February 20 – 26, 2016

Philip Ruddock (standing) and Andrew Robb in Canberra  last week.


Legal questions over Robb, Ruddock special envoy jobs

Doubts have emerged over the constitutional basis of the recent appointment of Philip Ruddock and Andrew Robb as special envoys.



Backlash against CSIRO’s ‘cowboy’ chief Larry Marshall

“The general trend seems to be that if you’re not making a lot of money then the research area won’t be supported.”

As Larry Marshall signals cuts to various programs, CSIRO staff say he is either out of his depth or has questionable motives – or both.

Abdulsalam Orabi, in his Lakemba home.


The life of a resettled Syrian refugee

“I’m not sure if Australians accept Muslims. It seems like they accept everyone, but I don’t know.”

Abdulsalam Orabi begins life in Sydney, as it emerges only 26 Syrians accepted under the federal government’s much-publicised plan to resettle 12,000 refugees.


South Australia ponders nuclear waste options

“The royal commission is under no illusions, rating the difficulty of obtaining community consent as an even greater challenge than the extraordinary technical obstacles facing such a long-term nuclear waste disposal project.”

The initial findings of a royal commission into the merits of South Australia becoming a hub for uranium mining and waste storage raised as many questions as they answered.


Lockout laws and violence in the streets

“Numbers showed the precipitous declines in late-night foot traffic had begun well before the lockout laws came in. In a number of former hotspots for late nightlife, they had already fallen about 60 per cent between 2010 and 2012.”

Sydney’s lockout laws answered a media panic in the wake of two violent deaths on the streets. Assaults in trouble spots have since dropped, but are protests about ruining nightlife businesses misguided?

Russian President Vladimir Putin this week.


Vladimir Putin seeks gains amid limits of Syrian ceasefire

US Supreme Court hangs in balance; trouble in PNG and Fiji.

Australia's No.1 news podcast.



Quentin Dempster
The case for a federal ICAC

“The possibility of corruption exists wherever a dishonest public official has power or authority to grant benefits ... And dishonesty is a common human flaw.”


Paul Bongiorno
Turnbull and Morrison’s pre-election budget positioning

“Turnbull is about winning a mandate in his own right. The time for bravery is year one after an election victory, providing you haven’t done a Tony Abbott and ruled out everything you want or need to do.”


Richard Ackland
Gadfly: Freedom is free

Letters, Cartoon & Editorial


ReadCartoon image, links to full cartoon page

False gods


Both sides of the Family Court argument

We’re puzzled by The Saturday Paper’s front-page attack on “a coalition of men’s rights activists … rewriting the Family Law Act by stealth” – a subheading …

Trade versus the environment

Richard Ackland’s article “Tricks of the trade agreement” (February 13-19) highlights the lack of environmental safeguards contained within the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) agreement. …

Read More


Image for article: Green bean salad with pesto


Green bean salad with pesto

There is no substitute for fresh, simple pesto.


Image for article: The Light on the  Water

Olga Lorenzo
The Light on the Water

Image for article: How to Set a Fire and Why

Jesse Ball
How to Set a Fire and Why

Image for article: Private Lives, Public History

Anna Clark
Private Lives, Public History


Image for article: Sex work and empowerment


Sex work and empowerment

Writing for the first time about being a sex worker, the author says the industry has taught her feminism and empowerment.

Image for article: The Broken Spoke in Austin, Texas


The Broken Spoke in Austin, Texas

At Austin’s Broken Spoke, ‘the last of the true Texas dance halls’, patrons dance the night away, no excuses.

Image for article: Tricky wicket: Hamish Mackenzie, 46, blind cricketer


Tricky wicket: Hamish Mackenzie, 46, blind cricketer

Hamish Mackenzie on the rattle and hum of blind cricket.

The Quiz

1. What was the name of Admiral Nelson’s flagship in the Battle of Trafalgar (Bonus point for naming in which century the battle took place.)
2. Which state of the US is home to Chattanooga?
3. Where on the human face would you find the philtrum?
4. Trey Parker and Matt Stone created which animated television series?
5. Sixteenth-century Danish nobleman Tycho Brahe is famous for his work in what field of science?
6. Crepuscular animals are active at what time of the day?
7. Which team became Super Bowl 50 champions this month?
8. Bananas are rich in which chemical element?
9. A googol is 10 to the power of what?
10. Who was named Best Director at last year’s Oscars ceremony?

Click through for answers.



“As an archbishop for almost 20 years he has led from the front to put an end to cover-ups.”

StatementA press release issued on behalf of George Pell says he is willing to meet victims of clergy abuse, just not travel to Australia to do so. Given the church’s legal structure, describing the institution as a “front” is uncharacteristically honest.


“If we’ve evolved from monkeys, then why haven’t those ones evolved? Because, I’m saying, aliens. We started from aliens.”

Shane WarneThe former cricketer shares his views on evolution. And this was before an anaconda bit him on the head.


“How VIP do we gotta get? We need another hit, guys.”

Paul McCartneyThe former Beatle complains after being turned away from a Grammys after-party. But, frankly, after the work Paul’s had done, it’s a little hypocritical to protest about not getting recognised. And that’s before you get onto the fact he’s dyeing his hair the colour of a share-house lounge suite.


“I’m not going to be a treasurer who tries to sell the public a unicorn on this thing.”

Scott MorrisonThe treasurer prepares the ground for this year’s budget. He will still consider incentives to load up debt in an investment unicorn and rent it out to an ever more desperate youth.


“They’re going to be partying next door to your house, they’re going to be making noise, they’re going to be having sex in the garden.”

Trevor WattsThe Queensland politician warns about the effects of state lockout laws. Presumably the only thing keeping him from fornicating on his neighbour’s lawn is being in a pub until sunrise.


“We’re concerned about people being taken to human rights commissions around Australia simply for advocating marriage between a man and a woman.”

Lyle SheltonThe managing director of the Australian Christian Lobby argues for an override to anti-discrimination laws before a plebiscite on same-sex marriage. Because without bigotry, his whole argument falls apart.