June 20 – 26, 2015

Prime Minister Tony Abbott during question time this week.


Abbott government weakens FOI and public service disclosure

Shutting down the office of the information commissioner is the latest gambit in the Abbott government’s quest to avoid scrutiny.



Stalling the lawyers who aid asylum seekers

“We see this as a disturbing trend … across a whole range of democratic and human rights safeguards.”

The only success in curbing mistreatment of refugees has been in the High Court. Now the government is targeting the lawyers who bring the cases.

A protester outside Sydney Town Hall holds a placard calling for the extradition of Adriana Rivas.


Accused from Pinochet’s Chile still in Australia

“My estimate would be that there are several hundred war criminals residing in Australia.”

Despite Chilean extradition orders, a former employee of Pinochet’s secret police has been allowed to remain – free – in Australia.


Animals sacrificed in the name of science

The use of animals for scientific experiments is still commonplace in Australia, but just how effective or necessary is it?

CNS lawyer Anoj Anastasius, right, with administration officer Toni Hunter.


Cutting the Aboriginal custody helpline

Instead of expanding a successful legal service with proven success reducing Aboriginal deaths in custody, the federal government is cutting its funding.

Donald Trump with his family after he announced he will run for the 2016 US presidential elections.


Indonesian alliance hardly warming up

Canada flexes passport muscle; Pope Francis wants to cut fossil fuels; Trump adds colour amid dynasties



Richard Ackland
Human rights and all that’s wrong with the Magna Carta

“Interpretations restyled from original meanings … can hardly be claimed to be a satisfactory alternative to a home-grown charter of human rights. ”


Paul Bongiorno
Tony Abbott baits hooks and pays crooks

“Nowhere does the ‘hook or by crook’ doctrine reveal itself more dramatically than in the mounting evidence that the government is now in the people-smuggling business.”


Richard Ackland
Gadfly: Bishop and her pawns

Letters, Cartoon & Editorial


ReadCartoon image, links to full cartoon page

Hot air


More time for Triggs

Your article on how the government is intent on persecuting Gillian Triggs for outlining human rights abuses is truly disturbing (Martin McKenzie-Murray, “Abbott’s war on Gillian Triggs”, …

Drawing on political knowledge

Geoff Pryor’s cartoon “The Initiation” (June 13-19) would be my nomination for cartoon of the year. Australia’s very own “Gang of Four” particularly targets women …

Read More


Image for article: Cassoulet



The slow-cooked splendour of a cassoulet.


Image for article: Across the Seas

Klaus Neumann
Across the Seas

Image for article: Mislaid

Nell Zink

Image for article: #takedown

David Blumenstein


Image for article: Disease definitions linked to pharmaceutical companies


Disease definitions linked to pharmaceutical companies

Connections between drug companies and panels that define diseases raise questions about who is considered ill and how drug markets are expanded.

Image for article: Positano, on Italy’s Almalfi Coast


Positano, on Italy’s Almalfi Coast

The cliffside houses of sun-kissed Positano, Italy, don’t so much command Mediterranean views as welcome them to stop by for the perfect aperitif.

Image for article: Super fish: Mack Horton, 19, swimmer


Super fish: Mack Horton, 19, swimmer

Commonwealth Games silver medallist Mack Horton on the Australian swim team’s cultural turnaround.

The Quiz

1. Businesswoman and philanthropist Anita Roddick, who died aged 64 in 2007, founded which well-known cosmetics franchise? 
2. Brass is an alloy of copper and …?
3. What is the literal meaning of the Italian word linguine?
4. Better known for creating a famous fictional spook, who wrote the children’s novel Chitty Chitty Bang Bang?
5. In which century did the Irish potato famine occur?
6. What is the capital and most populous city of Zimbabwe? (Bonus point for knowing the capital’s official name until 1982?)
7. Which has bigger ears – the African or Asian elephant?
8. What is the other common name for vitamin B1?
9. Star basketballer LeBron James plays for which NBA team?
10. City of Sydney councillor Christine Forster is the sister of which famous Australian?

Click through for answers.



“Such policies should not be considered a model by any country.”

– Zeid Ra’ad Al HusseinThe United Nations high commissioner for human rights is “bewildered” by Australia’s border protection program. While the government has so far been resistant to this sort of “lecturing”, Al Hussein is a Jordanian prince and will accordingly be considered for a knighthood.


“To behave in such a way seems reckless and it is hard to imagine that it was more than a public relations exercise.”

– Julian AssangeThe WikiLeaks founder complains a Swedish prosecutor cancelled an interview with him over sexual assault charges. Because if there are two things Assange abhors, they are recklessness and public relations exercises.


“Roll out the red carpet for them like it rolled out the red carpet for people smugglers when it was in government.”

– Tony AbbottThe prime minister upbraids Labor for respecting the rule of law over the stripping of citizenship. This floating red carpet sounds alarmingly Arabian.


“You get 91,500 people in any space you’re always going to get a few idiots.”

– Daniel AndrewsThe Victorian premier condemns State of Origin fans who booed and yelled during a memorial silence for late Olympic runner Ron Clarke. In cabinet rooms, you can usually narrow those odds.


“Donald Trump was not authorised to use ‘Rockin’ in the Free World’ in his presidential candidacy announcement.”

– Neil YoungThe musician objects to Trump using his music. But if there’s one song that sums up Trump’s campaign, it is a paean to the forgotten that includes the refrain “Don’t feel like Satan / but I am to them”.


“I identify as black.”

– Rachel DolezalThe former president of the Spokane branch of the National Association for the Advancement of Coloured People talks about resigning her position after it emerged she was not in fact black.