February 16 – 22, 2019

Michael McCormack (left), Scott Morrison and Christian Porter in parliament  this week.


The defeat Morrison hopes will save him

“Morrison is understood to be the architect of his own political strategy. His friend, former Howard adviser turned lobbyist David Gazard, confirmed the prime minister is choosing to see the medivac legislation as a gift.”



Matt Canavan hijacks native title fight on Adani

“Those provisions present Indigenous people with Hobson’s choice. They can either agree to a land use agreement, in which case the mine goes ahead and they get something out of it, or they can refuse, in which case the mine almost certainly goes ahead anyway, and they get nothing.”

While Resources Minister Matt Canavan insists Adani has the full support of the Wangan and Jagalingou people, the legitimacy of a land agreement with the mining giant is the subject of a Federal Court appeal.

The author  in Chicago.


Life in Chicago for former Manus detainee

In the six months since the author, a Rohingya refugee and Manus Island detainee, began his new life in Chicago, he has been studying hard and relishing his freedom. He has also remained committed to giving hope to those still trapped in offshore detention.

Bahraini refugee Hakeem al-Araibi speaks to the media at Melbourne Airport this week.


Refugee footballer back in Australia

Turkey condemns mass detention of Uygur people in China, as video is released of missing singer. Soccer player Hakeem al-Araibi returns from Thailand. Hungary’s prime minister Viktor Orbán exempts tax for women bearing four or more children. Germany plans end to all coal-power generation.


Doubts over Huang ban and foreign influence

“Instead of allowing Huang the opportunity to comply with new legislation, he has in effect been labelled a likely recidivist without ever having been convicted.”

The government’s revoking of Huang Xiangmo’s Australian residency has been presented as a tough act against foreign influence, but may have set a precedent endangering thousands of Chinese Australians.

Tim Wilson in Canberra this week.


Inside the franking credits debate

As a Tim Wilson-led inquiry stirs up discontent over Labor’s proposed changes to franking credits, different groups are invested in the policy proposal for different reasons.

Australia's No.1 news podcast.



Kerryn Phelps
A bill of human rights

“The evidence to date does not establish that moving people to Australia temporarily for medical treatment results in a flood of boats. According to Minister Dutton, 810 people from offshore detention are already in Australia for medical treatment with the government’s approval, and they have not been returned to Nauru and Manus – yet the boats have not restarted. Similarly, the headlines last year that the government was going to move all children to Australia by Christmas also have not resulted in an influx of boats.”


Paul Bongiorno
Morrison doubles down on security

“What a week for the Morrison minority government. It started with the prime minister promising to keep Australians safe and secure. It ended with him and his government looking less assured they will be around long enough to deliver. Tuesday’s historic defeat on the floor of the parliament was a direct legacy of the same turmoil that led to the demolition of Malcolm Turnbull’s leadership. In its wake, the prospect of the government’s recovery is looking more remote by the day.”


Justice married

In a week of political panic stations it was touching to see news of Michael Kirby’s marriage to Johan van Vloten, 50 years after their first meeting on Tuesday, February 11, 1969, at the Bottoms Up Bar of the Rex Hotel in Kings Cross. It’s been onwards ever since, with Kirby’s vaulting career as a lawyer and a judge and Johan moving for a time into the newsagency business. On AIDS, discrimination, equality and a fair go even if you don’t have a go, Kirby was unbending, which brought him into conflict with some pretty grisly fossils on the bench.

Letters, Poem & Editorial


Maxine Beneba Clarke
Frankly Speaking

oh come on

geoff wilson’s not my cousin cousin
he’s my grandfather’s cousin’s
grandson unremoved

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Our women

Scott Morrison says he will protect our women. Inherent in his choice of words is the paternalism of a prime minister who doesn’t think his party has a “women problem”, even as it sheds female MPs at record speed. Of a man who starts sentences that describe his concern about the harassment and abuse women face with the caveat, “As a father…”


Bipartisan agreement on torture

Every time I see a picture of Treasurer Josh Frydenberg (on the cover of No. 239, Karen Middleton, “The pain in Hayne stays mainly...”, February 9-15) I also think of Tanya Plibersek, two …

West Papuan resistance

As disturbing as it may sound, I am profoundly glad that your paper has cast light onto the appalling situation of West Papua, that longstanding travesty of justice to our immediate north (John Martinkus, …

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Héloïse Letissier.


The reinvention of Christine and the Queens

Like her idol Madonna, French pop musician Héloïse Letissier is interested in transformation and reinvention. Her latest album finds her performing in a new persona as Chris, a celebration of her “macho-femininity”. She is, however, aware of the “danger of mainstreaming ‘queerness’… [that] it could invalidate the thing that ‘queer’ is important for. Queer is questioning a norm, questioning the system, subverting it, so if it’s digested and branded and [covered in] glossy plastic to appeal, then the essence of queer is lost.”

Methyl Ethel’s Jake Webb


Methyl Ethel’s Triage

On the latest Methyl Ethel album, Triage, Jake Webb’s extraordinary songwriting is on full display in pop music of unusual complexity.


Image for article: The Photographer at Sixteen

George Szirtes
The Photographer at Sixteen

Image for article: Imperfect

Lee Kofman

Image for article: You Know You Want This

Kristen Roupenian
You Know You Want This


Image for article: Zucchini soup, and zucchini and parmesan fritters


Zucchini soup, and zucchini and parmesan fritters

Image for article: Online abuse of women in the media


Online abuse of women in the media

For female journalists in Australia, the rate of online threats and trolling has increased to such a level that many are questioning their choice of career and, in some cases, are living in constant fear.

Image for article: ‘I want us girls to learn self-defence’


‘I want us girls to learn self-defence’

For 11-year-old black belt Evie Cassel, taekwondo has provided an education in life as well as sport.




“If you lose control of your borders, ultimately, sooner or later, you lose control of the country.”

Tony AbbottThe former prime minister on the risk of offering medical care to sick refugees. Similarly, if you lose control of your party, ultimately, sooner or later, you lose control of your mind.


“We are introducing the changes gradually as stationery is exhausted and other materials are replaced.”

Matthew AbbottThe corporate affairs boss at the Australian Securities and Investments Commission defends spending $100,000 on a new font and branding. As soon as the letterhead arrives, but not too soon, it is expected they will start regulating the financial markets.


“If people knew they would say I was like R Kelley lol.”

Ryan AdamsThe singer asks an under-age girl to show him her ID in “the hottest way that has ever been done”. We are happy to report that the hottest way is in a New York Times article outlining his mistreatment of women.


“Whilst I do not recall the incident of blood on the door, I now have come to the conclusion that it was myself and I sincerely apologise for that action.”

Brian BurstonThe former One Nation senator confesses to smearing blood on Pauline Hanson’s office after fighting with one of her staffers. They’re right, though: Muslim immigration is the problem.


“I will simply ignore it and we’ll get on with the business.”

Scott MorrisonThe prime minister explains his strategy after losing a vote on the floor of the house. It joins matching strategies on climate change, Indigenous recognition and looking terrible in hats.


“The history of Australia has determined the innate characteristics of a giant baby. This is an objective fact and it does not mean Australia has to feel inferior.”

Huang XiangmoThe Chinese billionaire reflects on the “simple folk customs” of Australian politics. There is no folk custom more simple than making political donations in the hope of influence and residency.