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

By this author


Opinion July 20, 2019

Gadfly: Reinventing their spiel

“Cry Freedom” echoes through the wide, brown land as reptiles and hacks try to throw off the shackles of oppression. Some of them have been, or still are, Moloch employees whose newspapers cheered on the slate of overwrought post-September 11 national security laws that bit by bit tightened the noose around the reporting of politically sensitive matters that had received the green elephant stamp of “top secret”.

Opinion July 06, 2019

Gadfly: A slice of Evan

How good is Australia? Gadfly returns home after three weeks on a global escapade and finds nothing whatsoever has changed. Schmo Morrison, Fantastic Angus and Benito Dutton are still strutting their half-baked stuff, and on we stagger. The only noticeable excitement on the horizon is that Schmo has his ears back for a good old beano with Iran.

Opinion June 15, 2019

Gadfly: Security counsel

Senior members of the Commonwealth’s cop squad have been working overtime on coming up with fresh meanings for the phrase “national security”. To paraphrase Humpty Dumpty, it really means just what the government chooses it to mean, neither more nor less. Certainly it covers things such as bugging the Timor-Leste ministerial offices, or soldiers shooting the wrong people in Afghanistan, or plans by spooky public servants to spy on the entire population. All of that comes under the Humpty Dumpty definition, which really has nothing to do with national security at all, but more to do with government embarrassment.

Opinion June 08, 2019

Gadfly: Morris dances to many tunes

Poor Gaven Morris, the man in charge of “news, analysis and investigations” at Your Aunty. No sooner was he having to bat away allegations he closed down a radio current affairs story about the loss-leading economics of Adani’s Carmichael coalmine than he had Constable Plod of the Australian Federal Police at his door, saying, “Ullo, ullo, ullo, wot’s going on here, then?” With a breathtakingly broad warrant, Plod was hunting for the sources connected to ABC stories published in 2017 about Australia’s clandestine special forces operations in Afghanistan.

Diary June 01, 2019

Gadfly: Ministry of silly dorks

Schmo has unveiled his ministry littered with any number of stale and pale third-raters. In particular, we’ll have to keep our eye on Stuart “Train Crash” Robert and Fantastic Angus Taylor. Gus is already out of the box with a cry that he has a “clear mandate” to do nothing much about carbon emissions. It seems we’re still stuck with the Abbott-era strategy of no carbon price and a few trees as a way of meeting the 2030 target of a 26 per cent greenhouse gas reduction.

Opinion May 25, 2019

Gadfly: Intensive prayer

One of Gadfly’s field agents who looks after dustbins close to Horizon Church in the Sutherland Shire discovered a prayer scribbled on some prime ministerial letterhead. In the interests of religious freedom, we’ve decided to share it with you: O God, how good are you? You have cleared our land of pestilence and plague and like Canaan, the son of Ham, we rose up to smite those wanting to rid you, O Lord, of your imputations that you gave us when you cleansed the money changers from the temple. It may have been your only begotten son who did that, but you knowest from where I come.

Opinion May 18, 2019

Gadfly: Cast from the past

You’ve got to admire the way the Nasty Party steadfastly wheels out Little Winston to wave, grin and hug people during election campaigns. He’s a reminder of things past and in a climate change election it’s good to be reminded that Winston for such a long time was a climate denier (aka sceptic). He resisted the Kyoto Protocol and stood against the implementation of legally binding carbon reduction targets.

Opinion May 11, 2019

Gadfly: Egging to differ

The history of citizens egging their politicians is long and distinguished. When Billy Hughes was egged at Warwick, Queensland, in 1917 he ordered the local copper to arrest the offender, Patrick Brosnan. Senior Sergeant Kenny refused, saying that the PM had no jurisdiction over him – hence we got the Commonwealth Police, which morphed into the Australian Federal Police.

Opinion May 04, 2019

Gadfly: Candidates with destiny

The election campaign is in full stride and citizens at long last are getting their money’s worth. Scenes of Pauline in tears over Steve Dickson’s derailment of her plans to turn Australia into a bogan paradise were particularly endearing. This was a terrific performance of a grievance peddler playing the victim. Unfortunately, it’s the distressing but inevitable fallout of her party’s preselection processes, which are carefully designed to get drongos running for parliament.

Opinion April 27, 2019

Gadfly: Gus tries to block the leaks

Gadfly always had a strong feeling The Beetrooter and Gussy Taylor would rescue a dismal election campaign from complete boredom. Citizens are now focusing on the brilliance of making $79 million from taxpayers by selling rainwater and sending the loot to the Cayman Islands where it is safely tucked up out of reach from the grasping maw of the taxman.

Opinion April 20, 2019

Gadfly: Bill’s joint adventure

So good to see the Shortens among the shorthorns, baby goats and bottled preserves at Sydney’s Royal Easter Show. But it was on the Central Coast where the leader of the opposition made a lasting impression while participating with a whole pile of little kids in a “slip, slop, slap” awareness moment. Gadfly has been unable to get out of his mind Shorten’s eccentric use of his knuckles in applying sunscreen to his face. I suspect there’s a lot we don’t know about this man but the sunscreen incident was a valuable insight.

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