December 22, 2018 – January 25, 2019

Prime Minister Scott Morrison, Speaker Tony Smith and Opposition Leader Bill Shorten pose with the house of representatives this month.


How polling is wrecking democracy

“When the numbers don’t mean much, meaning must be attached to them. As the example of the recent Liberal coup shows, that can lead to disaster.”

As public faith in democracy collapses, the institution is further undermined by suspect polling, gormless politics and a media dependent on both.


A villager wounded in the Indonesian attack in the West Papua central highlands.


Exclusive: Chemical weapons dropped on Papua

The Indonesian military has employed airstrikes in West Papua – suspected to include the banned chemical weapon white phosphorus – as a retaliation for murders following a flag-raising protest.


Scott Morrison’s Christmas wish

“Senior NSW Liberals are equating the party’s federal situation with that of 1983, when Labor under Bob Hawke swept the federal Coalition into Opposition for 13 years. ”

As NSW Liberals seek to differentiate themselves from their federal peers, Scott Morrison doubtless hopes for a Christmas miracle.

Sadoullah Malakooti with his daughters.


Asylum seekers in limbo

Four out of five asylum seekers in Australia will be left destitute and homeless next year after further planned cuts to support services. Sadoullah Malakooti, appealing the rejection of his refugee application, is among them.


2018: Death and the maidens

“It has been a wretched year for our collective faith in democracy. This faith isn’t a luxury. Its absence in America helped elect an anarchic crook as president and swelled the ranks of white nationalists. The sum of disorder and cynicism is the exhausted faith of the people – who will start looking elsewhere.”

In a year bookended by National Party MPs in disgrace, we saw big banks and cricketers shamed, international politics teeter and literary and musical icons shuffle off this mortal coil. A look back at the year that was.

President Donald Trump and First Lady Melania Trump at the White House Congressional Ball.


Treason’s greetings

Trump's legal challenges. Report on Russian hacking during US election. China retaliates against Canada over Huawei arrest. Theresa May braces for Brexit defeat. Local ceasefire in Yemen brings hope. Morrison's Jerusalem gambit pleases no one.

Australia's No.1 news podcast.



Wesley Enoch
Australia Day: Past, present and future

“Change the date, don’t change the date – I am agnostic. I think a national day could be a valuable tool in the binding of a nation, but only if it finds ways of including the three narratives, as Pearson has described them. I can imagine a three-stage national day of the future, one that stretches from our long First Nations history, through the narrative of the British arrival, to the waves of immigrant arrivals and life here now. Past, present and future.”


Paul Bongiorno
Morrison Broad-sided

“The Prime Minister’s Office insists Morrison only learnt about Broad’s use of a website for ‘sugar daddy’ arrangements on the day New Idea broke the story. It is simply an incredible and grave dereliction of duty on McCormack’s part. He lamely claims he doesn’t ‘tell the prime minister everything about every member of parliament’ because he ‘has enough on his mind’. ”


Richard Ackland
Gadfly: St Brutes yearbook

Letters, Cartoon & Editorial


ReadCartoon image, links to full cartoon page

The edge of chaos

Always, there was some spectre, some looming threat – a capricious American president, the North Korean nuclear arsenal, Russia’s cyber sabotage, the possibility of Brexit’s economic devastation, the inevitability of climate disaster. We lived, in 2018, at the edge of chaos. Faced with chaos, it is human to attempt to find order. The impulse is one that tends from sense towards containment, control. It is no coincidence this year of ataxia spurred authoritarianism.


Independent advice required

Anne Summers makes an important observation in stating “it is easy to forget just how recently policy and politics became unhitched – if not unhinged” (The dead policy scrolls”, December …

Not all the way with the Donald

Thank you, Anne Summers. One aspect not mentioned, perhaps because there is a semblance of policy around, is the area of so-called defence. Bipartisan support for the United States alliance has been …

Read More


Robin DiAngelo


Robin DiAngelo, an agent of change

Robin DiAngelo knows a lot about white privilege – it’s in her DNA. The American academic, author and anti-racism advocate talks about how structures of whiteness and so-called white progressives are continuing to damage the lives of people of colour. ‘I grew up in poverty … I was a feminist for most of my life before I realised I could also be an oppressor. But I draw from my experience of oppression … I think that helps. The key is not to exempt myself from being an oppressor, just because I experience oppression. Ask anyone if they’d rather be poor and white or poor and brown – I knew I was poor, but I also knew I was white.’


The Horne Prize: Ten More Days

“Ten more days and I would have had a chance to delve deeper behind the humorous anecdotes, to gain a deeper understanding of how humour in itself was a form of sustenance. Who knows what I would have discovered about him, what I would have found out about myself.”

Image for article: The gilded age of Netflix


The gilded age of Netflix

The Golden Age of television is giving way to a period more gilded, but streaming giant Netflix has still bankrolled some worthy viewing this year, in the form of Dumplin’ and American Vandal.

