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

By this author


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 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 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 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.

Opinion April 13, 2019

Gadfly: The A-Team’s heroes for hire

There’s a sense of relief that the nation is now in caretaker mode – a nice change from the usual arrangement where the affairs of state are conducted with unremitting carelessness.

Opinion April 06, 2019

The media and contempt of court

“In essence, we now have a full-scale turf war between two crucial components of the democratic state – an independent judiciary and a free press, both seeking to defend their respective territory.”

Opinion April 06, 2019

Gadfly: Not beyond regional doubt

Already the leaflets from people chasing votes are flooding into citizens’ inboxes. Former Labor man Warren Mundine, now the Liberal Party pea for Gilmore, is up and at it. His email to electors claimed: “I’ve spent my entire life in regional Australia, helping to create jobs and build communities. I’ll fight for you and stand up for our region’s needs.”

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 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 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 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.