November 10–16, 2018

Prime Minister Scott Morrison.


Exclusive: Auditor-general found Morrison breaches

“I reiterate that it was a unanimous decision to get rid of Mr Morrison by the board and the minister.”

While mystery surrounds Scott Morrison’s sacking from Tourism Australia, a buried audit report shows numerous anomalies and concerns over contracts worth $184 million.


Children on Nauru.


Future of kids on Nauru still unknown

The government’s pledge to get children off Nauru only highlights that there remains no permanent solution for asylum seekers detained offshore.


Truth-telling in Singapore

“Singapore’s problem is ennui, not massive scandal. PAP leaders look back, arguing about who best embodies Lee Kuan Yew’s legacy.”

Asia-Pacific leaders gathering in Singapore for next week’s ASEAN Summit won’t find many ‘crazy rich Asians’ of the hit film variety, but rather a lot of unhappy ones who are feeling the pinch.

Retired ABC journalist Kerry O’Brien.


Kerry O’Brien reflects on John Howard

For a significant part of Kerry O’Brien’s career, John Howard dominated Australian politics. The award-winning journalist talks about the former PM’s divisive recipe for success.


Neo-Nazi Nats and party infiltrations

“The ABC presented a damning body of evidence of Young Nationals ‘sharing alt-right talking points, racist in-jokes containing coded references to Hitler, and theories of a global Jewish conspiracy’.”

The expulsion of a group of neo-Nazis from the Young Nationals highlights the way extremist and special interest groups can infiltrate major political parties, especially as falling party memberships put takeovers more easily within reach.

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (centre, in white shirt) with supporters in New York celebrating her election to congress.


The vaunting of the Hill house

President Trump on the attack after mixed US midterms. Asia shows its working around Trump's US economically as the region prepares for key summits. Sanction waivers make Iran oil ban toothless. Xi Jinping attracting domestic criticism.

Australia's No.1 news podcast.



Barry Jones
Saving Planet Earth

“It could be argued, depressingly, that there is an inverse relationship between the growth of universities and the level of community engagement in politics. In fact, the level of political discourse was far more sophisticated in 1860s America than it is today in 2018 in either country. Lincoln delivered his famous Gettysburg Address in November 1863 at the dedication of a Civil War cemetery. I have long speculated what Lincoln might have said in 2018. Lincoln’s speech was only 272 words long. My draft here is exactly the same length.”


Chris Wallace
You’re neither on the bus nor off the bus

“This amount of ridicule this early in a prime ministership is unprecedented and probably irreversible. Even Billy McMahon fared better in his ill-fated 21-month-long prime ministership before falling to Labor’s Gough Whitlam. Has any prime minister missed their own honeymoon? Has there ever been a prime minister not to win a single Newspoll? Is there another prime minister whose first political outing saw the loss of a seat held by their party since Federation? ”


Richard Ackland
Gadfly: Counting the cursed

Letters, Cartoon & Editorial


ReadCartoon image, links to full cartoon page

Tactical assault

To glance at this week’s headlines was to see just how much Australian gender relations have shifted in the past year. No longer are we ignoring women’s stories – the approach is now one of control, minimisation and punishment.


No thanks to Murdoch

Reading Mike Seccombe’s excellent article on the politics of removing children from Nauru (“How Murdoch got the kids off Nauru”, November 3–9) was a reminder that the inhuman policy of offshore …

Cringing from a distance

As I recently travelled in Europe, it was mortifying indeed to watch and listen from afar the weasel-worded and ethics-free contortions from politicians of all stripes in Australia concerning the will-the-Nauru-kids-be-brought-here …

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Hoda Afshar


Hoda Afshar’s lens on Manus

Building on her earlier works essaying colonialism and her experience as an Iranian migrant to Australia, photographer Hoda Afshar turned to presenting the humanity of the men detained on Manus Island. “Photography has turned into this whole trend of empty landscapes – no sign of human presence whatsoever, just traces of human beings. Traces of a tyre on asphalt, rubbish, leftover food, signs that say there were people here, but no human presence. It shocks me. I think, yes, it’s important to acknowledge the history of photography, how image-making has abused and manipulated narratives. We have to acknowledge the relationship between image-making and power. But to dismantle it is not to completely avoid that dialogue.”

Image for article: Astroman and Krapp's Last Tape


Astroman and Krapp’s Last Tape

MTC’s childish ’80s romp Astroman – unsuccessfully transplanted from New Zealand to Geelong – is unlikely to appeal even to schoolkids, but more adult audiences will revel in Max Gillies’ masterful turn in Beckett’s Krapp’s Last Tape.

