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

By this author


Opinion March 30, 2019

Gadfly: Howard makes his points

There they were, Little Winston Howard and Fabulous Phil Ruddock, like two grizzled Muppets at the Liberal Party’s party at the Sofitel Sydney Wentworth hotel on Saturday night. Howard has engaged Pig Iron Bob’s personal groomer to try to train his eyebrows to levels of imperial magnificence. On Pig Iron, the tufts looked impressive. On Winston they resemble small furry bush insects that have fallen asleep on his face.

Opinion March 16, 2019

Gadfly: Quill shafts for Judd

Kerri Judd, QC, the Victorian DPP, defender of the faith and protector of the courts, has possibly up to 100 media organisations and reptiles in her sights for alleged contempt. In her possession is a bristling letter from Justin Quill, whose firm, Macpherson Kelley, is acting for 53 potential media parties. This correspondence is a fallout from the Pell trial suppression orders and headlines after the cardinal’s secret conviction for “historic sexual abuse crimes”.

Opinion March 23, 2019

Gadfly: Laying it on sick

There’s so much that can make people physically sick. Army wallah and boonies Nasty Party senator Linda Reynolds told ABC viewers she was “almost physically ill” when the medivac legislation was passed by parliament. After all, it was Muslims who were on the attack in Bali, if you follow her drift. She’ll make a fine addition to Team Schmo. Other citizens were just as ill with news from New Zealand.

Opinion March 09, 2019

Gadfly: The ABC of equality

What is journalism? It’s a question hacks throughout the dry and cracked land ask themselves not infrequently – hoping an answer will arrive. Fortunately, Gaven Morris, the director of Aunty ABC’s news, analysis and investigations department, gave us a clue in his Tuesday memo to the troops.

Opinion March 02, 2019

Gadfly: Taylor-made socialism

The nation’s chief electrician, Gus Taylor, has had a frightful time trying to get his hard-baked socialist policies up and running. It was late last year that the free enterprise Greens blocked his bright plan to subsidise coal-fired power plants. For the Greens, steeped in the wealth-creating force of free markets, smaller government and lower spending, handing over taxpayers’ money to underwrite power from coal was anathema to their Ayn Rand-based philosophy. Undeterred, Red Gus is now bludgeoning electricity suppliers with price controls.

Opinion February 23, 2019

Gadfly: Making another run

Ladislaus Meissner, also known as Joe Meissner, of “Love Boat” notoriety has, after a decent interval, resurfaced. Joe has moved on from his days in the 1980s as secretary of the Enmore branch of the Labor Party and former world karate champion when his putt-putt, the Kanzen, hosted riotous onboard parties, where politicians mingled with even shadier figures. Virginia Perger, a sex worker, said she had slept with the adorable Graham Richardson on board the Kanzen only to withdraw her statement, after much thought.

Opinion February 16, 2019

Gadfly: Justice married

In a week of political panic stations it was touching to see news of Michael Kirby’s marriage to Johan van Vloten, 50 years after their first meeting on Tuesday, February 11, 1969, at the Bottoms Up Bar of the Rex Hotel in Kings Cross. It’s been onwards ever since, with Kirby’s vaulting career as a lawyer and a judge and Johan moving for a time into the newsagency business. On AIDS, discrimination, equality and a fair go even if you don’t have a go, Kirby was unbending, which brought him into conflict with some pretty grisly fossils on the bench.

Opinion February 09, 2019

Gadfly: Greg expectations

The appointment of a new chair for the ABC is in the wind. Names of the contestants have been handed in a sealed envelope to SloMo and the Human Toilet Brush. Speculation suggests the final three are Fairfax’s beloved Greg Plywood, Danny Gilbert from law shop Gilbert + Tobin and ex-Murdoch man Kimbo Williams. Plywood, we know, was in tune with Lord Moloch’s playbook – harping about the free digital news content of the ABC stealing the lunch of newspapers and commercial TV networks.

Opinion February 02, 2019

Gadfly: Leading from behind

Let’s try to keep a sense of proportion about the recent performances of a few of our most adorable contenders. First, The Mad Monk, sportsman and all-round fitness freak, who is raring to have another crack at winning Warringah for the Nasty Party, was in the Palm Beach to Whale Beach 2.8-kilometre swim last Sunday, where he finished 1013th out of 1050.

Diary January 26, 2019

Gadfly: Joyful, strained

Australia Day comes but once a year and so soon after Christmas that it seems all our heavens arrive at once. This year, we might take flatheads and fakes as our theme for the day. SloMo brought the humble flathead centrestage when he made the announcement to Lord Moloch’s tabloid consumers that he likes nothing more than hanging around the Shoalhaven Heads Hotel with Jen and the girls, “enjoying flathead and chips like everyone else”.

Diary December 22, 2018

Gadfly: St Brutes yearbook

It’s the annual speech day at St Brutes, the very private non-selective school and training ground for future Nasty Party boiler room operatives and their underlings in Cockies Corner at the other end of the dorm. The headmaster, Mr Morrison, was hoping for a speech day built around the theme of “fair dinkum” – to reflect the authenticity of Australia and its values. A cat was set among the pigeons, though, when it came to light that “fair dinkum” was actually an authentic Chinese expression from the goldfields of the 1890s.

Diary December 15, 2018

Gadfly: Stricken in the Fox house

What a pleasure it is that HBO’s Succession is being streamed by Fox Drama, even if you do have to creep past the After Dark Monsters from the Sky News lagoon to get there. This is a blistering satire of a media mogul family, so closely reminiscent of the Molochs as to be entirely recognisable. The ancient, desiccated media tsar, Logan Roy, played by Brian Cox, is surrounded by offspring squabbling over the trust and who will take the reins of his junk-laden empire.

Diary December 08, 2018

Gadfly: Saltbush silly limits

The long arm of the mining industry is everywhere, sticking its shadowy fingers into as many pork pies as it can find. The Saltbush Club is the latest conspiracy-theory entrant into the climate wars. Among its directors are legacy mining men Hugh Morgan of Western Mining and Jerry Ellis, previously on mahogany row at BHP and a former grand fromage at the Minerals Council of Australia. Old favourite Ian Plimer is also a member of the club, which recently received a rousing endorsement in the Pied Piper outlets of similarly aged media gnome Lord Moloch.