Margaret Simons

is a Walkley Award-winning journalist and author.

By this author

Life July 08, 2023

Détente with the daffodils

In the midst of a deathly, monotone winter, life is getting ready to burst out – including the narcissists of the plant world.

Life May 27, 2023

The moth vine encroaches

The moth vine casts its shadow over the garden, from which the author manages to salvage a benediction.

Life April 15, 2023

Cultivating memories

What began as a fresh and neatly paved area transformed over the years into a lived space of success, failure and memory.

Life March 11, 2023

Feeding on imperfection

The gardening media has no place for the compromised gardener, who finds beauty in ugliness, bounty in neglect and hope in the unruly silverbeet.

podcast February 06, 2023

The war on drugs’ worst slaughter is going underground

Contributor to The Monthly Margaret Simons on what happens when you unleash violence on the streets – and why it’s so hard to end.

Life January 21, 2023

The communal garden

From a Melbourne backyard to community cultivation in Manila’s slums, the garden offers autonomy, human connection and a firmer footing in a turbulent world.

Life September 10, 2022

Spring in Chaucer’s garden

The same restless energy and wildness that stirred the pilgrims is alive in the gardens of inner-city Melbourne.

Life June 18, 2022

A quiet winter of neglect

A reflection on the lilies of Galilee, the orchid of the building site and the karmic power of poo bags.

podcast April 04, 2022

The outsiders who could dominate the election

Margaret Simons on the independents who could go on to hold the balance of power.

Life March 12, 2022

The dark curse of lantana

A toxic plant, allowed to thrive due to wilful ignorance, becomes an invading force that threatens to take root beyond the borders of one small urban garden.

Life December 18, 2021

Life as a wayward gardener

With summer in full flight and Christmas just around the corner, the gardener’s guilt is also reaching its zenith.

Life September 25, 2021

Cultivated tastes

It’s time to start raising tomatoes – and take a punt on warmer weather to plant them out in November.

News July 24, 2021

Can Mark Scott transform universities?

A former journalist and son of a line of management consultants, Mark Scott arrives at the University of Sydney as an unlikely vice-chancellor. Can his curious talents turn around a struggling sector?

Life July 10, 2021

Potted rules for indoor gardening

When it comes to nurturing house plants, the rules can be tricky and uncertain. But that’s what makes the successes so appealing.

News June 12, 2021

Conciliation on Murray–Darling

Water policy in the Murray–Darling basin has failed farmers and the environment. Will a new conciliatory conference and a promised reset force necessary change before it’s too late?

Life April 10, 2021

Gourd almighty

After a disappointing summer growing season, some pumpkins that randomly self-seeded from the compost in the front yard become the only harvest success.

Life December 19, 2020

Summer in the garden

As the heat of summer starts to bite, the focus of every keen gardener turns to irrigation.

News October 31, 2020

ASIC under pressure

The expenses scandal at ASIC masks a more serious concern: that the government will now overhaul the agency and wind back regulation of the banking and finance sector.

Life October 17, 2020

Spring hopes eternal

While the coronavirus pandemic has altered the world as we know it, nature carries on regardless, and with spring comes fresh hope.

News October 10, 2020

Why Australia runs out of vital medicines

More than 90 per cent of Australia’s medicines are imported, putting the country at risk of dangerous shortages. But while the government has announced plans to boost the sector’s manufacturing capabilities, industry experts warn that the problem runs far deeper.

News September 19, 2020

Moves to build economic security

With imports restricted as international borders closed, the coronavirus pandemic exposed Australia’s inability to manufacture what it needs, prompting an urgent debate about how the country can improve its economic security.

News August 08, 2020

Murray–Darling could need Reserve Bank-style regulator

As the ACCC hands down its interim report on the Murray–Darling water markets, one architect of the current system says a Reserve Bank-like body is needed to manage the rights.

News August 01, 2020

‘New mode’ for Covid-19 board

Despite the National Covid-19 Coordination Commission having produced few tangible results thus far, Scott Morrison has appointed six new directors with a view to jobs creation.

News July 25, 2020

Mysterious Mr Power, architect of our recovery

Neville Power is the former mining executive leading the government’s Covid-19 co-ordination commission. Questions have been raised about conflicts of interest, but very little is known about the boy from Bushy Park.

News July 04, 2020

Govt tight-lipped on ACCC Murray–Darling Basin water report

Submissions to the ACCC’s inquiry into water trading in the Murray–Darling Basin reveal significant concerns about the possibility of market manipulation.

Life June 20, 2020

Winter’s bounty

Even in the depths of winter, or the most troubled of times, there will be a few usual suspects in the garden that can worm their way into your heart.

News June 13, 2020

The unfulfilled promise of lithium mining

Five years ago, some predicted that lithium – crucial for batteries in smartphones and electric vehicles – would soon rival iron ore as Australia’s biggest export. So what went wrong?

News May 23, 2020

The end of the university boom

International students created a gold rush for higher education in Australia, but in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic, universities will need to shrink in order to survive.

News May 02, 2020

The real reason our shelves were empty

Australian supermarkets are vulnerable to shocks, as lockdown panic buying showed, but the government has known about these weaknesses since at least 2012.

Gardening March 28, 2020

Autumn in the garden

In a season of drastic upheaval, the author reflects on the connections and comfort of her garden and looks towards the coming spring.

Life December 07, 2019

Summer gardening

While reviving her garden after its recent woes, the author is reminded of a handy way to deal with summer weeds – using a trick she learnt from her mother.

News September 21, 2019

The Lambie interview: inside her power play

With her crucial vote, Senator Jacqui Lambie wields untold influence over Scott Morrison’s government. How does she plan to use this power?

Gardening September 07, 2019

Spring garden tasks

In the hopeful spirit of the new season, the author attempts to add potatoes, succulents and more to her small garden.

Gardening June 29, 2019

The winter garden

As she contemplates her ever-expanding Monstera deliciosa, the author provides tips on what to plant and prune as the cold weather descends.

News May 11, 2019

Journalist Maria Ressa and the Philippine election

Rappler co-founder Maria Ressa discusses the political situation in the Philippines ahead of the country’s May 13 midterm elections, the first test of Rodrigo Duterte’s continuing hold on popularity.

News June 16, 2018

Sereno joins fight against Duterte

Rodrigo Duterte’s sacking of Philippine Supreme Court chief justice Maria Lourdes Sereno has added a powerful voice to a growing coalition of opposition forces.

Comment August 22, 2015

Coming, ready or not

“This week I went searching for speeches by Australian politicians that take account of the pace of change, and talk about preparing for it. They were few and far between.”

Comment June 07, 2014

Can SBS and the ABC be combined?

“One-fifth of the money taxpayers fork out for public broadcasting goes to a company owned by a Canadian superannuation fund.”