May 12 – 18, 2018

Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull in Canberra this week.


Gunning for an early election?

“The budget and Labor resignations over citizenship have helped the government. Senior people in both major parties concede such momentum may be harder to muster next year.”

As Malcolm Turnbull and Scott Morrison sell their ‘election’ budget, the prime minister is weighing up a poll that could be as early as August.



The Victorian right’s capture of the Liberal Party

“It is one thing to stage a Trumpian takeover of the party; another to find enduring electoral success. Certainly the party’s moderates feel this way. But perhaps Kroger has simply sniffed the wind. Elites can run an anti-elite campaign.”

While the fight for the Liberal Party plays out in its state branches, Michael Kroger’s far right has captured Victoria and is bedding down for Napoleonic preselections.

Smoke haze seen from a home in Croydon, in Melbourne’s east, on May 1.


Fuel reduction a smokescreen for logging burns

“Logging fires aren’t there to protect life and property.”

The smoke drifting into Melbourne from fires in Victoria’s central highlands, described by a government agency as the result of bushfire management for community safety, is mostly due to logging industry burnoffs.


The truth about wage stagnation

“During the past couple of decades, and more particularly since the global financial crisis 10 years ago, the balance of bargaining power shifted radically from workers to employers and shareholders. ”

While the government trumpets its jobs figures, it refuses to engage with wage stagnation. The truth is, nobody knows by what formula wages will go up again.

Dhaka slum resident Josna.


Dhaka’s climate refugees a warning

Dhaka is on the frontline of climate change disaster, as refugees from Bangladesh’s flooding south are migrating to the capital in abject poverty. Experts fear that failure to persuade regional towns to rapidly expand could lead to anarchy.

US President Donald Trump announces the US is pulling out of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action.


Trump’s Iran pact pullout snubs Europe

US to reimpose sanctions on Iran. Trump believes Iran decision will impress North Korea. Mahathir sweeps back into power in Malaysia.

Australia's No.1 news podcast.



Jane Caro and Lyndsay Connors
Ruining Gonski’s school funding plan

“The LNP have been brazen about their commitment to what they call ‘independent’ schools, including those that charge high and ever-mounting fees. They have claimed their partiality towards these palaces of privilege is ‘part of their DNA’. Under Turnbull’s mutated (and mutilated) Gonski, 87 per cent of public schools will still not be funded to the agreed minimum school resource standard by 2023. Sixty-five per cent of fee-charging schools, however, will be funded above it.”


Paul Bongiorno
Morrison’s budget fails to inspire

“Voters are being asked to buy a pig in a poke. Morrison wants them to take him on trust. This is despite the fact he is a treasurer whose budget last year did not foresee the massive revenue increase that materialised over the past four months, a revenue lift that Treasury has baked into its forecasts for the forward estimates and projections out to 2025. In all budgets, assumptions are contestable, but some of the key ones in this budget are close to unbelievable.”


Richard Ackland
Gadfly: Bringing Downer the house

Letters, Cartoon & Editorial


ReadCartoon image, links to full cartoon page

The cutting wedge

What this government hates is scrutiny. That’s what these cuts are about. This is the government whose communications minister is a card-carrying member of the Institute of Public Affairs, a body that lobbies for the ABC to be privatised. It is a government that hates, deeply hates, the public broadcaster.


GDP is the wrong measure

The lead story on immigration (Mike Seccombe, “Inside the ‘just add people’ dogma”, May 5–11) was an articulate outline of what many well-informed community groups and leaders …

Charting progress more accurately

Mike Seccombe correctly criticised the obsession with the GDP. Adding up all financial transactions does not measure wellbeing. The GDP ignores unpaid effort in the home or by volunteers, while …

Read More


Angel Olsen.


Angel Olsen on turning fandom to stardom

When Angel Olsen first found community in the Chicago indie music scene, she was an unabashed fan-girl. Now she’s an accomplished artist who commands the stage with a voice that is pliant and pitch perfect. “Something changed when I got introduced to indie music. Then later someone was like, ‘You need to listen to Leonard Cohen, you need to listen to Fairport Convention, King Crimson, The Velvet Underground…’ And I was like, ‘Okay, this is it.’ ”

Image for article: ‘Westworld’



The second season of Westworld continues the series’ Baudrillardian illusions of reality and fakery as its robots develop a class-consciousness rare on our screens.


