John Martinkus: ‘What my captors wanted to know’

“They are pushing the pornographic limits of their violence. It is about maintaining the attention of the West. It is cynical. And it is effective.”

When armed insurgents kidnapped the author in Iraq, they interrogated him on building a propaganda machine. A decade later, they became Daesh.



Shenhua’s Mongolia coalmining scandal highlights local fears

“I hear rumblings the Chinese are looking for a way out. They’ve been going on this for almost a decade now. They thought they’d be mining within a few years.”

International criticism hardens opponents of the Chinese coalmining giant’s plans for the Liverpool Plains, as governments roll over.


Port of Darwin’s Chinese sale surprises US

Do US concerns over the sale of the Port of Darwin to a Chinese company suggest those who question foreign investment on strategic and security grounds have a point?


Paris attacks and the dissonance of terror

“Daesh are ardent propagandists, and their presumed ubiquity is partially illusory. It might be proof of desperation, rather than strength.”

The horror of Paris, among other recent terrorist attacks, has led to new assessments of the goals and methods of Daesh, and renewed confusion as to how to respond.


High Court rules on Northern Territory’s paperless arrests

“It is no coincidence that the first man to die under the laws is an Aboriginal man.”

The death in custody of Aboriginal artist Kumanjayi Langdon has added grim testimony to a High Court challenge to the Northern Territory’s ‘paperless arrest’ laws.


Terrorism experts say: Don’t fall for it

Daesh turns to soft targets; Western security stretched; Enlist defectors, says think tank; Seeking solutions to Syrian hotbed.



Guy Rundle
Turnbull and the dangers of Uber model for the economy

“Extended education, longer retirement and the creation of a permanent benefits class have hidden the great shift. With Uberisation and automation that will rise to the point where it can no longer be ignored.”


Chris Wallace
Turnbull’s honeymoon after the divorce

“Lucy standing at Turnbull’s side now is the biggest bull point for the likely success of a prime ministership that is, as are they all, hostage to the temperament of the protagonist.”


The route of no evil

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

Letters, Cartoon & Editorial



Daesh penalty


Indigenous head of state the answer

While I wholeheartedly agree with the Australian Republican Movement that Indigenous recognition in the constitution should take precedence over a plebiscite on the republic (Sophie Morris, “Turnbull …

Bill Shorten gets his slogan

Malcolm Turnbull has fallen for the furphy propagated to good effect by, among others, David Flint, head of Australians for Constitutional Monarchy, that the people of Australia don’t care to …

Read More




Add a touch of frost with refreshing ginger granita

Summer’s here and the time is right … for cooling, tangy desserts.


Viet Thanh Nguyen
The Sympathizer

Dan Marshall
Home Is Burning

Jennifer Maiden
The Fox Petition



Dementia researchers look to dogs for breakthroughs

A deaf, once-homeless cocker spaniel has become an unlikely weapon in the fight against dementia.


Berlin social housing winning the residential race

As house and rent prices soar out of the reach of many in Australia, Berlin provides an illustration of how things can be done differently.


Firing the cannons: Robert Fletcher, 22, croquet player

The Lismore lad who’s been Association Croquet world champion since August 2013.

The Quiz

1. What does the acronym EFTPOS stand for?
2. What is the smallest breed of possum?
3. What is the capital city of Slovakia?
4. Pineal, pituitary and adrenal are all types of what?
5. In which James Bond film did George Lazenby play 007?
6. What is the Japanese word for green?
7. How many sportspeople have been named Australian of the Year this decade? (Bonus points for naming the athlete/s and the year/s.)
8. Which zodiac sign is represented by a ram?
9. Which wispy cloud takes its name from the Latin for a curling lock  of hair?
10. A violin usually has how many strings?

Click through for answers.



“By the way, I said ‘hung’ not ‘hanged’. I didn’t want her dead.”

Adam HillsThe comedian clarifies what he meant when he suggested Pauline Hanson be hung from the Harbour Bridge. Australians – so sensitive about tense, and torturing women.


“Looks like you need a new outfit. You’ve worn that twice already.”

Salim MehajerThe Auburn deputy mayor critiques the attire of a Fairfax Media court reporter. Which gives some indication of how frequently he is before a judge.


“I don’t believe a woman is a man without a cock.”

Germaine GreerThe feminist author explains her problem with transgendered women. Elsewhere in her speech at Cardiff University she made clear being a woman was “not all cake and jam”.


“I think I release myself from this prison today.”

Charlie SheenThe actor confirms that he is HIV-positive. Or HIV-winning, as he would have it.


“If same-sex marriage is passed, we will enter in my view a whole new era, an era where gender will not matter anymore.”

Guy BarnettThe Tasmanian Liberal MP votes against state support for same-sex marriage. Because a world where gender did not matter – where pay was equal, for instance – is not a world worth living in.


“The thoughts of the entire country are with his family.”

John KeyThe New Zealand prime minister mourns the death of Jonah Lomu. The rugby union great suffered a rare kidney disease.