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

By this author


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.

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.

Opinion August 10, 2019

Gadfly: Furphy Brown

Sadly, Gadfly’s invitation to hear Minister for Minerals Matteo Canavani at Chuckles Henderson’s Institute got lost in the mail. It promised to be a spellbinding evening, with the topic “The Link Between Pope Pius XI and Bob Brown”. The theological possibilities are intriguing, especially when you consider Pius XI – formerly Achille Ratti – and the regime of Benito Mussolini had a lot in common.

Diary August 03, 2019

Gadfly: Grassy-eyed Gus

Things have got to a pretty rancid state if Pauline Hanson has to ride to your rescue. And rancid they are with #Grassgate. Fantastic Gussy Taylor, the squillionaire MP whose family is under investigation for allegedly squirting pesticide on endangered grasses, is significantly off the hook, thanks to Hanson.

Opinion July 27, 2019

Gadfly: Out of saddle and addled

Little wonder Nick “Goosebumps” Cater very quickly lost the plot on Monday’s Q&A. The poor fellow from the Menzies “Research” Centre had just stepped off his Pollie Pedal bicycle, after he and a bunch of other ageing, angry, white reactionaries in Lycra and dyed hair roared into towns in northern New South Wales and southern Queensland, sweatily inspecting war memorials and other remnants of past glories.

Diary 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 13, 2019

Gadfly: Gus’s power play defused

Fantastic Angus has been so busy with explanations about the poisoning of endangered grasslands on a family spread that he’s taken his eye off the ball. Both carbon emissions and power prices have gone in the opposite direction to that promised by Schmo Morrison’s junta. Emissions are up, up, up, and so too are power prices. Fantastic. Great move. Well done, Angus.

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.

News June 15, 2019

Michael Kirby’s broad church

Since retiring from the judiciary, former High Court justice Michael Kirby has been busier than ever – lending his lofty intellect to, among other things, campaigns for a bill of rights and an Indigenous voice to parliament.

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.

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