Rachel Withers

is the contributing editor of The Monthly Today and the 2021 Mumbrella Publish Awards Columnist of the Year.

By this author

podcast June 18, 2021

Australia backs coal as the G7 pledge climate action

As the leaders of the world’s wealthiest democracies gathered to discuss climate change, and pledged further action, the Australian government chose to reiterate its commitment to fossil fuels.

podcast June 11, 2021

Australia’s biggest ever crime sting

This week, Scott Morrison announced Australia’s involvement in a massive organised crime sting coordinated by the FBI. But was the extraordinary press conference more about bad news and poor polling?

podcast May 19, 2021

The politician behind a new anti-abortion push

Scott Morrison’s choice for Australia’s new Assistant Minister for Women, Amanda Stoker, has raised concerns from women’s health advocates due to her hardline, and conservative, views on abortion. Today, Rachel Withers on the rise of Amanda Stoker.

News May 15, 2021

Who is Amanda Stoker?

Amanda Stoker’s speech at an anti-abortion rally last weekend has sparked fresh concerns over her appointment as assistant minister for Women.

News April 03, 2021

Morrison’s new cabinet

Scott Morrison’s ministerial reshuffle included a few surprises, and not a small amount of controversy. Ultimately, though, the faces remain the same.

News March 13, 2021

Anti-Chinese Communist Party drive

Convoys of slogan-covered cars on Melbourne’s streets appear to be part of a global dissident movement to ‘quit’ the Chinese Communist Party, with links to the Falun Gong.

News February 27, 2021

JobSeeker increase ‘a disgrace’

The government announced this week it would boost the base rate of JobSeeker by $50 a fortnight once the Covid-19 supplement ends. Welfare advocacy groups warn such a token amount will only throw the unemployed into abject poverty.

News February 20, 2021

Biloela family wait for compassion

The Tamil family who settled in Biloela, Queensland, with their two Australian-born daughters have now spent more than 1000 days in immigration detention. But legal pressure is attempting to bend political will towards compassion.

News February 13, 2021

Covid-19 leaks from hotel quarantine

Despite numerous reviews by state and federal governments into hotel quarantine, the system continues to lead to Covid-19 transmission in Australia, with experts criticising the lack of a co-ordinated strategy around the country.

Opinion January 30, 2021

Has Albanese lost Labor’s love?

“The more certain a 2021 election becomes, the less certain the leadership of the Labor Party appears. Though the next poll may be any time from August 2021 to May 2022, there’s a distinct election-year feeling in the air – and an open-season vibe …”

summer_schwartz January 15, 2021

Vaccine chief warns against delay

The vaccine debate continues, with the same outlet that brought you “Scientists call for pause on AstraZeneca rollout” now running an exclusive with the vaccine’s director, who warns a delay could cost lives. Professor Andrew Pollard, of the Oxford …

summer_schwartz January 14, 2021

House votes to impeach Trump

US President Donald Trump is on the verge of his second impeachment, with a vote under way in the House of Representatives. Democrats have a majority in the House, and seven Republican members have indicated they will vote to impeach. House speaker …

summer_schwartz January 13, 2021

Scientists warn against weaker vaccine

Immunology experts are calling for a pause on the AstraZeneca vaccine rollout because it may not be effective enough to generate herd immunity, the Nine papers report. While trials have shown the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines to be about 95 per cent effective …

summer_schwartz January 12, 2021

Democrats push on with impeachment

Democrats have introduced an article of impeachment against US President Donald Trump, accusing him of inciting insurrection over the violent attack on the Capitol. The House of Representatives is expected to vote on the article as early as Wednesday …

summer_schwartz January 11, 2021

Trump bans rile Coalition MPs

A number of conservative Australian MPs have cried “censorship” after every mainstream social media platform banned outgoing US President Donald Trump. Nationals MP George Christensen, who had an official fact-check placed on his …

summer_schwartz January 08, 2021

Leaders call for Trump’s removal

Figures on both sides of politics are demanding US President Donald Trump’s immediate removal from office following yesterday’s attack on the US Capitol. Democratic Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi has called for the 25th Amendment to be invoked, …

summer_schwartz January 07, 2021

Trump protesters storm Capitol

The US Capitol Building has gone into lockdown after hundreds of pro-Trump protesters stormed the building during the count to certify Joe Biden’s victory. One woman is in a critical condition with a gunshot to the chest. The protesters were urged …

summer_schwartz January 06, 2021

Early vaccine rollout reported

Covid-19 vaccinations may begin in Australia as early as February, according to The Daily Telegraph, with the Pfizer shot to be offered under the first general approval (non-emergency) in the world. The paper is reporting a “more ambitious …

summer_schwartz January 05, 2021

Assange wins US extradition battle

Julian Assange will apply for bail this week, seeking to be released from Belmarsh prison after a British judge rejected a US bid to extradite him. District judge Vanessa Baraitser rejected arguments that the charges against Assange were politically motivated …

summer_schwartz January 04, 2021

Testing times for health response

Happy New Year, from one of the thousands of Victorians who rang in 2021 on the road from NSW to Victoria. I was one of the lucky ones – thousands more are believed to be stuck in NSW, with only those granted an exemption allowed to return. The helpline …

summer_schwartz December 31, 2020

Covid creeps across the nation

The rest of the states may be feeling vindicated in their decision to close their borders to Sydneysiders, with three new locally acquired cases in Melbourne believed to be linked to the NSW outbreak. The three cases, which bring an end to Victoria’s …

summer_schwartz December 30, 2020

Trade winds turn to India

New Trade Minister Dan Tehan will prioritise securing an Australia-India free trade deal, The Australian reports, as the government seeks alternative trading partners to counter Chinese bans on our exports. Negotiations on a proposed deal between …

summer_schwartz December 29, 2020

WHO’s Covid inquiry heats up

Australia is using its final months on the World Health Organization executive board to ensure the inquiry into the origins of Covid-19 remains robust and independent, despite rising China tensions, Guardian Australia reports. The investigation, …

summer_schwartz December 28, 2020

Cabin fever triggers breakouts

Authorities on either side of the country are considering how to punish the weekend’s hotel quarantine escape artists – if you can call them that. Both the 24-year-old man in Melbourne and the 49-year-old woman in Perth simply walked out of their …

summer_schwartz December 24, 2020

Gift that’ll keep on giving

Christmas considerations “muddied” the NSW government’s decision to modestly ease restrictions yesterday, with an anonymous minister telling the Sydney Morning Herald it would not have been done at any other time of year. The crisis cabinet …

summer_schwartz December 23, 2020

New bill targets big bullies

The federal government will today release a draft of its new Online Safety Bill, with its centrepiece reform tackling online abuse among adults. The proposed legislation will give the eSafety Commissioner the power to order the removal of abusive material, …

summer_schwartz December 22, 2020

Sydney’s Christmas countdown

Christmas plans are on hold as Sydney awaits today’s Covid case numbers, with the Australian media torn between optimism and pessimism, hope and fear. The Australian is leading with a Covid-19 Christmas miracle, while Guardian Australia

summer_schwartz December 21, 2020

Sydney home alone for Christmas

Sydneysiders are now locked out of every other state and territory, with Victoria, Queensland, the ACT, South Australia and the Northern Territory effectively shutting borders to them overnight. Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews has dispatched 700 police …