play a dead bat on the issue ahead of the federal election.

News May 26, 2018

Britain lobbies Defence to take risk on warships

The British government is employing diplomatic pressure over a $35 billion warship contract, despite the design existing only on paper.

News May 19, 2018

Exclusive: Ex-ABF chief questions Dutton’s ID powers

As the government grants new airport powers to federal police, former Australian Border Force commissioner Roman Quaedvlieg says they need justification.

News May 12, 2018

Gunning for an early election?

As Malcolm Turnbull and Scott Morrison sell their ‘election’ budget, the prime minister is weighing up a poll that could be as early as August.

News May 05, 2018

Cabinet split on Dutton’s ASD plan

As critics leak against Peter Dutton’s plan to employ the Signals Directorate against Australians, the minister defends the powers as necessary.

News April 28, 2018

How farmers fought for the royal commission

Farmers have experienced much of the scandalous banking practices now being exposed, but representatives say the royal commission is set to miss the worst of it.

News April 21, 2018

Morrison’s budget strategy stymied

Treasurer Scott Morrison’s plan to frame the coming budget as responsible investment was derailed this week by conflicting government messages.

News April 14, 2018

Electoral margins behind Dutton’s South Africans

The campaign led by Coalition MPs for special visas for white South African farmers is designed to shore up votes in WA and Queensland.

News April 07, 2018

Monash Forum’s puzzling energy agenda

The Coalition’s Monash Forum claims its aim is to generate enthusiasm for coal-fired energy, but could it be as much about unseating Malcolm Turnbull as it is about fossil fuels?

News March 31, 2018

Tim Storer’s stand on corporate tax

Tim Storer’s demands for broader reforms to corporate tax rates show the Senate newcomer to be a man not for turning.

News March 24, 2018

China could stop sending students

Signals from China that it may restrict the number of its students enrolling in Australian tertiary institutions have foreign-fee-dependent universities alarmed.

Life March 24, 2018

‘Songs From the Inside’

A songwriting venture between musicians and prisoners will be brought to the stage at the National Folk Festival in Canberra. The Big hART project was a transformative experience for both musicians and inmates.

News March 17, 2018

Batman and Labor on Adani

As today’s Batman byelection brings Labor’s coal policy into relief, Adani finds it still has not got approval for its Carmichael mine.

News March 10, 2018

ASIO changes hidden in ‘sloppy’ amendments process

As questions continue over new powers for the Home Affairs Department, a suite of legislative amendments goes missing.

News March 03, 2018

Coalition targets Shorten’s morals

Behind Michaelia Cash’s reference to female staff in Bill Shorten’s office is a pattern of Coalition attacks on the Opposition leader over his personal morals.

News March 03, 2018

Trust me: Pezzullo’s mega powers

Michael Pezzullo wants to embed his Department of Home Affairs into every part of Australian life. He insists there’s no cause for concern.

News February 24, 2018

George Brandis’s secret ASIO speech

EXCLUSIVE: In a private address, former attorney-general George Brandis told ASIO of ‘potential tension’ with its new Home Affairs Department oversight.

News February 24, 2018

Joyce gone, but Coalition still a mess

Embarrassing gaffes, recalcitrance, infighting and Joyce’s resignation – the hits just keep on coming for the Coalition.

News February 17, 2018

Turnbull caught by Hobson’s Joyce

As Barnaby Joyce clings to the Nationals leadership, his Coalition colleagues watch and wait for further fallout from his indiscretions.

News February 10, 2018

AFP identifies cabinet files’ owner

As police discover who originally owned the two safes full of cabinet-level documents obtained by the ABC, the prime minister calls for heads to roll.

News February 03, 2018

Exclusive: All 57 ASIO refugee case warnings revised after review

As evidence emerges of Scott Morrison’s interference with ASIO’s refugee assessments, figures show every warning given by the agency since 2012 was ultimately revised down.

News January 27, 2018

Australia and drone warfare

As a former chief of army predicts that joint strike fighters will be the military’s last manned aircraft, what checks will prevent civilian deaths by drones?