Image for article: Anote Tong and climate change


Anote Tong and climate change

“Before we settle into our seats at a Glebe pub, Anote Tong hesitates. ‘Can I give you my right ear?’ he asks. His voice is calm and authoritative, with a deep resonance. Tong damaged his hearing free diving in the sea surrounding his home on the low-lying Pacific islands of Kiribati. He is as you would expect a diver to be: lean and hardened and brawny. His eyes are marked with pterygiums from the sun. Tong has been diving since childhood. Spending time under the ocean’s surface is one of the greatest joys in his life. ‘It opens a new world to you,’ he says. He has a dozen grandchildren, mostly girls. Life in Kiribati has a different rhythm – few people have television, radio is basic and access to internet is among the lowest in the world. People fish and farm vegetables. They make crafts and sell their wares at market. ‘It is paradise,’ Tong says.”


Image for article: Collected Poems

Les Murray
Collected Poems

Image for article: All Among the Barley

Melissa Harrison
All Among the Barley

Image for article: Mad, Bad, Dangerous to Know

Colm Tóibín
Mad, Bad, Dangerous to Know


Image for article: Spring omelette


Spring omelette

Image for article: Yawuru Indigenous language course


Yawuru Indigenous language course

As the first students graduate from a groundbreaking Yawuru language course in Broome, there are high hopes the program will become a model for teaching Indigenous languages around the country.

Image for article: Zahli Currie, 18, futsal player


Zahli Currie, 18, futsal player

Teenage futsal player Zahli Currie on international competition and the Deadly Dancers.

The Quiz

1. Which state has the higher population: South Australia or Western Australia?
2. Vasco da Gama was an explorer from which country?
3. Who wrote the opera The Rhine Gold (Das Rheingold), first performed in 1869?
4. Which American comedian and actress was arrested last month and also announced she was pregnant with her first child?
5. In which city would you visit the Metropolitan Cathedral of Saints Vitus, Wenceslaus and Adalbert?
6. Which team won baseball’s 2018 World Series? (Bonus point for naming the team they defeated.)
7. Ibn Rushd is an eminent philosopher of what faith?
8. Who plays Lisbeth Salander in the film The Girl in the Spider’s Web?
9. The world’s longest sea bridge opened last month, connecting mainland China to which two special administrative regions?
10. Who patented the first commercially successful ballpoint pen in 1938?

Click through for answers.



“G’day Elizabeth, Mick Fanning’s mum. Thanks very much for the hat. We’re here at the Gold Coast, down at Broadbeach. And yeah, fair dinkum…”

Scott MorrisonThe prime minister thanks Elizabeth, Mick Fanning’s mum, for the Rip Curl hat she sent him – the most true-blue gift a ridgy-didge Aussie bloke could hope to get from a top sheila, strewth. Go Sharkies!


“I’m sure you have all been in the same position … you’ve made an appointment with the hairdresser, but the dentist needs, you know…”

Pauline HansonThe One Nation leader tries to explain why her party’s new candidate, Mark Latham, failed to appear with her for a TV interview. To be fair, an empty chair might be more effective.


“You don’t put your hands on a young woman.”

Kellyanne ConwayDonald Trump’s counsellor explains why CNN journalist Jim Acosta’s White House media credentials were suspended after a fiery press conference. It seems the Trump administration’s official position on this has changed since the Kavanaugh hearings.


“I’ve seen Prince Harry in a Nazi uniform, I’m pretty certain he’s not a Nazi.”

Barnaby JoyceThe Nationals MP likens the later-proved claims that neo-Nazis had infiltrated his party to “the McCarthyist witch-hunts for the reds under the bed”. It’s similar logic to seeing Barnaby Joyce in an Akubra all the time but being pretty certain he’s not a farmer.


“I’m the guitarist in Wa Wa Nee. What an embarrassment to have any association with this disgraceful government.”

Steve WilliamsThe musician responds to his band’s track “Stimulation” being the only Australian song Scott Morrison included in his Spotify Eighties Plus playlist. Arguably a greater embarrassment, the PM’s omission of Cold Chisel’s “Cheap Wine”.


“I remind Labor, this show is broadcast nationally … That’s six million people who get real Liberals and a cardboard Daniel Andrews.”

Peta CredlinThe Sky News host claims six million viewers for the channel, though others put it closer to 130,000. Credlin’s skill at spinning something out of nothing is legendary – TV hosting gigs, prime ministerships.