Abbott’s plans from the backbench

“In a provocative riposte to Turnbull, Abetz warns that 'the purge of the conservatives has diminished the voice of the rank and file in the Liberal Party'.”

Turnbull is fighting a rearguard action with conservatives who believe Abbott should return to cabinet, and maybe even the leadership.



The truth about John Howard’s East Timor ‘liberation’

“Australia’s political leaders completely misjudged the situation on the ground, and then lied about the extent of their knowledge to avoid political embarrassment.”

As Indonesian troops fired on a compound of refugees in Dili, John Howard directed the AFP to withdraw. Had they followed orders, they would have left 3000 people to certain death.


Complicit content after domestic abuse

“For the past month I’ve cast Steve as both villain and victim in my head, never clear on who he might be.”

As an incident of domestic violence sends shockwaves through Sydney’s comedy scene, guilt may lie not just with the perpetrator but the men who protected him.


Malcolm Turnbull rethinks climate strategy

A policy of ‘indirect action’ may be one way Malcolm Turnbull can hang on to the reins of the Coalition while keeping his emissions reduction dream alive.


2015: A carnival of cognitive dissonance

“Abbott’s concept of danger and salvation made for strange priorities. His contempt for a televised talk show eclipsed his attention to economic atrophy.”

If anything existed to make sense of the past year, it was a stubborn refusal to accept realities – in politics, in sport, in life.


Coal comfort from Paris climate talks

Is Le Pen mightier than accord?; Coming up Trump; Ki-moon descends but will Kevin rise?; Farewell to scholar Benedict Anderson; Super spy story



Tony Windsor
What Turnbull lost when Ian Macfarlane failed

“Macfarlane is intellectually above all the Nats with the possible exception of Truss ... There is real concern that Joyce as leader and potentially deputy prime minister could be electorally damaging for the Coalition. ”


Paul Bongiorno
Turnbull and the national accounts

“Morrison’s claim that he would not raise the GST simply to allow the states to spend the revenue is baffling. All revenue is raised so governments can spend it. ”


Search on for new victims

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

Letters, Cartoon & Editorial



Spy muster


Asserting nation’s rights

Hamish McDonald’s article (“Pipe dream”, November 28-December 4) confusingly conflates the maritime boundary dispute between Timor-Leste and Australia, our south coast Tasi Mane supply …

A growing problem

It was great to read an article acknowledging that one of the biggest risks to our ambition to keep global warming under 2 degrees is our species’ rapid population growth (Max Opray, “Carbon admissions”, …

Read More




Glazed Christmas ham and pickled cherries

The perfect Christmas ham … with a cherry on top.



Books 2015 #1

Reviewers' picks from the year in print. Best New Talent, Guilty Pleasure, Most Overrated, Most Disappointing.


Books 2015 #2

Reviewers' picks from the year in print. Best New Talent, Guilty Pleasure, Most Overrated, Most Disappointing.



The best wine of 2015

A guide to the top tipples of the year.


Alice McCall in Wonderland

Playsuit queen Alice McCall will be the first Australian designer to open a stand-alone boutique in China.


Aces high: Sam Groth, 28, tennis player

Late-bloomer Sam Groth on his best year in tennis yet.


Survivor diaries

A year on from her diagnosis, Jo Lennan reflects on the ups and downs of life after cancer.


Birdwatchers twitch and shout

Birdwatching, or ‘twitching’, is a terrific way to enjoy the great outdoors – but during the 24-hour Twitchathon it isn’t a calm one.


Dead-end jobs

New short fiction from South Australian-born award-winning author DBC Pierre.

The Quiz

1. Kansas City is the largest city of which US state?
2. Friends Siobhan Fahey, Keren Woodward and Sara Dallin formed which band in the late 1970s? 
3. What name beginning with “h” is given to a yearling sheep?
4. Rapper Curtis James Jackson III is better known as…?
5. In which country is Malacca International Airport?
6. Do ligaments connect bones or muscles?
7. Whom did Gough Whitlam refer to as Kerr’s cur in 1975?
8. What is the currency of Egypt?
9. Robert Crawley, Beryl Patmore, Charles Carson, Anna Bates and Tom Branson are all characters in which British television series?
10. According to a Shakespeare play, who does the ghost of Banquo torment?
11. Australian Aborigine Harry Penrith became famous as activist …?
12. In which European city is Oscar Wilde buried?
13. Before Ban Ki-moon, who was secretary-general of the United Nations?
14. In the film Pretty Woman what was the first name of the character played by Julia Roberts?
15. In music, what tempo is andante?
16. In which city is the television series The Wire set?
17. From which plant is tequila derived?
18. What is the capital city of Switzerland?
19. Which of these films did Steven Spielberg not direct: (a) Saving Private Ryan; (b) Minority Report; or (c) The Departed?
20.  “Call me Ishmael” is the opening line from which classic novel?
21. What is the most densely populated country in the European Union?
22. What system of the human body transports oxygen and nutrients to cells?
23. What empire was founded in 1299 by Oghuz Turks?
24. Which artist has just completed their “1989” world tour?
25. A full bench of Australia’s High Court comprises how many justices?
26. What is the main mining export of Port Hedland?
27. Canada comprises how many provinces?
28. What is the closest known star to Earth?
29. Who wrote the memoir Wild: From Lost to Found on the Pacific Crest Trail?
30. How many Olympic Games will basketballer Lauren Jackson have competed in if she makes the team for Rio 2016?
31. What is the main spirit in a Rob Roy cocktail?
32. How many elements on the periodic table: (a) 118; (b) 123; or (c) 99?
33. Which non-entertainer has the most Twitter followers?
34. The invasion of which country sparked World War II?
35. What is fermented to make the Japanese drink sake?
36. In Roman numerals, what number is represented by the letters LX?
37. What does DNA stand for?
38. Who is known as the “Father of Loud” due to his cutting-edge work on amplifiers for rock guitarists?
39. The first five books of the Hebrew Bible are called the…
40. Who captained the Australian Test cricket team directly before Mark Taylor?

Click through for answers.