February 24 – March 2, 2018

George Brandis after his valedictory speech in the Senate this month.


George Brandis’s secret ASIO speech

EXCLUSIVE: In a private address, former attorney-general George Brandis told ASIO of ‘potential tension’ with its new Home Affairs Department oversight.



Holy Labor crisis, Batman

“If you’re going to lose these once unloseable seats – and you can target seats like Dawson – you’re trying to replace once safe seats with swing seats. That’s a dangerous position.”

The byelection for the inner Melbourne seat of Batman highlights Labor’s dilemma over its values.

Former deputy prime minister Barnaby Joyce.


Joyce gone, but Coalition still a mess

Embarrassing gaffes, recalcitrance, infighting and Joyce’s resignation – the hits just keep on coming for the Coalition.

Image for article: US students push for gun control


US students push for gun control

Amid the grim routine of high-school shootings in the United States, the latest is different in one key way: it has sparked a wave of student activism.


Furore at the ABC

“It’s a somewhat pyrrhic victory for Alberici, perhaps, won at considerable financial and emotional cost. But perhaps, the two cases provide a salutary lesson for the managerialists: respect the talent.”

Two recent controversies at the ABC – the handling of the secret cabinet files and treatment of chief economics correspondent Emma Alberici – have left senior staff furious at what they see as incompetent managerialism.

Chinese President Xi Jinping addresses the Great Hall of the People, in Beijing, last week.


Feeling the pressure of China’s global embrace

The Beijing model and Australia’s response. Russian trolls charged. Lesson on wage growth and corporate tax from Japan.

Australia's No.1 news podcast.



Guy Rundle
Judgement day for progressives

“Like the Skynet computers of the Terminator films – which mythologised the rise of this class and the cultural sidelining of the Western working class – the knowledge class became self-aware some time around the 2000s. This new class coming to prominence has always conceived of itself as transformative and transgressive, as a group fighting the power. But what do you fight when you are the power?”


Paul Bongiorno
New order to follow Joyce division?

“If the Nationals were paralysed by fear that if they sacked Joyce he would set about destroying the government from the back bench, they will now see if his own resignation spares them that. As one National MP told me before Joyce’s announcement: ‘If you think Tony Abbott is bad, Joyce would be much worse.’”


Richard Ackland
Gadfly: Fraught the draft

Letters, Cartoon & Editorial


ReadCartoon image, links to full cartoon page

Hypocrite to child’s care

Peter Dutton is a moral void. His actions as a minister have debased this parliament. He is a cartoon of overreach and indifference, the proud jailer of innocent refugees. It is a grotesque spectacle that this man now seeks to interfere in the education of children, that he is willing to use children to start a sly war over nationalistic values.


Let’s go to the polls

“And that makes him not very different to many of his colleagues.” In reference to the capability and ethical radar of the leader of the junior Coalition partner of the Australian government, thus …

Bleak outlook due to redress failure

Martin McKenzie-Murray has drawn attention to how we have yet again failed the victims and survivors of institutional child sexual abuse (“Church blames fatigue for redress failure”, …

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Tamara Dean.


Tamara Dean’s dusk photography

For photographer Tamara Dean, nature functions as a watermark in her work, immersing the viewer in both the personal and universal. Now she takes her melancholic and mysterious pictures to the Adelaide Biennial. “I started delving into allegory and more universal, personal stories. I learnt a different type of patience. I went from spending all my time shooting to all my time planning. I’d wait months or years for images to take shape.”

Image for article: ‘The Good Place’


‘The Good Place’

Kristen Bell and Ted Danson’s satirical comedy The Good Place portrays a middle-managed afterlife where inauthentic goodness makes for a kind of hell.


Artist Stuart Ringholt

“On the wall are some snapshots of his family, a collection of empty drink cans, a bottle of sunscreen, a brass statue of a grazing deer, and a painted wood figure of a buffoonish peasant, grinning ruefully. Stuart Ringholt, mid 40s, with a freckled Flemish face and deep eyelids and rough short dark hair, wears shorts and Blunnies with thick socks, and offers me a cup of tea. The metal roller doors of the studio shudder and boom in the wind.”


Image for article: Pork pie


Pork pie

“The French have made a fine art out of pâté en croûte. Then there is the English pork pie. Both are delicious in their own way. This version bridges the rivalry and is a happy middle ground between the Plantagenets and the Valois. ”


Image for article: In the Garden of the Fugitives

Ceridwen Dovey
In the Garden of the Fugitives

Image for article: A Week in the Life of Cassandra Aberline

Glenda Guest
A Week in the Life of Cassandra Aberline

Image for article: The Growth Delusion

David Pilling
The Growth Delusion


Image for article: Tattoos and skin cancer


Tattoos and skin cancer

The trend among young people to get large, elaborate tattoos could seriously hinder future detection of skin cancers.

Image for article: Black History Month


Black History Month

As the US celebrates Black History Month, a reflection on African diaspora Australians and the indelible mark its forebears left on this country.

Image for article: Rolling strokes: Dean Summers, 58, channel swimmer


Rolling strokes: Dean Summers, 58, channel swimmer

Dean Summers on his plan to swim the Seven Seas in support of exploited international seafarers.

The Quiz

1. How many sides does a nonagon have?
2. Which Hawaiian-born singer–songwriter won six awards at the 2018 Grammy Awards? (Bonus point for naming the Song of the Year by this artist.)
3. What does a white flag generally represent?
4. What is the mean of these numbers: 6, 12, 14 and 22?
5. Name Australia’s attorney-general.
6. David John Moore Cornwell is best known by what pen name?
7. The ISU governs which sport?
8. The Disney characters Chip ’n’ Dale are what type of animal?
9. Which United States city is home to the Smithsonian Institution?
10. Name the two Australian boxers who have contested the current season of I’m a Celebrity … Get Me Out of Here!

Click through for answers.



“Tony Abbott is wrong. To criticise the experts and say that somebody who’s not an expert knows better is not the right approach.”

Mathias CormannThe acting prime minister dismisses Tony Abbott’s suggestion that migration be halved to improve cost-of-living pressures. Coming from a government minister, this is proof that sometimes you can be a hypocrite and right at the same time.


“I hear you.”

Donald TrumpThe United States president holds a note reminding him how to empathise with survivors of a school shooting. The other option was just to write down what the NRA was offering and ask the kids to match it.


“I’m a risk-taker artistically, but clearly this rendition didn’t strike the intended tone. I love this country and honestly tried my best.”

FergieThe singer responds to criticism of her baffling performance of the US national anthem at the NBA All-Star game. Frankly, “I tried my best” is about as good as American exceptionalism gets at this point.


“Why did he do it? He did it as an error of judgement. He did it in a jovial mood. He didn’t do it to shock anyone.”

Christian HearnThe lawyer representing singer Kirin J. Callinan on a charge of wilful and obscene exposure asks himself about his client’s behaviour, which is more than his client has done. For those playing at home, the correct answer is: unchecked male privilege masquerading as social commentary. Callinan got off, which is sort of what exposing your penis to journalists trying to work is all about.


“In my view, there is a place for the pledge in a broader rejuvenated civics effort with school-aged children.”

Peter DuttonThe Home Affairs minister expands on his plan to have children pledge their allegiance to Australia, first reported in The Saturday Paper. He was silent on what to do with kids who had smelly lunches or the appropriate time to force someone to kiss the flag.


“The tide will turn because people will get bored of it.”

Barnaby JoyceThe deputy prime minister expresses confidence that people will lose interest in his affair and associated use of public money. Because people are notoriously indifferent to the ocean.