News December 23, 2017

Nationals’ power plays

Speculation of paybacks and game-playing within the Coalition leaves Malcolm Turnbull with an uneasy pathway into the new year.

Culture December 23, 2017

Songlines and ancient stories

An exhibition at the National Museum of Australia preserves the ancient stories of Indigenous elders for future generations.

News December 16, 2017

Gina Rinehart and the Galilee

As Adani draws public ire over its Abbot Point rail line, Gina Rinehart awaits the benefits of another NAIF deal to open up the Galilee.

News December 09, 2017

Malcolm Turnbull and citizenship

With the dual citizenship spotlight turning from Coalition to Labor MPs, Malcolm Turnbull is enjoying the spoils of good timing rather than good negotiation.

News December 02, 2017

Alt-right links to the ‘No’ case

As the parliament moves to legislate for same-sex marriage, the involvement of the alt-right in the ‘No’ case becomes clear.

News November 25, 2017

Foreign policy depends on US priorities

The new foreign affairs white paper – the first comprehensive review in 14 years – acknowledges the shift in power in our region from the United States to China, but has no prescription for how Australia should deal with it.

News November 18, 2017

Yes! Australia votes for equality

As marriage equality receives resounding support from the public, a bill that was 13 years in the making is hurried into parliament.

News November 18, 2017

Exclusive: Rudd calls for News Corp inquiry

Concerned about possible collusion over the NBN, Kevin Rudd is calling for a royal commission into the ‘cancer’ that is News Corp and its impact on democracy.

News November 11, 2017

Turnbull’s citizenship crisis

As the dual citizenship crisis expands and fuels leadership tensions, Malcolm Turnbull struggles to plot a policy course to Christmas.

News November 04, 2017

Auditing MPs’ citizenship

Amid calls for an independent audit of the citizenship status of all MPs, some are suggesting false declarations be regarded as breaches of the Crimes Act, punishable with jail.

News October 28, 2017

The politics of the NBN

The government’s plan to sell the NBN at a profit makes getting answers about the true cost of its rollout and what it provides exceedingly difficult.

News October 21, 2017

The Coalition’s national energy guarantee

While the government’s proposed national energy guarantee has been criticised as being more about saving Malcolm Turnbull’s leadership than good policy, has the prime minister smuggled in a carbon price under the noses of his conservative colleagues?

News October 14, 2017

Abbott looks to Pell on energy policy

In condemning action on climate change as killing ‘goats to appease the volcano gods’, Tony Abbott was paraphrasing an earlier speech by his confessor, Cardinal George Pell.

News October 07, 2017

Mick Dodson on fixing the constitution

The director of the ANU National Centre for Indigenous Studies, Professor Mick Dodson, talks about why recognition should be secondary to ridding the constitution of racist powers.

News October 07, 2017

Trump and Tillerson diverge on North Korea

As Donald Trump and Rex Tillerson diverge on rhetoric, the United States strategy on North Korea becomes clearer.

News September 30, 2017

Last in space: our late agency plans

Thirty years late, and with a haste that surprised the industry, Malcolm Turnbull is taking Australia into space.

News September 30, 2017

Belvoir’s Eamon Flack on why the arts matter

Belvoir artistic director Eamon Flack on cuts to arts funding in Australia and the significance of art and culture in our lives.

News September 23, 2017

Curbing the illicit tobacco trade

A senate inquiry into illicit tobacco is hearing evidence of huge losses in tax revenue, hidden smoking rate increases and higher criminal profits than in the drugs trade.

News September 23, 2017

Clover Moore on the responsibilities of her council

City of Sydney Lord Mayor Clover Moore on standing up to state and federal governments and how to make access to housing fair.

News September 16, 2017

Making sense of the PM’s first two years

Two years after he took power, it is possible to judge Malcolm Turnbull against the standards he set when he challenged for the leadership.

News September 16, 2017

Farewelling coral reefs

The director of the Global Change Institute at the University of Queensland, Professor Ove Hoegh-Guldberg, talks about the grim realities of climate change and how we must choose which reefs to save.

