Sami Shah
is a multi-award-winning comedian, writer and journalist.

By this author


Opinion August 07, 2021

Gadfly: Sky sees limits

It’s remarkably hard to get banned from YouTube. The platform hosts more than 500 hours of fresh videos a minute. That’s more content than even the most dedicated teenager in Sydney fighting lockdown boredom can watch in a lifetime. Almost all of that video – 720,000 hours’ worth a day – is of children unboxing toys or biting each other. The remainder is video of Alan Jones being sceptical about vaccines on Sky News.

Opinion July 24, 2021

Gadfly: The Hopkins solution

There is a moment in Alan Moore’s seminal comic book series, Watchmen, when the genius mastermind controlling the world from the shadows reveals that the only thing that can bring humanity together is fear of something new. We are bound most tightly when we are bound by a hatred of the unknown. To that end, he engineers the conclusion of the Cold War by manufacturing evidence of an alien invasion, persuading the proverbial superpowers to unite against a new foe, which doesn’t actually exist.

Opinion July 17, 2021

Gadfly: Kevintervention for your Ruddspiracy theory

We don’t have great conspiracy theories here in Australia. Not compared with Americans, whose conspiracy theories are fantastic in their sheer creativity: an air force base in Nevada is secretly a UFO hangar, the CIA had president John F. Kennedy killed by weaponising grassy knolls, the moon-landing was filmed by Stanley Kubrick on a soundstage, and something metallurgically implausible involving jet fuels and steel beams and 9/11.

Opinion July 10, 2021

Gadfly: Banking on Julia

Joining the Liberal Party has always been an ideologically driven decision. It is a pledge to uphold the values outlined by Robert Menzies  in 1944: traditionalism against the march of modernity, minimising government intervention in the ability of the individual to generate wealth, and a commitment to harassing the daylights out of women while calling yourself things like “big swinging dicks”. It isn’t just a commitment to the party of John Howard, Malcolm Fraser, Harold Holt and Robert Menzies; it's also a commitment to the party of Andrew Laming, Christian Porter, Craig Kelly and Eric Abetz.

Opinion July 03, 2021

Gadfly: Just Joyce

For a politician to get noticed these days, they have to be spectacularly bad at their job. On this principle, the Coalition has produced some of the mightiest figures in Australian political history, characters who will be studied for generations to come, so future leaders can learn just how bad it can get.

Opinion June 26, 2021

Gadfly: Barnaby’s back

Australians have been hankering for a leadership spill for a while now. The memory of the last one is so distant we’ve forgotten what that potent mix of adrenalin and disappointment feels like. Nary a week goes by without someone with a Canberra mailing address shouting about an imminent leadership spill on social media, trying to goad Josh Frydenberg into taking a stab at his boss. That bait has not yet been nibbled, but it has clearly put ideas into the head of Australia’s favourite philanderer. Just a quick spill later and Barnaby Joyce is once again deputy prime minister.

Opinion June 19, 2021

Gadfly: First they
came for Friendlyjordies…

A test of one’s commitment to free speech isn’t fighting for the speech you like but the speech you don’t like. It is inevitable that censorship encroaches from the latter to the former. Never has that maxim been tested more, though, than in the case of Friendlyjordies v the State of New South Wales.

Opinion June 12, 2021

Gadfly: Paterson Twitters on

Electing a political representative is neither a power lightly given nor one that should be casually accepted. Yet too often the personal indulgences of politicians are overlooked. A combination of apathy and lethargy seemingly dictates our lack of response to such leadership failures. As such, it is understandable so few politicians even bother pretending to care for the needs of their electorate. Every now and then though, a politician remembers their duty. Driven by a sense of purpose, or perhaps a deep-seated respect for public office, they stand up and make the moral choice: they trawl through the tweets of ABC journalists to see what they’ve liked or retweeted.

Opinion June 05, 2021

Gadfly: Most cursed city

Remember that sound you heard on Wednesday, the one the seismologists registered, which startled flocks of birds into flight and shattered spectacles and wine glasses? That was Melbourne. That was five million people cursing aloud when they were told that lockdown would be extended for another week.

Opinion May 29, 2021

Gadfly: Outbreak breakouts

During the height of Melbourne’s lockdown last year, many conservative commentators argued we were sacrificing our economy to protect the elderly, who would inevitably just die anyway. The federal government, it seems, has taken up the call for geronticide, even as the economy rebounds. It remains firmly committed to a vaccination strategy that’s been more of a vibe than a rollout, with confusing messaging around who qualifies, when they qualify and why they should avoid AstraZeneca even if they do qualify.

Opinion May 22, 2021

Gadfly: The eye of the storm

It’s been a fairly quiet week for the Morrison government. In the limbo between the budget and next week’s session of parliament, everything’s gone a bit (more) dull in Canberra. We can expect several scandals to break simultaneously on Monday as everyone plays catch-up.

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