Artist Wendy Sharpe

“She begins everything with a drawing. She draws to bring her ideas into the world. To think and to see. Paintings start as dreamlike images, scribbled or sketched from a fragment of thought or idea. She paints in layers, over time. Asks herself questions: What should be there? A different colour? Another shape? She turns her paintings upside down, or views them through a mirror, to see in a different way. There is a clock on the wall of her studio. But she loses time. Hours can pass as minutes, or minutes as hours. Time is mostly unnoticed.”


Image for article: Pipis and periwinkles with new potatoes and seaweed butter


Pipis and periwinkles with new potatoes and seaweed butter

“The pipi is defined by a triangular shell and is found in the shallows of estuaries and beach sand flats. Pipis are very accessible to gather and for the next level of funk, we bring in the periwinkle. This dish is a bit of a celebration of all things shallow-water-gathering. Plus, the addition of potatoes and butter has never hurt a thing.”


Image for article: Civilisations

Mary Beard and David Olusoga

Image for article: On Patrick White

Christos Tsiolkas
On Patrick White

Image for article: To Throw Away Unopened

Viv Albertine
To Throw Away Unopened


Image for article: Sex work and ‘sugaring’


Sex work and ‘sugaring’

Following a break-up, one woman decided to enter the world of ‘sugaring’. A year in, she is still looking for her ideal sugar daddy.

Image for article: Meaning in fashion


Meaning in fashion

Bringing discussions of identity, representation and appropriation into fashion studies, Kimberly Jenkins says designers need to better understand customers’ interest in the meaning of their clothes.

Image for article: Heart and soul: Ashleigh Hewson, 38, rugby player


Heart and soul: Ashleigh Hewson, 38, rugby player

Wallaroo Ashleigh Hewson on how rugby union burned into her soul and why she’d love to get into coaching.

The Quiz

1. On what date will Prince Harry and Meghan Markle marry? (Bonus point for naming where they will marry?)
2. Which entertainer was born Onika Tanya Maraj in Trinidad and Tobago in 1982?
3. Is the Japanese city Nagoya north or south of Tokyo?
4. Which song features the line: “Foreign types with the hookah pipes …”?
5. The logo of which company comprises three overlapping tuning forks?
6. Is the Portuguese wine arinto a red or white wine?
7. The Man of Property is the first book in what series?
8. The asteroid belt is located between which two planets?
9. Is a pangolin (a) a musical instrument; (b) an animal; (c) a temple; or (d) a tropical plant?
10. Who plays Debbie Ocean in the film Ocean’s 8?

Click through for answers.



“I think those forgotten people, those people that don’t have organised lobbyists to speak for them, also ought to be in the calculation of the government at the moment.”

Peter CostelloThe former treasurer makes the case for people earning $200,000 a year. It’s probably not what Robert Menzies was talking about when he coined the phrase, but then not much in the modern Liberal Party is.


“We are truly sorry. The issues highlighted in our advice business are unacceptable.”

Mike WilkinsThe interim chairman at AMP fronts shareholders after findings at the banking royal commission. The company’s solution so far has been to lose all its female board members.


“Stable, adequate funding is essential if we are to continue to deliver for Australian audiences.”

Michelle GuthrieThe ABC’s managing director responds to the more than $120 million in cuts levelled against the broadcaster. The government agrees with her, which is why it’s refusing the money.


“Attempts to make it a more right-wing party have never ended well… Abbott’s leadership was probably the only time that the Liberal Party in government pursued a set of policies so ideologically right-wing.”

George BrandisThe former attorney-general reflects on the Abbott years. If he consulted the diary he released after years of legal battle, he would remember he was a minister in the very same government.


“I am listening to and learning from women’s stories in this essential and overdue cultural moment.”

Junot DíazThe author pulls out of the Sydney Writers’ Festival after being accused of forcibly kissing a graduate student. His definition of “learning” remains imperfect.


“I’m starting a candy company and it’s going to be amazing.”

Elon MuskThe entrepreneur announces he is getting into sweets, presumably because Oompa Loompas can’t be unionised. In other surprising news, he is dating the singer Grimes.