News September 09, 2017

Windsor seeking special count on Joyce

In joining the High Court case examining Barnaby Joyce’s eligibility for office, Tony Windsor will argue for a countback that could see him win the seat.

News August 19, 2017

Crossbenchers push agendas amid crisis

With the dual citizenship crisis deepening, Bob Katter and others on the crossbench are using the chaos to push legislation the government has refused.

News August 12, 2017

The same-sex marriage postal vote

The methodology being used to test the public mood on same-sex marriage is dividing both the Liberal Party and constitutional experts – and further diminishing the prime minister’s standing among his own.

News August 05, 2017

Parliamentary push for same-sex marriage

After weeks of cross-party communication, a plan has formed to bring legislation for same-sex marriage into its final phase.

News July 29, 2017

The impact of public sentiment on the economy

More than ever, markets read between the lines, making volatile every pronouncement by the government or Reserve Bank.

News July 22, 2017

Dutton’s rise to Home Affairs super ministry

Acting beyond official recommendations, Malcolm Turnbull has created a super ministry for Peter Dutton – possibly to shore up his own leadership.

News July 22, 2017

Greens and the dual citizenship debacle

The resignations of the Greens’ two co-deputy leaders has sent MPs scrambling to check their citizenship qualifications, and has led to calls for constitutional revision.

News July 15, 2017

ADF special forces over-used as default first option

Reports of alleged misconduct involving ADF special forces come as the elite troops are increasingly preferred for deployment.

News July 08, 2017

Planning for Tony Abbott’s exit

As Tony Abbott campaigns to reform Liberal preselection in NSW, it has emerged his own branch hired a headhunter to find his replacement.

News July 01, 2017

Inside the bitter Greens civil war

The suspension of Greens NSW senator Lee Rhiannon is less about Gonski than it is about ongoing animosities and a federal push to reform the party’s decision-making processes.

News June 24, 2017

Final chapter in Adani loan deal

While the dealings of the government’s Northern Australia Infrastructure Facility remain shrouded in secrecy, pressure mounts over funding for the Adani rail line.

News June 17, 2017

The politics of the Finkel review

When Energy Minister Josh Frydenberg briefed Coalition MPs on the Finkel review’s recommendations for a clean energy target, all eyes were on Tony Abbott and his supporters.

News June 10, 2017

Terror attacks spark security rethink

Recent terrorist attacks have state and federal authorities considering new policing methods, parole and bail conditions, and public awareness campaigns.

News June 03, 2017

The making of the Uluru statement

Behind the landmark Uluru statement are years of conservative negotiation and compromise, led by Noel Pearson.

News May 27, 2017

Peter Dutton’s asylum seeker deadline

Peter Dutton’s crackdown on ‘fake refugees’ has sparked claims that his announcement is not only prejudicial but also purely political.

News May 20, 2017

Exclusive: Ex-military heads disagree over Middle East operations

As Australia considers extending its presence in Afghanistan, key figures have split over what has been achieved in the Middle East.

News May 13, 2017

Scott Morrison budgets on turn-in from the world

As the treasurer squares up for a fight with the banks over a new levy, his budget finds its unifying theme in making an example of foreign money.

News May 06, 2017

Coalition pins its hopes on budget approval

A less brutal budget may be the government’s last hope to wrest back public support and quieten questions over Turnbull’s leadership.

News April 29, 2017

Brandis reverses community legal centres funding cut

The government’s reversal of funding cuts to community legal centres came after a campaign from across the legal sector and within parliament.

News April 22, 2017

Trump’s message to China on North Korea

As Donald Trump toughens his rhetoric on North Korea, the implications for Australia and other neighbours are becoming clearer.

News April 15, 2017

Housing affordability divides Turnbull and Morrison

Debate within the government about housing affordability underscores a rift between the prime minister and his treasurer.

Life April 15, 2017

Singer and song-collector Jessie Lloyd

Musician Jessie Lloyd’s Mission Songs Project aims to open up a forgotten Indigenous musical history to a mainstream audience.

News April 08, 2017

Business takes lead on climate disasters

In the wake of cyclone Debbie, the insurance and banking industries are pushing for better mitigation measures, while the federal government lags behind.

