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

By this author


Opinion December 21, 2019

Gadfly: Another year at St Brutes

There’s a carnival atmosphere at St Brutes (motto: Tabula in naufragio) as the end-of-year speech day gets under way. Parents, boys and staff are assembled in a marquee on the oval. Professor Flint on the Wurlitzer falls silent as the headmaster, Mr Morrison, strides to the lectern, droplets of lunchtime pie and sauce on his chin catching the afternoon light. Pastor Houston is invited to say a short and meaningful prayer.

Opinion December 07, 2019

Gadfly: Smoking out a reality check

Citizens of Sydney and nearby parts wake each morning to the smell of their environment going up in smoke. Trees, leaves, animals, fences and homes are ablaze. The sky is a sinister colour, the rivers are empty, the air is dangerous, the oceans are filled with junk, islands are disappearing, the Earth is on its knees and the price of bread has gone up.

Opinion November 23, 2019

Gadfly: Piers-reviewed climate science

Bushfire and reproductive rights expert Barnaby Joyce, MP, may be onto something with his idea that the sun’s magnetic field is the devil behind the terrible conflagrations sweeping the nation. Citizens who labour under the belief that CO2 is the cause of our problems have clearly not read up on solar magnetic theory. One of the principal proponents of this theory is an Englishman named Piers Corbyn. Yes, the older brother of British election hopeful Jeremy Corbyn.

Diary November 16, 2019

Gadfly: Nationals’ treasures

Some people have been unkind enough to criticise former New Zealander, man of weatherboard and iron, drought envoy and one-time deputy prime minister the Honourable Barnaby Joyce, MP, after he claimed Green voters not only caused the catastrophic fires this week but also made the ultimate sacrifice for their beliefs. Did he go too far, you ask? Not at all. In the scheme of utterances from Cockies Corner, this is sensible stuff and goes down a treat.

Opinion November 09, 2019

Gadfly: Voters look back in anger

Here we are six months after the federal election and upon swaths of citizens it has dawned that they have bought tickets to a flop. If it’s cringeworthy now, imagine another two-and-a-half years of this clapped-out music-hall routine.

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 26, 2019

Gadfly: Protesters push their lock

It feels as though Sir Joh Bjelke-Petersen is back in town, what with new anti-protest laws aimed at locking up Queenslanders who disturb the peace for decent Banana Benders. The Queensland Labor regime has thrown in its lot with the hewers of coal and burners of fossils – with climate taking the hindmost.

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.

Pages