May 21–27, 2016

Opposition Leader Bill Shorten on the campaign trail this week.


Labor’s bid to make health central to election

“The Royal College of General Practitioners is preparing to inject itself into an election campaign for the first time.”

In the first major policy announcement of the campaign, Labor has built a wedge on Medicare rebates – and won powerful support.



Economic think tanks setting the election agenda

“To an increasing extent people are not prepared to take on trust the assertions of lobby groups and politicians. ”

A new political nous in economic research groups has seen them capture debate and set the policy course for the election.

Tom Conroy and Kate Mulvany in a production of Jasper Jones.


Arts companies hit hard by Australia Council funding cuts

The Australia Council’s latest funding cuts have further devastated arts companies.


Victims of love: life as a gay refugee on Nauru

“These men are being subjected to this brutality because they are gay and the Australian government is happy to put them in harm’s way.”

Two gay Iranians who met and fell in love on Nauru are now virtual prisoners in their own home on the island, downcast and fearful for their safety in a country where homosexuality is illegal.

One of the paintings at the centre of the trial: Blue Lavender Bay.


Inside the Brett Whiteley Lavender Bay fakes trial

An art dealer and conservator convicted of dealing in fake Brett Whiteleys now face a lengthy stint in jail. But the twists and turns in the five-week trial proved more colourful than the paintings themselves.

A woman walks along the fringe of the dried-up Varuna River, in the village of Phūlpur, Uttar Pradesh, India.


Asia’s drought crisis may lead to water wars

CSIRO cuts could affect Antarctic rights; New chairman for Golkar party; China’s efforts at total control

Australia's No.1 news podcast.



Guy Rundle
Why the major parties fear a policy program

“Labor and the Liberals are eager to deny that they have a program of any comprehensive sort. Both parties appeal to depoliticised notions of competence.”


Paul Bongiorno
Turnbull, Dutton stick to Abbott refugee strategy

“It was time to get serious on an issue that works like a treat for the Coalition … National security is, to use Malcolm Turnbull’s earlier assessment, all they’ve got. ”


Richard Ackland
Gadfly: Bjørn sloppy

Letters, Cartoon & Editorial


ReadCartoon image, links to full cartoon page

Outstanding claims


Let’s figure out our foreign aid

Congratulations to Mike Seccombe for his excellent piece “Teething on the campaign trail” (May 14-20). But his claims about aid increases only to Papua New Guinea, Nauru and Cambodia do …

Following the story

I’m thankful for the article by John Martinkus (“Silenced protest”, May 14-20) regarding the suppression of rights in Papua, and I would like to remind your readers that Australia’s largely …

Read More


Image for article: The Pier Falls

Mark Haddon
The Pier Falls

Image for article: The Last Painting of Sara de Vos

Dominic Smith
The Last Painting of Sara de Vos

Image for article: Dead Men Don’t  Order Flake

Sue Williams
Dead Men Don’t Order Flake


Image for article: The Unwelcome Guest: Meditation and guilt


The Unwelcome Guest: Meditation and guilt

How do you find the balance between living and the ongoing treatment that brain cancer requires?

Image for article: Gothenburg’s Malm Whale


Gothenburg’s Malm Whale

Sweden’s cosmopolitan and historic port city of Gothenburg is home to the world’s only preserved blue whale.

Image for article: On the fast track: Alex Hartmann, 23, sprinter


On the fast track: Alex Hartmann, 23, sprinter

Alex Hartmann on the little one percenters and that “magical” sub-10-second 100 metres.

The Quiz

1. What is the stage name of singer Jessica Cornish?
2. What was the first United States city to host the Summer Olympic Games? (Bonus point for naming the year.)
3. True or false: Prince, Madonna and Michael Jackson were born within three months of each other.
4. What hormone is released by the pancreas to lower blood sugar?
5. Who invented the radio?
6. Which actor links these film characters: Sonny Grotowski, Patrick Verona and Ennis Del Mar?
7. Which major tourist destination is situated on Lake Wakatipu?
8. Which of the following is not the name of a font: (a) Lumix; (b) Palatino; or (c) Garamond?
9. Does a Bactrian camel have one hump or two?
10. What is the best-known work, measuring 5.17 square kilometres, of sculptor Gutzon Borglum?

Click through for answers.



“The au pairs worked during business hours (while Lucy worked) so penalty rates did not apply. Advice was that superannuation was not payable.”

Greens spokesmanRichard Di Natale’s office responds to news he paid au pairs $6 an hour and neglected to disclose ownership of a farm. The au pairs were also given food and board and a copy of his party’s drugs policy.


“I signed a confidentiality agreement and I intend to keep it that way.”

Paul SheehanThe Fairfax columnist confirms he has taken a redundancy package but will not say whether he was pushed. The package is thought to be worth several hundred thousand dollars – a rare example of there being money in fiction.


“The toxicological findings raise the possibility of a cocaine-related death.”

Deb WilliamsonThe advocate assisting the coroner in the case of an unidentified torso found washed up in Botany Bay speculates on cause of death. Cocaine is one theory; missing his arms, legs and head is also a factor.


“If the government really thought it was too much money, well then they should say so and just give up on the reef.”

Jon BrodieThe James Cook University researcher suggests $10 billion is needed to save the Great Barrier Reef. Unfortunately, “just give up” is official government policy.


“I’ve racked my mind about how this omission came to be.”

David FeeneyThe Labor frontbencher admits to forgetting to list a $2.3 million investment property among his register of interests. One of the negatives of this gearing arrangement is that his tenants are Greens supporters.


“Without sounding sexist, some people are rapt to have a man to vote for.”

Marty CorboyThe Nationals candidate for the seat of Indi rates his chances against Independent Cathy McGowan and the Liberals’ Sophie Mirabella. Quick note, champ: that does sound particularly sexist.