News April 01, 2017

Dispute over Heyfield logging deal pulls in senior cabinet

The impending closure of Heyfield sawmill has pitted senior federal ministers against each other, a premier, farmers and conservationists.

News March 25, 2017

New ACTU secretary Sally McManus on the new IR battlegrounds

The new ACTU leadership finds the Turnbull government more ideologically anti-union than John Howard’s.

News March 18, 2017

One Nation’s business model questioned after WA election failure

As the fallout continues from Pauline Hanson’s WA state election campaign, claims emerge of a party run as a pyramid scheme.

News March 11, 2017

Weighing the priorities of homeland security

As the PM and foreign minister attempt to smooth relations with Indonesia, calls increase for a consolidated approach to national security.

News March 04, 2017

Senior Liberals caution Malcolm Turnbull on style

As Turnbull’s supporters become anxious about an absence of narrative and clear advice, his problems are greater than a vengeful Tony Abbott.

News February 25, 2017

Foreign policy in the age of Trump

As Julie Bishop completes her first meetings with Trump’s key advisers, the alliance appears strengthened by Malcolm Turnbull’s heated phone call.

News February 18, 2017

Changes to citizenship to also reopen debate on Australian identity

With the government preparing security-driven changes to citizenship, it is also readying to kickstart a new debate on Australian values.

News February 11, 2017

Making sense of Hanson, Bernardi and the New Right

Cory Bernardi’s split to form a conservative party, and the resurgence of One Nation, provides the major parties with a genuine threat from the right.

News February 04, 2017

Inside the fight for the Australian Greens

As battlelines are drawn between ‘the Tony Abbott’ of the Greens and the party’s elders, deeper questions have emerged about style and purpose.

News January 28, 2017

Exclusive: Brandis bound for London, Porter to take Attorney-General

Christian Porter is set to become attorney-general in a post-budget reshuffle, with George Brandis likely being sent to London as high commissioner.

News December 24, 2016

The next wrecking of Great Keppel Island

A plan to build a major casino resort on the Great Barrier Reef is a boon for tourism but has left Indigenous owners complaining they were never consulted.

News December 17, 2016

The new untruth of political campaigns

As a leading polling company is revealed to be behind an activist website ostensibly linked to Medicare, bipartisan support emerges for rules on disclosure.

News December 10, 2016

Pauline Hanson’s plans to expand One Nation

She may be as much pilloried celebrity as politician, but when One Nation leader Pauline Hanson speaks, the disillusioned listen.

News December 03, 2016

Bell Group fallout raises questions of ministers’ roles

Holes in the time line of the WA Bell case pose serious questions about a position that stood to cost the government $300 million.

News November 26, 2016

How will Trump’s US act in Asia?

In the wake of Donald Trump’s election, speculation surrounds the US’s ongoing role in Asian diplomacy.

News November 19, 2016

CSIRO’s workplace stalemate

A deadlock in enterprise bargaining negotiations at CSIRO may have revealed the roadmap for reintroducing WorkChoices in the public service by stealth.

News November 12, 2016

The new debate over section 18C and free speech

The door has reopened on changes to section 18C of the Racial Discrimination Act, with Malcolm Turnbull announcing a review of the legislation.

News November 05, 2016

Contradictions in Dutton’s refugee life ban

As the government announces a lifetime ban on boat arrivals ever visiting Australia, criminals deported to New Zealand can find their way back.

News October 29, 2016

Jane Halton, the last of John Howard’s departmental heads, steps down

Jane Halton, the bureaucrat at the centre of the ‘children overboard’ affair, reflects on a career of toughness and discretion.

News October 22, 2016

Inside the Brandis-Gleeson breakdown

George Brandis’s move to control legal advice has opened a schism with Justin Gleeson, that critics say make the solicitor-general a “dog on a lead”.

Opinion October 22, 2016

The ubiquity of sexual harassment

“I wasn’t looking to make people angry, just aware that it happens a lot to many women in all sorts of situations, that this kind of sexual attention is not the same as flirting and it would be great if it happened a lot less. Like, never.”

