diary June 27, 2020

Gadfly: Dicey business

It’s as though the entire conservative cause in our weird nation has been deracinated. The allegations against Dyson Heydon leave much havoc in their wake. His political sponsors, Little Winston Howard and the Mad Monk, look gormless, while he has blotted the escutcheons of luminous institutions from the High Court to the University of Sydney, where he is an emeritus professor.

diary June 20, 2020

Gadfly: Mad Monk’s misjudgement

After the Mad Monk’s remark that there is no evidence the court system gives Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people a terrible time, it is just as well that his bronzed bust at the Ballarat avenue of prime ministers is now sheathed in protective wrapping. A spray can of red paint also decorated the bust of his beloved spiritual godfather, and another emblem of regressive Australia, Little Winston Howard. Now taped in plastic wrap, both of them have never looked better.

diary June 13, 2020

Gadfly: Yabsley tat’ll do

Hurry. Rush. Lawsons’ online auction of Michael Yabsley’s load of bric-a-brac and tat closes at 7pm on Saturday. The former Nasty Party New South Wales Prisons minister is clearing out his Wombat Hollow playground in the wake of his lifestyle change and move from the Southern Highlands to Darlinghurst.

diary June 6, 2020

Gadfly: That Cory old chestnut

Just as a grateful nation thought Cory Bernardi, the former pub keeper, former Liberal and former Australian Conservative, had stumbled off into that special pantheon reserved for “unrepresentative swill”, we find he’s back, looking to put his hand in your pocket. Yes. Cory Bernardi Confidential has been launched – a special website with intriguing gems behind a paywall, including “Who’s been swimming naked?” and “Is this the new normal?”

diary May 30, 2020

Gadfly: Grouper stupor

The ABC people know a trick or two about ratings triumphs. Having Grouper Greg Sheridan on Insiders as frequently as possible is a sure-fire winner. There’s the grizzled Grouper, with his tinted locks, nice and warm in his jumper and comfy jacket, dragging more viewers to the show by extolling the virtues of fossils and pooh-poohing market mechanisms to put a price on them: “Coal is still the best option for Australia; the second-best option would be gas; nuclear would be a very good option.”

diary May 23, 2020

Gadfly: The inking person’s judge

It’s not often that retired judges get much of a sendoff when they peg out. Invariably, a few grizzled legal types wince at the thought they may be next as they read death notices in the bar newsletter. Not so for David Levine, a man with one of the largest private libraries and book collections in the country. His departure was met with a genuine outpouring of affection from lawyers, arts administrators and literary figures.

diary May 16, 2020

Gadfly: Quiet as a church mouth

Gadfly, along with an anxious nation, was looking forward to last weekend’s Catholic Boys Daily. Surely, it would be bursting with explanations from all the favourites on how the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse got it wrong in its unredacted report on the state of Cardinal Pell’s knowledge about the Ballarat Paedophile Club.

diary May 9, 2020

Gadfly: Reality smites

Death and the plague. Whenever Gadfly reaches for his well-thumbed Pears’ Cyclopaedia he finds that plagues turn out worse than everyone had hoped. What does this pattern of history mean in regard to Schmo’s “snapback” or the impressive “V-shaped recovery”? All the economic pundits Gadfly can discover say the PM’s smoking something.

diary May 2, 2020

Gadfly: Trumble in the Moloch jungle

Lord Moloch’s press is leaving no stone unturned in letting a couple of confirmed Trumble detractors give a vigorous “welcome” to the former PM’s book A Bigger Picture. Last Thursday, The Daily Smellograph treated us to an analysis by Peter King, a former member for Wentworth, trounced by Trumble in a bitter preselection in 2003, amid accusations of branch stacking and branch stripping.

diary April 25, 2020

Gadfly: Grouper Greg’s Aunty agony

What a marvellously engaging week we’ve had, made all the more diverting by a couple of creatures who emerged from the Black Lagoon. First, there was Grouper Greg Sheridan from The Catholic Boys Daily, complaining on Insiders about the ABC doing what in the trade is called journalism. Specifically, he had his knickers in a twist about the investigatory work ABC reporters had done on Cardinal Pell. Grouper, a failed seminarian, thought the investigation was unfair because it was a “monolithic” attack.

diary April 18, 2020

Gadfly: Warranted confusion

The High Court, exhausted after its unanimous feat in the Pell appeal, broke into clusters to come up with its thinking on The Sunday Telegraph’s challenge to Constable Plod’s warrant to search and seize data and documents from journalist Annika Smethurst’s home. After all, Smethurst was the reporter who brought us news of plans being hatched to extend the powers of the Australian Signals Directorate to covertly access data about the life and movements of Australian citizens – a story that was fair and square in the public interest.