Parties find campaign donors harder to come by

“People are paranoid about their company name being on the front page of the paper.”

As the major parties prepare their final election advertising blitz, donations have dried up, especially to the Liberal campaign.



Criminal charges possible in detention centre operations

“In the bureaucratic jargon, there was a profound “information gap”. There was also a chain of false assumptions.”

A new report into the operation of detention centres alleges possible criminal negligence by the immigration department and its contractors.


The success of the Parliamentary Budget Office

“When they put out their lists prior to election day, the public can be reasonably confident in the bottom-line figure the parties attach to their election commitments. In the past that wasn’t the case.”

The PBO has proved a boon for accountability, preventing political parties from citing fanciful costings or embarking on ‘black hole’ scare campaigns.


Ruffled feathers in battle to save night parrot

Government efforts to conserve the elusive – and once feared extinct – night parrot have alienated birdwatchers and divided opinion on the best way forward.


Victoria’s end-of-life choices inquiry and a tale of 3 deaths

“He took a drink he had by the side of the bed … He smiled at the room full of his loved ones and closed his eyes. He went to sleep and didn’t wake up.”

A Victorian parliamentary inquiry’s recommendation that assisted dying be legalised may also lead to welcome changes in palliative care practices.


Anti-foreign sentiment simmering in Australia

China syndrome; Economic Modi-fication; Abbott brigade



Naomi Klein
The racism that underlies climate change inaction

“The refusal of our governments to lower emissions has been accompanied with full awareness of the dangers. And this kind of recklessness would have been functionally impossible without institutional racism. ”


Paul Bongiorno
Malcolm Turnbull a Faust among equals?

“The fact of the matter is the published national opinion polls have the election in a deadlock. Labor has been in front by a nose in three of five polls in the past fortnight.”


Exit stage bereft

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

Letters, Cartoon & Editorial



Rough injustice


Outsourcing of NSW prison education

One more to add to the list that Mike Seccombe includes in his article on privatisation by the NSW government (“Baird guy”, June 11-17) is prison education. It was announced …

Baird’s proud lineage

Mike Baird is exposed as yet another power-mad state premier. He thus follows in the footsteps of the first NSW premier, Alexander Stuart Donaldson. When Donaldson did not get his way over the future …

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Fruits of the forage

How to transform the quintessential pub dish at home.



The Unwelcome Guest: Waiting, knowing and MRIs

Dogged by the uncertainty of incurable illness, is there comfort in sometimes not knowing test results?


Twin Peaks location hunting in the Pacific Northwest

Visiting set locations of a favourite TV show or film can feel like entering an out-of-kilter dream – all the more so when the show is David Lynch’s Twin Peaks.


Ten out of 10: Cedric Dubler, 21, decathlete

Meet Rio Olympian Cedric Dubler, a man of many sporting talents.


Sean Rabin
Wood Green

Geoff Manaugh
A Burglar’s Guide to the City


The Quiz

1. Name the only Australian on Forbes’ 2016 list of the top 100 highest-earning sportspeople. (Bonus point for naming the athlete who topped the list.)
2. The Aswan High Dam is located in which country?
3. What part of the human body is also known as the hallux?
4. What is the world’s longest-running science fiction television series?
5. A fava bean is more commonly known as what in Australia?
6. At what temperature does mercury freeze? (a) 0ºC; (b) minus 38.8ºC; or (c) minus 96.6ºC?
7. In The Wizard of Oz, what phrase did Dorothy say in order to return to Kansas?
8. What nationality was explorer Vasco da Gama?
9. Who wrote the novels The Year of the Flood, The Blind Assassin and Alias Grace?
10. What is the due date for individuals lodging their own tax return in Australia?



“I understand the concerns Penny is raising. I know it from personal experience, having been exposed to that sort of hatred and bigotry for the views I’ve taken.”

Scott MorrisonThe treasurer empathises with Penny Wong over vilification. Wong finds it harder to empathise with Morrison, because frankly there’s little room to get inside a mind that size.


“If you’re going to want to be treated equally, the point is, don’t complain when it’s too equal.”

Sam NewmanThe Footy Show host dismisses journalist Caroline Wilson’s displeasure at suggestions she be drowned for entertainment. He remains committed to the idea that there are degrees of “equal”.


“The world is looking for protein … If it walks, if it isn’t human, somebody around the world wants to eat it.’’

Barnaby JoyceThe deputy prime minister explains why tighter foreign investment laws won’t limit demand. No matter what he says, it always seems as though he’s talking about Johnny Depp’s dogs.


“We made a mistake in permitting the Olympic torch, a symbol of peace and unity, to be exhibited alongside a chained wild animal.”

statementThe Rio 2016 organising committee apologises for a torch ceremony that ended with a soldier shooting a jaguar. There does seem undue blame on the torch and the chained animal.


“I don’t have a recollection of almost anyone I’ve hung out with.”

Robert PlantThe Led Zeppelin singer explains that he can’t remember meeting the band from whom he and guitarist Jimmy Page are meant to have cribbed the opening bars of “Stairway to Heaven”. Unfortunately, every tone-deaf 10-year-old ever to pick up a guitar is intent on half remembering the bars for him.


“Does not fit into any framework of civilised behaviour.”

Vladimir PutinThe Russian president complains about his country’s Olympic ban for doping offences. In fairness, he said this before he heard they shot a jaguar.