December 8 – 14, 2018

Opposition Leader Bill Shorten in parliament this week.


Shorten tested in backroom fights

“Faction leaders are trying to strike a balance in favour of, as one MP puts it, ‘discipline with a bit of dissonance’.”

Ahead of Labor’s national conference, factional splits are appearing over major policies, including the approval of the Adani coalmine, refugee intake, free trade and Newstart.



Lawyer X: “Say nice things at my eulogy and enjoy the Royal Commission”

“It’s a very, very black day for the Victorian bar. ”

In the wake of this week’s High Court ruling, details emerge of Victoria Police’s unprecedented use of a top criminal lawyer as an informant during Melbourne’s gangland wars.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison at a press conference ahead of question time this week.


Captain’s call back

Amid a chaotic final sitting week of parliament, conservative Coalition MPs are furious at the prime minister for what they perceive as his betrayal over religious freedoms in schools.


Behind our high power prices

“Overwhelmingly, for the last decade, the businesses have known more about what’s going on than the regulator, so it was very hard for the regulator to push back and say ‘no’.”

Unwise decisions made when privatising our electricity grids, permitting companies to spend excessively on the networks’ ‘poles and wires’ and pass on the cost to consumers, are the driving force behind our exorbitant power bills.

Dr Robyn Holder, research fellow at Griffith University’s criminology institute.


Queensland’s flawed bill of rights draft

Advocacy organisations and academics argue Queensland’s proposed bill of rights will enshrine procedural unfairness in court for survivors and victims of crime.

Britain’s prime minister, Theresa May, leaves a press conference last week in Brussels.


May’s flesh wound

Theresa May suffers defeats on Brexit. Trump backs down when facing Xi Jinping at G20. Trump’s former lawyer pleads guilty. Philippine journalist charged with tax fraud.

Australia's No.1 news podcast.



Hannah McGlade
Raising black women’s voices

“Black women know the Australian state was built on such violence and that the instruments of law, the police and courts, can never really be trusted to protect black women’s bodies. We know that the Australian legal system’s tolerance of sexual violence towards Indigenous women is deeply seated in Australian history. ”

Paul Bongiorno
Morrison and the Kelly outbreak

“The prime minister denied the intervention was in light of Craig Kelly’s implied threats, made to several media outlets, to similarly quit the Liberals if he was disendorsed. It is the most logical explanation, although some in the party suspect Morrison is far more sympathetic to Kelly’s climate change scepticism and social conservatism than he lets on.”


Richard Ackland
Gadfly: Saltbush silly limits

Letters, Cartoon & Editorial


ReadCartoon image, links to full cartoon page

Abbott’s tour of himself

Amid the chaos that was parliament’s final sitting day for the year, Tony Abbott got to his feet and cleared his throat. “Back when prime minister,” he said, introducing himself with a descriptor as unnecessary as it was telling of what was to come, “I used to observe that to live in Australia is to have won the lottery of life – and that’s true, unless you happen to be one of those whose ancestors have been here for tens of thousands of years.”


A sick joke as regulator

Michael West has once again done an excellent job in revealing just how lax Australia’s corporate regulatory regime is (“Bank penalties disguised as charitable donations”, December 1–7) …

Religion losing relevance in Australia

Following the electoral wipeout in Victoria, Steve Bracks highlights the damaging right-wing demands including cancelling Safe Schools programs and introducing compulsory religious instruction …

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Julian Teakle (left) and Chloe Alison Escott of The Native Cats.


The Native Cats’ music for Tasmania

As The Native Cats, Julian Teakle and Chloe Alison Escott make poetic and unusually stripped-back music that riffs on gender and sexuality by way of a James M. Cain pulp novel. “Life after transitioning is the closest that you ever get to time travel, in a way,” Escott says. “You try to be somebody that you wish was there in the past. You see people who remind you of yourself at a certain time, so you think, ‘What’s the thing that I can say or do for this person?’”

Image for article: Climax



What starts as a dance film to rival Bob Fosse’s All That Jazz switches to giallo horror as the diverse cast of Gaspar Noé’s Climax descend into a lysergic hell.


Image for article: Kill Shot

Garry Disher
Kill Shot

Image for article: Insomnia

Marina Benjamin

Image for article: Net Loss: The Inner Life in the Digital Age

Sebastian Smee
Net Loss: The Inner Life in the Digital Age


Image for article: Crumbed pork chops with celeriac remoulade


Crumbed pork chops with celeriac remoulade

Image for article: Major project design quotas


Major project design quotas

Making the case for restoring confidence in the quality of Australian design by stipulating that for major projects, half of all design tenders or competition entrants be local.

Image for article: Honoured roller: Brendan Dowler, 50, wheelchair basketball coach


Honoured roller: Brendan Dowler, 50, wheelchair basketball coach

Wollongong Roller Hawks coach Brendan Dowler on winning gold and silver at the Paralympic Games.

The Quiz

1. Which 2011 French film won five Academy Awards, including Best Picture, Best Actor and Best Director? (Bonus point for naming the Best Actor winner.)
2. In reference to colour printing, what does the 'C' stand for in CMYK?
3. What word beginning with 'l' refers to the words of an opera or other extended musical composition?
4. A computer flaw predicted to cause problems when dealing with dates beyond December 31, 1999 was known by what alphanumeric abbreviation?
5. Unagi is the Japanese word for which food?
6. Serendib (or Serendip) is an old Arabic name for which island nation?
7. The name of what genus of redwood coniferous tree ends in four vowels?
8. Which former radio personality heads the political party known as the Justice Party?
9. What vehicle topped new car sales in Australia in 2017?
10. American actor Donald Glover performs music under what stage name?

Click through for answers.



“Take, for example, the situation of … a conservative Catholic school and you’ve got a child who wants to run a gay club within the school.”

Amanda StokerThe Liberal senator cites the prospect of children starting a gay club at school as grounds for discriminating against queer students. It’s not a “gay club”, Amanda – it’s called a “debating society”.


“We’re going to make it as cumbersome and expensive as possible.”

Martin HenriksenThe Danish People’s Party immigration spokesperson describes the remote island where his country will hold rejected asylum seekers, which currently houses the crematory for a laboratory researching contagious animal diseases. And people say Australia doesn’t do enough to export its inventions.


“Labor has chosen to allow terrorists and paedophiles to continue their evil work in order to engage in point scoring.”

Christopher PyneThe minister for defence castigates the Opposition for holding up his party’s encryption bill. The other evil work is done by those hackers who like porn tweets from your account, but that’s a different matter.


“I say to women, if you want to go further up the ladder, what you should be doing is working through lunches, working later.”

Gina RinehartThe billionaire mining magnate offers sage career advice to help young women compete with male peers in the business world. Sad desk lunches are, of course, the key to corporate success, though inheriting $75 million from your parents doesn’t hurt.


“It’s really disappointing what Malcolm Turnbull has done. He’s destroying his own legacy by his own hands.”

Barnaby JoyceThe former deputy prime minister laments the former prime minister announcing support for the national energy guarantee. Joyce is, of course, a world expert in clumsy self-sabotage.


“I can surely be more sensitive to people’s personal space, even in the midst of my planetary enthusiasm.”

Neil deGrasse TysonThe astrophysicist responds to various accounts of unwanted touching and one accusation of rape. He says in one case he was looking for Pluto in a woman’s tattoo and in another he was offering a “special handshake”.