News October 15, 2016

Cybersecurity concerns after attack on BOM

A new report from the Australian Cyber Security Centre describes a recent foreign-state attack on the Bureau of Meteorology and highlights ongoing threats to government agencies.

Opinion October 15, 2016

Sexual harassment in politics

“A few colleagues and I drafted a blacklist of politicians with lecherous reputations and worded up new female journalists about which ones to avoid. ”

News October 08, 2016

Millions of Australians caught in health records breach

The government’s negotiations with doctors over the Medicare rebate is not helped by a breach of privacy on apparently anonymised health data.

News October 01, 2016

Political power struggle after SA’s statewide blackout

As clean-up began after South Australia’s freak storms, the federal energy minister seized the opportunity for a debate on renewables.

News October 01, 2016

Marcia Langton on Recognition and income management

Marcia Langton talks about a promising welfare management trial and how constitutional recognition would complete the Commonwealth.

News September 24, 2016

Department of Immigration and Border Protection’s lack of preparedness on organised crime

The focus on asylum seekers has left the immigration department lacking intelligence capabilities and measures to combat crime.

Opinion September 24, 2016

Tim Flannery names his three priority areas in addressing environmental concerns.

Environmentalist and chairman of the Copenhagen Climate Council Tim Flannery explains the need to overcome the vested interests against climate change action and how to best use an innovation fund.

News September 17, 2016

Transfield’s $1.1b offshore processing contract farce

A blistering audit of the offshore detention program reveals a system defined by untendered contracts and preferential deals raises billions of dollars’ worth of questions.

Opinion September 17, 2016

Chris Richardson on how we’re unprepared for the next recession

Chris Richardson, Partner at Deloitte Access Economics, explains how even when economic reports show Australia in good shape, people can feel as though things are getting worse.

News September 10, 2016

Political donations and Sam Dastyari’s downfall

As the Sam Dastyari donations scandal continues to unfold, both sides of politics, and the crossbench, are flirting with reform.

News September 10, 2016

Madeline Gleeson on an end to offshore processing

Lawyer and author Madeline Gleeson says there are positive elements in Australia’s asylum-seeker policy, but a lack of political will to abide by the Refugee Convention.

News September 03, 2016

Schisms challenging party platforms

After parliament’s first week, rifts within the government and opposition prove as telling as those between them.

Life September 03, 2016

Anthony Albanese and his biographer

Just as political opponents may form friendships based on their shared circumstances in Canberra, the relationship of biographer and subject is equally complex.

News August 27, 2016

New senate ready to deal

As new senators arrive in Canberra for induction, the horsetrading has already begun.

News August 20, 2016

Shifting debate on offshore detention

As the country reacts to the Nauru files and confirmation the Manus detention centre must close, a new chapter appears to be opening in the refugee debate.

News August 13, 2016

Josh Frydenberg’s approach to environment and energy

The new minister for the environment and energy, Josh Frydenberg, is ready to balance his portfolios and disappoint critics on the left and right.

News July 30, 2016

US and Australia in stalemate over NT defence bases

Plans for more American troops to be based in the Northern Territory have stalled as battlelines are drawn over who should foot the bill.

News July 23, 2016

PM Malcolm Turnbull faces down internal dissent

Malcolm Turnbull faced a disunited Coalition party room, as members complained about the election campaign and threatened to revolt on policy.

News July 16, 2016

The parties’ spin on the 2016 election result

Political realities are biting for all parties in the wake of the election, as everyone looks to explain the numbers.

News July 09, 2016

The 2016 election postmortem

While the Turnbull campaign had various flaws, its troubles began in March when he picked a fight with the minor parties.

News July 01, 2016

Malcolm Turnbull and Bill Shorten’s final pitches

Turnbull trades on economic uncertainty: stick with the Coalition and its plan for innovation and tax cuts. Shorten emphasises Labor’s social policies – especially those with which Turnbull might agree.

News July 02, 2016

Greens, Xenophon eye jaundiced major party voters

The Australian Greens and the Nick Xenophon Team square off for third-party status.

