Richard Ackland
is The Saturday Paper’s legal affairs editor.

By this author


Opinion February 06, 2021

How Covid-19 transformed the courts

“The suffering has been intense. No costumes, no theatre, no crowds, no greasepaint. Barristers have been beside themselves for months as Covid-19 cancelled performances in courtrooms throughout the land. To have one’s stage so cruelly confiscated is …”

Opinion December 19, 2020

Gadfly: Speech day at St Brutes

“Thank you, Reverend Pastor Houston, for those prayers and your message about rich men walking upright through the eye of a needle, with or without a camel. Boys, remember the pastor’s encouraging words about how religion and real estate can work together in the name of our Lord.” 

Opinion December 12, 2020

Gadfly: Flint’s tone deafness

Until he popped up on Monday night’s Media Watch, Gadfly thought Emeritus Professor David Flint must have disappeared from the mortal coil. But there he was looking as splendid as a pox doctor’s apprentice on Sky “News” telling that other old stager Alan (The Parrot) Jones that Joe Biden’s election victory was a fraud, a “self-evident” fraud.

Opinion December 05, 2020

Gadfly: The Fletcher, Christian show

There has been altogether too much tedious communication from Communications Minister Paul Fletcher, the man with a permanent hangdog expression. Drawing from the playbook of Richard Alston, a Howard-era Communications minister obsessed that Aunty was not 195 per cent behind the glorious battle for Iraq, Fletcher is stamping his foot and demanding answers from the ABC board to 15 silly questions about Four Corners’ “Canberra bubble” show.

Opinion November 28, 2020

Gadfly: Cormann the barbarian

Citizens have been kicking up a dreadful fuss about Mathias Cormann spinning around Europe in an RAAF jet while lobbying to land his well-padded backside on the top chair at the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development in not-so-gay Paree. The Belgian Waffle (hat tip, Mike Carlton) has been clocking up $4300 an hour for taxpayers as part of this global pocket-moistening tour. The Europeans have been warned that Cormann may not be all he seems – despite what passes for an Australian charm exercise.

Diary November 21, 2020

Gadfly: A sorry slate of affairs

Like flies they drop, as quickly as their pants. In recent days, it has been Hugh (Percy) Marks, the Nine Entertainment panjandrum, and Carl Lentz. Yes, Lentz, the “celebrity pastor” dishing out blessings for Brian Houston at the New York branch of the Hillsong business. Carl, who strayed from the paths of righteousness with someone other than Mrs Lentz, has been defrocked by Brian. For good measure, Mrs Lentz’s pastoral duties at the New York office were also terminated.

Opinion November 14, 2020

Gadfly: Christian lessons

It was time for a few heads on pikes, or should that be Poles? Sadly, it is those adornments to public life, The Christian and The Tudge, who got piked. There’s nothing quite so enjoyable as seeing lecherous, hypocritical politicians squirming in the Four Corners spotlight. Alan Tudge, whose name comes straight out of Dickens, expressed “regret” – most likely he regretted being a family-values man who got sprung.

Opinion November 07, 2020

Gadfly: Judging democracy

It’s always better to let Republican lawyers and judges decide election outcomes. It’s so much cleaner and less fussy than trusting an untrustworthy electorate. Surely the Supreme Court of the United States, stacked with “illegitimate judges” and sex pests, will show us the way. Why should a plurality of voters decide the outcome when there are all sorts of fixes and filters to be applied?

Opinion October 31, 2020

Gadfly: Corresponding angles

The battle of the Kerr–palace correspondence is surging ahead. Historian Jenny Hocking’s book The Palace Letters was out of the stocks on Tuesday. By Tuesday next week the bookshops will also be selling the rival book, The Truth of the Palace Letters, by Monsignor Paul Kelly and Troy-Boy Bramston of The Catholic Boys Daily. We can only hope the Melbourne Cup doesn’t steal some of the limelight.

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