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

By this author


Diary June 01, 2019

Gadfly: Ministry of silly dorks

Schmo has unveiled his ministry littered with any number of stale and pale third-raters. In particular, we’ll have to keep our eye on Stuart “Train Crash” Robert and Fantastic Angus Taylor. Gus is already out of the box with a cry that he has a “clear mandate” to do nothing much about carbon emissions. It seems we’re still stuck with the Abbott-era strategy of no carbon price and a few trees as a way of meeting the 2030 target of a 26 per cent greenhouse gas reduction.

Opinion May 18, 2019

Gadfly: Cast from the past

You’ve got to admire the way the Nasty Party steadfastly wheels out Little Winston to wave, grin and hug people during election campaigns. He’s a reminder of things past and in a climate change election it’s good to be reminded that Winston for such a long time was a climate denier (aka sceptic). He resisted the Kyoto Protocol and stood against the implementation of legally binding carbon reduction targets.

Opinion May 25, 2019

Gadfly: Intensive prayer

One of Gadfly’s field agents who looks after dustbins close to Horizon Church in the Sutherland Shire discovered a prayer scribbled on some prime ministerial letterhead. In the interests of religious freedom, we’ve decided to share it with you: O God, how good are you? You have cleared our land of pestilence and plague and like Canaan, the son of Ham, we rose up to smite those wanting to rid you, O Lord, of your imputations that you gave us when you cleansed the money changers from the temple. It may have been your only begotten son who did that, but you knowest from where I come.

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 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 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 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”.