No royal commission as Turnbull’s Liberals in deep with the banks

“A royal commission will put it in the public eye and I think reputational risk is something the big banks take seriously.”

Conservatives against a banks royal commission argue it would damage the economy – because of the criminality it would reveal.



New rules for foreign investors

“If the register doesn’t help inform the debate around what is being bought, by who and where, we’ll be disappointed.”

As foreign investment increases, especially from China, new protocols are being weighed to find a balance between Australia’s national security and economic growth.


Media silence on the Barrier Reef

While the world is shocked by images of telltale coral bleaching in the Great Barrier Reef, in Queensland’s largest newspaper the story is inexplicably absent.


Manus Island’s appalling health care record

“This fake hospital accepts dozen of ill prisoners every day but they all return to the prison without any real treatment.”

Manus Island claims to have a properly equipped hospital, but for detainees requiring more than just a painkiller, the facilities are grossly inadequate.


Inner-city lockout laws versus a 24-hour environment

“Melbourne offers a contradiction to Sydney’s approach. Never before have more people visited the city from the suburbs and yet crime continues to decline.”

As Sydney equates declining assault rates with late-night lockout laws, Melbourne is eager to become a 24-hour city.


Japanese unlikely to supply our submarines

Malcolm Turnbull treads warily in China on trade; legal net closes on PNG’s PM Peter O’Neill; peace moves in Middle East



Bill McKibben
The links between big polluters and politicians

“Australians overwhelmingly want to see action on climate change, and the only thing frustrating this action is political leaders who are pandering to their donors rather than their people.”


Paul Bongiorno
Turnbull picks a move on truck drivers, not banks

“Attempts to delink rates of remuneration with road safety are not borne out by studies ... It is a no-brainer that Truck drivers struggling to meet their lease or mortgage payments will push the envelope.”


Grand theft Otto

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

Letters, Cartoon & Editorial



Please hold the line


Role of banks needs examination

Your editorial, “Bank maraud” (April 9-15), did well to parse Malcolm Turnbull’s address to a banking luncheon as “wet lettucing” rather than “excoriation” as …

Political climate could change, too

The Delusional Conservatives (Paul Bongiorno, “Masters of delusion” April 9-15) have much to answer for, not least of which is the dropping of a price on carbon. In his book Why …

Read More




Homemade flatbread

Delicious flatbread with toppings for brunch, or just brushed with olive oil.


Jürgen Todenhöfer
My Journey into the Heart of Terror

Maggie Nelson
The Argonauts

Alan Light
What Happened, Miss Simone?



Change they might believe in, in Havana

Change is coming to Cuba, but in Havana on the eve of Barack Obama’s visit, they still don't know what form it will take.


Gene-editing poses ethical questions

Gene-editing offers hope of eliminating genetic disorders, but raises questions about how far we should go.


The whistleblower: Eleni Glouftsis, 23, AFL umpire

Meet the AFL’s first female field umpire.

The Quiz

1. Who fronts the English rock band High Flying Birds?
2. What is the name of a type of gambling where competitors are auctioned off to the highest bidder and is also the former name of an Indian city?
3. Which teams won the men’s and women’s 2016 ICC World Twenty20 this month?
4. What nationality was artist Frida Kahlo? (Bonus point for naming her painter husband.)
5. Who played James Bond in The Spy Who Loved Me?
6. A bathometer is a device used to measure what?
7. Which Australian glossy national magazine closed last month after 44 years in print?
8. What is the chief constituent of the alloy pewter?
9. Name the stars of the television comedy The Two Ronnies?
10. If a circle’s radius is 10 centimetres, what is its diameter?

Click through for answers.



“So I was just riding the wave, minding my own business, and eventually there was this extremely attractive and very, very talented surfer on my left.”

Tony AbbottThe former prime minister explains that because of “the saltwater, or some genetic defect or whatever” he cannot see out of his left eye and sometimes drops in on 17-year-old girls before objectifying them on radio.


“Terry Smith was just, when you open a Yahoo account you normally put in a username you want to use. There’s plenty of people I’ve seen: Ferret, Dog, Rabbit…”

Clive PalmerThe miner reveals why he was using a fake name to direct operations of failed company Queensland Nickel. It makes perfect sense, if you don’t think about it.


“Sacha became an arse.”

Brian MayThe Queen guitarist explains parting ways with Sacha Baron Cohen, who was to play Freddie Mercury in a biopic. Mercury, who once flew a boyfriend across the world to break up with him in an airport and then stole his cat, was well known for his reasonableness.


“It’s always sad when the political debate starts becoming in the realm of litigious, the realm of the courts.”

Barnaby JoyceThe acting prime minister – repeat: acting prime minister – complains of a legal letter he received from Tony Windsor after suggesting Windsor sold a mine to the Chinese. Joyce would prefer the matter be settled with an old-fashioned dog slaughter.


“One has to recognise the canvas in question as a true original ... even if we do not have any tangible or irrefutable proof.”

Nicola SpinosaThe former museum director assesses an apparent Caravaggio found in a French attic. The front end of the sentence doesn’t entirely agree with the back end, but nor does everyone entirely agree with Spinosa.


“It is absurd that we should say that it is illegal that a person who is suffering terribly ... should be forced to continue to suffer.”

Bob HawkeThe former prime minister gives his support to voluntary assisted suicide. Paul Keating was unavailable for comment, but would presumably prefer to do him slowly.