December 20 - January 24, 2015


Then prime minister John Howard (left) and his ‘political love child’ Tony Abbott.


Floral tributes cover Martin Place, Sydney, near the scene of Monday’s Lindt cafe siege.


The year that was: Seeking meaning inside a vacuum

Martin McKenzie-Murray chronicles the year, from spirited victories on the sports field to the final moments of the Sydney siege and what followed.

Michael O’Neill arrives on Tuesday at the Supreme Court of Victoria.


What drove Michael O’Neill to murder Stuart Rattle?

How did the extravagant life of Melbourne interior designer Stuart Rattle end with his murder by partner Michael O’Neill?

Indonesian President Joko Widodo takes  a selfie with his youngest son’s classmates in Singapore last month.



The biggest barnacle

Diarist-at-large Richard Ackland flys about the nation.

Letters, Cartoon & Editorial


ReadCartoon image, links to full cartoon page

In a bell of unknowing


Those who care should act

I read the article on Shaima by Martin McKenzie-Murray (“Family murdered as Morrison stalls”, December 13-19) and I wept. It is by this government that we are shamed. The Labor government …

Blind pursuit of ideology

Martin McKenzie-Murray paints a disturbing picture in Scott Morrison’s grasping after unfettered secret powers. Disturbing for what it reveals, apart from terrible tragedy. Outcomes of his inhumane …

Read More


Image for article: Roasted crayfish with herb butter


Roasted crayfish with herb butter

Christmas comes but once a year – and with it an almighty spread.


Image for article: Books 2014 #1


Books 2014 #1

Selections from a year in print. Best New Talent, Guilty Pleasure, Most Overrated, Most Unwelcome.

Image for article: Books 2014 #2


Books 2014 #2

Selections from a year in print. Best New Talent, Guilty Pleasure, Most Overrated, Most Unwelcome.


Image for article: Christchurch: a city that's been shaken but also stirred


Christchurch: a city that’s been shaken but also stirred

The scars of the 2011 earthquake remain apparent, but Christchurch’s heart is beating strongly once more thanks to innovative projects.

Image for article: King of the high seas: Mark Richards, 46, yachtsman


King of the high seas: Mark Richards, 46, yachtsman

Wild Oats XI skipper Mark Richards on why he loves wild oceans but dreams of perfect race conditions.

The Quiz

1. According to the Christmas song “The Twelve Days of Christmas”, what did my true love send me 10 of? (Bonus points for singing it from start to finish.)
2. Who played the title role in the 2003 film Bad Santa?
3. In what year did Band Aid release the original single “Do They Know It’s Christmas?”?
4. How many ghosts visit Ebenezer Scrooge in Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol?
5. Hanukkah is a Jewish celebration spanning how many days?
6. In 1822 Clement Clarke Moore wrote which well-known Christmas poem?
7. At what time on December 26 will a cannon shot signal the start of the Sydney-to-Hobart yacht race?
8. Which ballet features the “Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairy”.
9. Which plant do lovers traditionally kiss under at Christmas time?
10. Boxing Day is also known as which saint’s day?

Click through for answers.



“It’s none of my business if he had a sex worker, but it is my business if he used someone else’s money.”

Carolyn DouglasThe county court judge imposes a $25,000 fine on former MP Craig Thomson after he was acquitted of most of the fraud charges against him. It is not clear if the court takes card.


“Torture to me is an American citizen on a cell phone making a last call to his four young daughters.”

Dick CheneyThe former US vice-president responds to a CIA report into advanced interrogation techniques. He really does not understand what torture is.


“And I can tell you from personal experience, if your parents worked in politics, well, you know the rest.”

Jeb BushThe son of one US president and brother of another threatens to “actively explore” a tilt for the White House.


“I believe that in these dealings with suppliers, Coles crossed the line.”

John DurkanThe managing director of Coles responds with oligopolistic understatement to $10 million worth of penalties imposed by the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission over supplier mistreatment and unconscionable conduct.


“Declined due to the expiration of the statute of limitations.”

Victor RodriguezThe deputy district attorney confirms comic Bill Cosby will not be charged with the alleged sexual assault of a 15-year-old girl at the Playboy mansion. She was the only one of 20 alleged victims to bring formal charges against Cosby.


“We don’t blame the Pope for the IRA, and we don’t blame the Catholics living next door for the folly of some people … who may claim a Christian motivation.”

Tony AbbottThe prime minister admirably defines the religious scope of the Sydney siege.


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