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

By this author

Diary June 06, 2020

Gadfly: That Cory old chestnut

Just as a grateful nation thought Cory Bernardi, the former pub keeper, former Liberal and former Australian Conservative, had stumbled off into that special pantheon reserved for “unrepresentative swill”, we find he’s back, looking to put his hand in your pocket. Yes. Cory Bernardi Confidential has been launched – a special website with intriguing gems behind a paywall, including “Who’s been swimming naked?” and “Is this the new normal?”

Diary May 23, 2020

Gadfly: The inking person’s judge

It’s not often that retired judges get much of a sendoff when they peg out. Invariably, a few grizzled legal types wince at the thought they may be next as they read death notices in the bar newsletter. Not so for David Levine, a man with one of the largest private libraries and book collections in the country. His departure was met with a genuine outpouring of affection from lawyers, arts administrators and literary figures.

Diary May 30, 2020

Gadfly: Grouper stupor

The ABC people know a trick or two about ratings triumphs. Having Grouper Greg Sheridan on Insiders as frequently as possible is a sure-fire winner. There’s the grizzled Grouper, with his tinted locks, nice and warm in his jumper and comfy jacket, dragging more viewers to the show by extolling the virtues of fossils and pooh-poohing market mechanisms to put a price on them: “Coal is still the best option for Australia; the second-best option would be gas; nuclear would be a very good option.”

Opinion May 16, 2020

Gadfly: Quiet as a church mouth

Gadfly, along with an anxious nation, was looking forward to last weekend’s Catholic Boys Daily. Surely, it would be bursting with explanations from all the favourites on how the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse got it wrong in its unredacted report on the state of Cardinal Pell’s knowledge about the Ballarat Paedophile Club.

Opinion May 09, 2020

Gadfly: Reality smites

Death and the plague. Whenever Gadfly reaches for his well-thumbed Pears’ Cyclopaedia he finds that plagues turn out worse than everyone had hoped. What does this pattern of history mean in regard to Schmo’s “snapback” or the impressive “V-shaped recovery”? All the economic pundits Gadfly can discover say the PM’s smoking something.

Diary May 02, 2020

Gadfly: Trumble in the Moloch jungle

Lord Moloch’s press is leaving no stone unturned in letting a couple of confirmed Trumble detractors give a vigorous “welcome” to the former PM’s book A Bigger Picture. Last Thursday, The Daily Smellograph treated us to an analysis by Peter King, a former member for Wentworth, trounced by Trumble in a bitter preselection in 2003, amid accusations of branch stacking and branch stripping.

Diary April 25, 2020

Gadfly: Grouper Greg’s Aunty agony

What a marvellously engaging week we’ve had, made all the more diverting by a couple of creatures who emerged from the Black Lagoon. First, there was Grouper Greg Sheridan from The Catholic Boys Daily, complaining on Insiders about the ABC doing what in the trade is called journalism. Specifically, he had his knickers in a twist about the investigatory work ABC reporters had done on Cardinal Pell. Grouper, a failed seminarian, thought the investigation was unfair because it was a “monolithic” attack.

Opinion April 18, 2020

Gadfly: Warranted confusion

The High Court, exhausted after its unanimous feat in the Pell appeal, broke into clusters to come up with its thinking on The Sunday Telegraph’s challenge to Constable Plod’s warrant to search and seize data and documents from journalist Annika Smethurst’s home. After all, Smethurst was the reporter who brought us news of plans being hatched to extend the powers of the Australian Signals Directorate to covertly access data about the life and movements of Australian citizens – a story that was fair and square in the public interest.

Diary April 10, 2020

Gadfly: Justice deserts

Right after Sarah Ferguson on ABC TV added to suspicions that George Pell is a child molester, revealing there are several civil claims against the cardinal waiting in the wings, the High Court has gone and upset the apple cart with some complicated thinking about “reasonable doubt … unchallenged evidence … [and] innocence”.

Opinion April 04, 2020

Gadfly: Message palaver

Where’s Siiiiimon Reynolds when you need him? You’ll remember Siiiiimon as the adman who created the Grim Reaper advertisement in 1987, during the AIDS epidemic. It was a controversial yet highly effective message that drove home HIV awareness. Today the message about coronavirus could be coming into people’s mobile phones, daily, three times a day, whatever it takes.

Opinion March 28, 2020

Gadfly: Trump’s life or debt decision

One savvy business sage who this week was in Gadfly’s ear thinks the fast-failing enterprises in the United States might see Bone Spurs Trump become the first president in office to go bankrupt. The value of his gilded city towers and hotels is crashing with each passing moment and given they are leveraged to buggery with either Deutsche Bank or the Russian mafia, the whole rickety edifice will soon be underwater.

Opinion March 21, 2020

Gadfly: West slide story

The Pussy Grabber, Boris the Bonker, Schmo Morrison and dreamers of the alt-right all struggled to come to terms with the alarming rate at which coronavirus is spreading. Their denialism is instinctive and they only pulled out their fingers when it was too late.

Opinion March 14, 2020

Gadfly: Bench warning

Those north Queensland beaks sure know how to dish out justice to anti-coal protesters chaining themselves to cattle grids or concrete drums to hamper workers turning up for fossil fuel duties.