Richard Ackland
is the publisher of Justinian. He is The Saturday Paper’s diarist-at-large and legal affairs editor.

By this author


Diary November 02, 2019

Gadfly: Lowering the Barr

The United States Department of Justice is set to launch a criminal investigation into itself and the events that precipitated the Mueller investigation into pro-Trump Russian meddling during the 2016 presidential election. This inquiry has been ordered by Billy Barr-Barr, the attorney-general and flunkey-in-chief to ol’ Bone Spurs. It’s such a screwy time in Washington.

Diary October 19, 2019

Gadfly: Points scoring

The talking points from the PM’s office that this week plopped accidentally into the inboxes of “undisclosed recipients” are designed so that a chorus of government parrots can squawk in the same tune. Bubble people in Canberra shrug off these revelations as uninteresting fare – yet for non-bubble citizens they provide a depressing insight into the contrived nature of our politics, the thin veneer of what passes for policies and the mind-numbing banalities deployed to prop them up.

Opinion October 12, 2019

Gadfly: A Greek comedy duo

The dazzling Athenian sunshine caught the highlights of Kevin Andrews’ luxuriant crop of Grecian 2000-enhanced hair as he took coffee at a footpath cafe in Skoufa, close to the Greek capital’s embassy district. But hold on, there was an even bigger distraction. Pauline Hanson, that heart-throb of menopausal males from the boondocks, was perched close by. Quite the strange pairing to spot on holiday together in the Mediterranean.

Diary October 05, 2019

Gadfly: Removing the Downer cover

#Thighgate and #Arcurigate have gripped the Sceptred Isle, while at the same moment Washington is flooded with subpoenas issued to President Bone Spurs’ posse of hit men, and Hong Kong celebrates the 70th anniversary of the Chinese Communist Party with its own special fireworks.

Opinion September 28, 2019

Gadfly: My friend (insert name)

Trump’s bone spurs must be giving him hell. Standing for hours on end to smother Schmo Morrison in effusions at a welcome ceremony, at a press conference, at a state dinner and then at Anthony Pratt’s cardboard factory. Agony for the Radge Orange Bampot, and for everyone else in earshot.

Opinion September 21, 2019

Gadfly: Donation building

Schmo Morrison was in full marketing-man mode as he batted away accusations against forgetful Comrade Gladys Liu. Membership of a strange Chinese state propaganda machine; squillions of dollars raised at great fundraising feasts; agitation to amend the foreign investment regime so Chinese business can snap up swaths of agricultural land – nothing to see here, move on, says Schmo.

Opinion September 14, 2019

Gadfly: Legal eagles take to Sky

It was a star-encrusted night on Tuesday as the New South Wales Council for Civil Liberties held its annual knees-up at Sky Phoenix in Sydney. This was not just a few lefties munching on dim sum around a lazy Susan in a Chinese restaurant. Rather, it was a grand affair bursting with judges, lawyers, politicians, scientists, captains of industry, academics, public administrators, journalists and other worthies.

Diary September 07, 2019

Gadfly: Held over a Barilaro

Giovanni (Pork) Barilaro, deputy premier and king of Cockies Corner in the New South Wales parliament, has been busy puffing hot air and positioning himself for a move to Canberra. But he has other pressing concerns: unfortunately for Giovanni, the Australian Taxation Office has applied for a winding-up order for Ryleho Group Pty Ltd, the Queanbeyan timber doors-and-windows operation he owns with his brother Tony.

Diary August 31, 2019

Gadfly: Ramsay tweak

The University of Queensland and the Ramsayites, after a lot of fumbling and frottage, finally got into bed together. UQ joins the University of Wollongong in producing scholars honed and buffed in the ways of Western “civilisation”.

Opinion August 24, 2019

Gadfly: Wrangling a Parrot

The week belonged to the Parrot, the hero of Struggle Street. He was up to his old attention-grabbing schtick: vile remarks, followed by public fury, doubling down, a tight-lipped “apology”, then threats from management that this was his “last chance”. There was a special twist on this occasion – Jones complained the ABC’s Media Watch didn’t broadcast all of his comments about Jacinda Ardern. If there’s anything the Parrot likes, it’s the full context of his unvarnished misogynistic diatribes.

Diary August 17, 2019

Gadfly: Raising the steaks

Well, that was a fine start to the post-Hayne banking royal commission litigation. The regulator, the Australian Securities and Investments Commission, went down in a heap in its action against Westpac, where it alleged the bank was in breach of responsible lending laws in relation to more than 260,000 home loan applicants. ASIC claimed the lending formula applied by the bank meant borrowers could be led into hardship because their ability to service the loan was insufficiently appraised. Not at all, said Justice Nye Perram in the Federal Court. Borrowers could simply refine their spending habits when times got tough, citing a money-saving move away from wagyu and shiraz to something more affordable – Spam and rice, perhaps.

Pages