Making sense of Hanson, Bernardi and the New Right

“Now that Pauline is running all over Australia, we have a plan over the next two or three elections in each state and nationally to be in government. We are going to be a force to be reckoned with.”

Cory Bernardi’s split to form a conservative party, and the resurgence of One Nation, provides the major parties with a genuine threat from the right.




Gina Rinehart’s cattle stations, Adam Giles and fracking prospects

“Rinehart is an astute business person, and one can easily see the appeal of making money from that which comes off the top of the land and also from that which comes from beneath it.”

A push into cattle has made Gina Rinehart the NT’s biggest landholder, and seen her enlist the help of former chief minister and fracking proponent Adam Giles.



Federal cuts to family violence reform funding

Barely two years on from strong government responses to family violence, driven by Rosie Batty, federal funding cuts to front-line services threaten to place more women and children than ever in jeopardy.



Environmental concerns for Timor-Leste cement project

“As a young developing nation, cement is an important commodity. However, the massive extraction of limestones and clay can cause irreversible damage to local communities.”

While plans to build a major cement project in Timor-Leste have brought the welcome promise of jobs for local people, the environmental and social costs could be catastrophic.



Making history with the AFL women’s league

Finally granted a league of their own, female Australian Rules players now have the chance of professional progression through the sport. The fans are onboard, but will the dollars – and the skills – follow?



‘Beautiful new planes’ for US armed forces

Netanyahu plans to visit Australia; IMF damns PNG; Jakarta test in gubernatorial elections




Barry Jones
The need for a new political party

“I grew up with the conviction that activists observed a problem, collected evidence, worked out a strategy, explained it, sought reactions, addressed objections or criticisms, corrected errors, then sought to act.”



Paul Bongiorno
Turnbull’s desperate fight to restore credibility

“Moderates in the Liberals are breathing a sigh of relief that Bernardi will no longer harangue them with his strident views. “Party room meetings will be half an hour shorter now,” said one MP.”



The spirit of ’76

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

An insider’s outside view

A new podcast from Schwartz Media

Join Richard Denniss, The Australia Institute’s chief economist, as he tackles Australia’s most important political and economic issues in a new weekly podcast.

Find The Lucky Country on iTunes or wherever you get your podcasts.

Letters & Editorial



Pell and fury



Living with compassion

In his review of Martin Scorsese’s film Silence (“Mission ecclesiastical”, February 4-10), Christos Tsiolkas draws attention to the novel of the same name by Shūsaku Endō on which …


Rural plight needs attention

Claire Connelly’s timely piece following the both ill-timed and ill-considered remarks of Deputy Prime Minister Barnaby Joyce in response to housing affordability should send a very salient message …

Read More



Ryan Adams on loss, Springsteen and Whitesnake

Following his grandmother’s death and a painful divorce, Ryan Adams has worked through his losses in his music.


The Book of Mormon

The Book of Mormon, from the creators of South Park, is a blasphemous riot of bad taste, making it a musical not to be missed.


ABC host Jane Hutcheon

Maxine Beneba Clarke reflects on the interviewer as she appears on One Plus One.




Freedom of the mess

A delicious dessert with a very honest name.




The clown doctors of Lady Cilento

In hospitals throughout Australia a dedicated troupe of clown doctors dispenses therapeutic comic relief.



Santiago, Chile

The Melbourne Festival artistic director visits Santiago to scout for performances at a time when truths and freedoms are being upturned across the world.



Shooting star: Belinda Snell, 36, basketballer

Veteran basketballer Belinda Snell on Olympic glories and bringing younger players into the game.



Kathryn Heyman
Storm and Grace


John Kinsella
Old Growth


Barry Dickins
Last Words

The Quiz

1. Which three United States presidents were born within 10 weeks of one another?
2. Which film has been adapted from a best-selling Australian novel by Craig Silvey?
3. How old were Roger Federer and Serena Williams when they won their 2017 Australian Open titles?
4. In computer language, what does the abbreviation DSL stand for?
5. What, beginning with ‘n’, is a medicine sold with false or exaggerated claims and with no demonstrable value?
6. Monterrey is the capital of a state in which country?
7. What is the official language of Mali?
8. Name the secretary-general of the United Nations. (For a bonus point, what is his nationality?)
9. In the musical My Fair Lady, where do hurricanes hardly ever happen?
10. Name the British Army officer and baron who is best known as the leader of the successful 1953 expedition to Mount Everest.



“I managed to do very nicely with every other fill-in except you.”

Andrew BoltThe conservative commentator complains that Miranda Devine is talking over him on radio. He threatens to hang up. Which would add female columnists to a list of hang-ups that includes: Aborigines, matrimonious gays and Malcolm Turnbull.


“I have a new theory. Perhaps the Mona Lisa had syphilis.”

Jonathan JonesThe art critic for The Guardian offers a tenuous case for the Mona Lisa’s enigmatic expression, based on snail water the model bought 10 years after it was painted. Syphilis also neatly explains the workings of Jonathan Jones’s mind.


“Prohibiting full-face coverings intends to target all coverings used to terrorise the public. Remember the clown craze?”

Jacqui LambieThe Tasmanian senator pushes for a ban on facial coverings, which is obviously targeted at Halloween masks and not at Muslim women at all. Speaking of the clown craze, how is Clive Palmer?


“It is a sad day when someone leaves the family.”

George BrandisThe attorney-general reflects on Cory Bernardi’s resignation, somehow confusing the Liberal Party with the Mob, which explains the omerta held over his diaries.


“That’s a lot of postage stamps – I’ve got to do the calculation.”

Nick XenophonThe South Australian senator complains about revelations the head of Australia Post, Ahmed Fahour, is paid $5.6 million a year. It has not yet been explained to Xenophon that Fahour is not paid in stamps.


“Labor cannot give Trump-like powers to a man that has such a high desire to see a divided Australia.”

Shayne NeumannThe Labor immigration spokesman says he will not support Peter Dutton’s proposed amendment to the Migration Act, which could force entire sections of the community to face revalidation assessments for their visas. There is no joke for this item.