Barnaby’s last stand

“With public sentiment against fossil fuels strengthening, Scott Morrison does not want to be seen to be embracing coal.”

As the Nationals quietly shift positions on climate change and energy, Barnaby Joyce is wreaking havoc as coal’s last defender.



Wages growth lowest since WWII

“Experts differ in their theories about what caused Australia’s sudden wage stagnation, and on the degree of government culpability, but there is no disputing that it has coincided very unfortunately with the Coalition’s time in power.”

With wages stagnating since the Coalition took office, Labor is hoping to make the election a fight on industrial relations – even if it doesn’t have solutions.


Full circle

As Chief Judge Peter Kidd steadily reads his sentencing of George Pell, the author sits among those assembled in court, watching the cardinal, and considering the nature of power in the justice system.


Minor parties the key to NSW poll

With just a week to go until the NSW election, the major parties are campaigning hard to woo voters. But it’s the micro-parties that may end up deciding who will govern.


NBN write-down could cost tens of billions

“Rolling out the obsolete FTTN in 2014 was a national disgrace – there is nothing anyone can say that can justify this madness.”

A write-down of the NBN, as well as necessary upgrades, may cost taxpayers tens of billions of dollars, according to leaked emails from an industry expert forum.


May needs third chance for Brexit

Daesh's last Syrian enclave set to fall. Oil spill off Solomon Islands. Russia plans to disconnect local internet from the web. May's Brexit chaos continues.



Nayuka Gorrie
Sobering statistics

“In 2001, Victoria’s own inquiry into public drunkenness recommended decriminalisation, citing that ‘for historic, cultural and instrumental reasons the impact of the criminalisation of public drunkenness has a disproportionate effect and impact upon Indigenous communities’. The committee pushed for the establishment of sobering-up centres across the state, including specific centres for Indigenous people, which would form part of a ‘holistic treatment service’.”


Paul Bongiorno
Joyce’s war on metropolitan Liberals

“This week began with the Coalition government recording its 50th consecutive Newspoll loss, and that by a margin of eight points. A National Party source has no doubt it was that result that triggered Barnaby Joyce’s declaration of war on metropolitan Liberals, as he demanded the government underwrite a coal-fired power station in north Queensland. Prompting his outburst was his assessment that the government is doomed. It is now everyone for themselves.”


Quill shafts for Judd

Kerri Judd, QC, the Victorian DPP, defender of the faith and protector of the courts, has possibly up to 100 media organisations and reptiles in her sights for alleged contempt. In her possession is a bristling letter from Justin Quill, whose firm, Macpherson Kelley, is acting for 53 potential media parties. This correspondence is a fallout from the Pell trial suppression orders and headlines after the cardinal’s secret conviction for “historic sexual abuse crimes”.

Letters, Poem & Editorial


Maxine Beneba Clarke
Hotel Alice

     on march 21
the people’s feet thundered

seven thousand
through the township
   of sharpeville

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Carbon copy

To the streets, tens of thousands of students went on Friday, picketing for climate action. We cannot wait, their common refrain. There is no time. Meanwhile, unimpassioned, our leaders squabble still over coal. And the deja vu sets in – the climate battles of the past two decades, hashed and rehashed, an endless circular argument as the stakes and the temperatures rise.


Standing up for reforms

I do not write to papers very often but I feel I must congratulate you on “The town with no water” by Nick Feik and “The new underclass” by Mike Seccombe (March 9–15). Nick Feik …

Politicians must listen to the people

Robert Manne (“The myth of the great wave”, March 2–8) asks refugee advocates such as myself to accept boat turnbacks and offshore detention as necessary components of …

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The high life of Claire Denis

While Claire Denis seeks to avoid metaphor in her films, the French director’s sci-fi prison drama High Life, starring Juliette Binoche and Robert Pattinson, can’t help but raise big questions about the universe, the nature of time and even the meaning of life. “Everything in screenwriting is painful and yet it’s great. It’s great because the pain is the price you have to pay to be allowed to dream things, to make them real.”


Karen O and Danger Mouse’s ‘Lux Prima’

Karen O and Danger Mouse’s collaboration has delivered in Lux Prima a brilliant album of dark pop, with a hint of Pink Floyd grandeur.


Nicola Redhouse
Unlike the Heart

Mark Brandi
The Rip

Roddy Doyle
Charlie Savage



Cured ocean trout on a buckwheat blini with crème fraîche and salmon roe


Cruise ship holidays

When it comes to making holiday plans, some are happier abandoning terra firma and giving in to the pull of the ocean.


Life as a diehard Carlton fan

As a girl, the author grew up knowing three things were certain – death, taxes and Carlton FC success. So when, suddenly and shockingly, the Blues became a team that let her down, she had to find new ways to keep the love alive.




“You put your hand up and say, ‘I’m Indigenous’ and you get a letter from a community group.”

Mark LathamThe One Nation candidate proposes DNA testing for Aboriginality, claiming people are able to rort the system. And yet it seems the current checks and balances are still more rigorous than the vetting process for One Nation candidates.


“Police are saying please don’t call Triple 0.”

Natalie Barr

The Sunrise newsreader reports a flood of calls after a global outage of Facebook and Instagram. It’s arguable whether there is any greater emergency than being unable to read the latest vaguely racist post from one of your distant relatives.


“I understand what it takes to have a successful marriage.”

Michael McCormackThe deputy prime minister responds to Barnaby Joyce’s comment that the Nationals are not married to the Liberals. McCormack’s advice is to prioritise your current relationship and completely ice out previous partners, just as the Nats have done to farmers in favour of miners.


“The house needs to face up to the consequences of the decisions it has taken.”

Theresa MayThe British prime minister upbraids her parliament over its Brexit deal no-deal. As one conservative MP said, it’s hard to know whether this is a “pig’s ear, a dog’s dinner or a cat’s arse” – or if there’s a way to think about it in human terms.


“As soon as I saw the shirts I knew the entire operation was a circus.”

Bryan Wiseman

The former Home and Away actor quits Clive Palmer’s United Australia Party after discovering campaign shirts are made in China. If anyone appreciates the quality that goes with locally made, it’s someone who’s worked on an Australian soap opera.


“I do not see the difference between getting a kid into school by bribing the building committee, and by bribing someone else. But, apparently, the second is against the law.”

David MametThe screenwriter defends Felicity Huffman over her alleged role in a $25 million scam to get wealthy children into elite colleges. To be clear: it’s “against the law” to bribe officials for better test scores.