Image for article: Love & Desire: Pre-Raphaelite Masterpieces from the Tate

Visual Art

Love & Desire: Pre-Raphaelite Masterpieces from the Tate

Bursting with colour, overwrought with emotion and rich in symbolism – the grandiloquent works of the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood leave the Tate to enliven the walls of the NGA in an exhibition powerful enough to convert even a non-fan.

Image for article: Artist Wendy Whiteley


Artist Wendy Whiteley

“The first time I saw Wendy Whiteley is imprinted on my memory. I can’t have been older than 13 or 14 – right in the middle of that most excruciating part of puberty – and was on a school excursion with my art class to the Brett Whiteley Studio in the back streets of Surry Hills.”


Louisiana heron

“Luce put her hand on the dash. Check her watch. She shouldn’t-a left Leroy. She the only one even know he alone at the house. She turn her head as they pass a small huddle-a Louisiana heron, grouped together by the roadside. Luce wonder what they doin so far ’way from the water, on a scorcher like this.”

Image for article: Riding the Pacific Coast Starlight


Riding the Pacific Coast Starlight

Travelling north from California to Oregon on the Coast Starlight rail line, the traveller observes the fade of Los Angeles’ pressing population until the forests part for a moment’s glimpse of smalltown USA.


Image for article: Closing the book on anonymity

Michael Nolan
Closing the book on anonymity

Image for article: Best Books of 2018 #1

Geordie Williamson
Best Books of 2018 #1

Image for article: Best Books of 2018 #2

Linda Jaivin
Best Books of 2018 #2


Image for article: Galette des rois, and plum pudding with Armagnac custard


Galette des rois, and plum pudding with Armagnac custard

Image for article: The best wines of summer 2019


The best wines of summer 2019

The beverage director for Andrew McConnell’s restaurants recommends the top tipples for the festive season.

Image for article: The Boxing Day Test


The Boxing Day Test

For cricket fans disillusioned and despondent over Australia’s ignominious fall from Test cricket grace, the current series against India promises the best Christmas gift of all.

The Quiz

1. Which race did Kim Beazley describe as “400 metres of national reconciliation”?
2. Phoebe is a moon of which planet?
3. Rounded to the nearest whole number, one calorie equals how many kilojoules?
4. Lisa Alexander is head coach of which national sports team?
5. Lake Titicaca is situated in which mountain range?
6. What is the name for an egg-laying mammal?
7. The three lead characters in the 1952 film Singin’ in the Rain are Gene Kelly, Debbie Reynolds and…?
8. In what year did Australia’s goods and services tax become operational?
9. The city of Savannah is in which US state?
10. Which 1970s Rod Stewart hit begins with a mandolin solo?
11. “Hepatic” relates to which organ?
12. In which century was the Taj Mahal built?
13. Which Australian state or territory had the highest vote for marriage equality in the 2017 postal survey?
14. Who was engaged to actor Ben Affleck in 2002?
15. Who wrote that history repeats, “the first time as tragedy, the second as farce”?
16. Models Gemma Ward, Jessica Gomes and Megan Gale were born in which Australian capital city?
17. Basketballer Liz Cambage (pictured) played for which WNBA team in 2018?
18. For what type of company does a dramaturge work?
19. What would the word “back” score in a game of Scrabble if it didn’t sit on any bonus point squares?
20. On which continent are macaques chiefly found?
21. Which country’s national anthem begins: “E Ihowā Atua”?
22. Who play the title roles in the 2018 comedy film Holmes & Watson?
23. The name of what pasta translates to “butterflies” in English?
24. Ben Gillies, Daniel Johns and Chris Joannou formed the band Innocent Criminals in 1992. What name were the trio known by when they won ARIA awards?
25. Phuket is an island of which country?
26. What is 15 per cent of 300?
27. What is the main component of the alloy steel?
28. Orogeny creates which geological feature?
29. Complete the saying: He who laughs last…
30. Australian Stephanie Gilmore last month won a record-equalling seventh world surfing title, matching the accomplishment of which countrywoman?
31. The characters Jane Gallagher, Phoebe Caulfield and Carl Luce feature in which novel?
32. Which furniture designers created the Time-Life executive chair?
33. Would a person eat, wear or play cuirass?
34. Which blood group is most common in Asia?
35. Who created the artwork Girl with Balloon that was this year partially shredded seconds after being sold at auction?
36. Name the whistleblower and former United States Army soldier who was court-martialled in 2013 for violating the Espionage Act and other offences.
37. According to Greek legend, who gouged out his own eyes following patricide and incest?
38. Which city has the largest population of Hobart, Geelong, Wollongong and Townsville?
39. How would you write 98 in Roman numerals?
40. Which batsman’s suspension over ball-tampering from Cricket Australia is due to expire on December 29, 2018?

Click through for answers.