News July 02, 2016

Bill Shorten: ‘I’m proud of our plans...’

Bill Shorten’s final pitch emphasises Labor’s social policies – especially those with which Malcolm Turnbull might agree.

News July 02, 2016

Malcolm Turnbull: ‘We need to make our own luck...’

Malcolm Turnbull’s final pitch trades on economic uncertainty: stick with the Coalition and its plan for innovation and tax cuts.

News June 25, 2016

Parties find campaign donors harder to come by

As the major parties prepare their final election advertising blitz, donations have dried up, especially to the Liberal campaign.

News June 18, 2016

Inside the Greens federal election preference ‘deal’

A battle between Liberals in NSW and Victoria has pulled apart a precarious ‘deal’ with the Greens and recast preferences for the election.

News June 11, 2016

Turnbull and Shorten seek to define their character

As Malcolm Turnbull releases a video about his single-parent childhood, the Coalition and Labor are working overtime to sell their chiefs’ ‘authentic’ styles.

News June 04, 2016

Marginal seats unlikely to deliver a hung parliament

Despite a scare campaign over a hung parliament, the election is tending to a narrow Coalition victory, with the Greens as everyone’s enemy.

News May 28, 2016

Scott Morrison’s black hole serves its campaign purpose

Their attack on Labor’s economic figures may have backfired, but the Coalition’s campaign HQ is just happy the focus is back on the economy.

News May 21, 2016

Labor’s bid to make health central to election

In the first major policy announcement of the campaign, Labor has built a wedge on Medicare rebates – and won powerful support.

News May 07, 2016

Malcolm Turnbull’s budget grab bag to prime election

Amid confusion over forward estimates, the budget is as much about promised economic planning as it is an election pitch.

News April 30, 2016

The strange politics of negative gearing

By picking a battle over investment incentives, the Coalition and the opposition are looking to fight the election at opposing ends of the “Australian dream”.

News April 23, 2016

Pauline Hanson’s senate chances aided by voting reforms

Aided by voting reforms and the quirks of a double-dissolution election, Pauline Hanson is in a seat-winning position for the first time in more than a decade.

News April 16, 2016

New rules for foreign investors

As foreign investment increases, especially from China, new protocols are being weighed to find a balance between Australia’s national security and economic growth.

News April 09, 2016

Inside the Malcolm Turnbull-Scott Morrison divide

Seven months into their partnership, Malcolm Turnbull and Scott Morrison are struggling to reconcile their different styles.

News April 02, 2016

Australia’s Indigenous youth suicide crisis

The death last month of a 10-year-old Indigenous girl in a remote WA community intensifies the need for a clearer approach to suicide prevention.

News March 26, 2016

What happened to the Safe Schools program

After a year of agitation, conservatives had a big win on the Safe Schools anti-bullying program – a curtain-raiser to their fight on equal marriage.

News March 19, 2016

The remaking of Opposition Leader Bill Shorten

The Labor leader has come back from his summer break with a different approach to advice and a scheme to change his image.

News March 12, 2016

What’s next for same-sex marriage

As the Liberal Party splinters further on same-sex marriage, both ends of the debate are arguing for a different kind of free vote.

News March 05, 2016

Proposed counterterrorism laws in the spotlight

The government’s latest counterterrorism bill brings into question the delicate balance of protecting the community while maintaining the principles of justice.

News February 27, 2016

Inside Turnbull’s early election plan

As election timing starts to drive the economic agenda, Malcolm Turnbull is considering a high-stakes double-dissolution poll.

News February 20, 2016

Legal questions over Robb, Ruddock special envoy jobs

Doubts have emerged over the constitutional basis of the recent appointment of Philip Ruddock and Andrew Robb as special envoys.

News February 13, 2016

The failed factional campaign to unseat Bronwyn Bishop

Having seen off myriad interventions and a plan to parachute Kate Carnell into her seat, Bronwyn Bishop is not going anywhere.

News February 06, 2016

US request for more Iraq support wrongfooted Australia

A misfired directive from the US Defence Department led to the Australian government’s unusual public refusal to contribute more in Iraq.