Scott Morrison’s inner circle

“When moderate Liberal MPs swung their votes behind Scott Morrison during last year’s leadership crisis, they did so at the urging of frontbencher Paul Fletcher. Fletcher’s move reflected a pattern of mutual assistance between Morrison, his centre-right NSW Liberal power base, and others who need or are needed by him – or whom he needs to keep happy.”

Still dogged by questions about his rise to the Liberal leadership, Scott Morrison is keeping his allies close, and rewarding those who voted for him in the spill.



No truth behind Dutton’s medivac rhetoric

The government is aiming to repeal the medivac law, saying it will restart the boats, bring criminals to the country and overcrowd our hospital system. But what are the facts behind these claims?


Sperm donation and parenthood

“On June 19 this year, the High Court of Australia delivered its decision in the case of Masson v Parsons, ruling that a known sperm donor was the legal father of the child born of artificial insemination. The ruling made international headlines and was the first of its kind in Australia, but it was only the latest twist in a long legal saga.”

A recent High Court ruling has led to questions about how the law should define parenthood, especially when single women conceive with the help of known sperm donors.


Victoria reviews spent convictions

Plans to introduce spent convictions legislation in Victoria – the only state that doesn’t allow the wiping of minor convictions from a person’s record – stalled earlier this year. Now, Reason Party leader Fiona Patten has put the scheme back on the agenda.


Tax cuts and economic stimulus

“When parliament resumes next week, the Morrison government will present a huge package of tax changes, parts of which would provide much-needed stimulus to the ailing economy, and others that analysis suggests would simply exacerbate inequality.”

The government is adamant its proposed three-stage tax package be passed in its entirety or not at all – thus potentially denying a slowing economy some much-needed stimulus.


Fractures show in Johnson campaign

New US sanctions on Iran. PNG leader wants local company for Manus security. Erdoğan loses Istanbul, again. Boris Johnson’s bid.



Andrew Leigh
Social liberalism fits Labor

“The Liberal Party of Australia is now a LINO party: Liberal In Name Only. It’s a fitting acronym. After all, lino was Australia’s favourite floor covering in the 1950s … After Labor’s unexpected election loss, our renewal may be found in an unlikely spot – welcoming not only those inspired by egalitarianism, but also those motivated by social liberalism.”


Paul Bongiorno
Labor’s contortions on tax package

“From New York, Josh Frydenberg aimed a political missile with laser-like accuracy. ‘Earth to Anthony Albanese: Labor lost the election. Now it’s time to support the Coalition’s tax cuts in full.’ It hit the opposition midship, striking at the vulnerability dividing Albanese’s shadow cabinet and caucus. From Germany, Finance Minister Mathias Cormann added his firepower. He accused Labor of playing tactical political games with the economy and with people’s livelihoods.”


Taking a punt on political football

This week, the story that combines Australia’s favourite pastimes – brutal team sport and painful culture wars – continued, after sacked rugby player Israel Folau was booted from fundraising site GoFundMe.

Letters, Poem & Editorial


Maxine Beneba Clarke
Proportionate force

the president is tough on immigration,

    he is building the mexico wall


and the smell of despair is unbearable,

in the child-camps of customs and border


they say the collars of babes are coarse with cried salt,

they say more bodies than mattresses

        line the concrete floors

Read More

Maybe God didn’t make your penis

The defining feature of homophobia is that the people who hate you are picturing you having sex. Michael Kirby once made this point, although not as bluntly. The hatred is a kind of jealousy. The challenge of queer sex is a challenge to the notion that intimacy shared between a man and a woman is somehow special. It isn’t.


Batty has earned her privacy to grieve

Martin McKenzie-Murray doesn’t attempt to nail Rosie Batty as his splendid writing approaches tentatively (“Rosie Batty: the private toll of public grief”, June 22-28). Our background, …

Inspiration of the year

One word for Rosie Batty: respect.

– Colin Hesse, Marrickville, NSW

Put more women on the front page

Congratulations on featuring Rosie Batty on the …

Read More



Palme d’Or winner Bong Joon-ho

Rather than worrying about the nuclear threat from his homeland’s northern neighbour, South Korean director and screenwriter Bong Joon-ho has used his latest Palme d’Or-winning film, Parasite, to home in on the country’s increasing economic divide. “Of course we do worry about North Korea and want peace to come and our relationship to improve, but it’s not something that happens right next to me. What we really feel with our skin are economic issues.”


MTC’s Storm Boy

Although Melbourne Theatre Company’s Storm Boy is lushly produced, Colin Thiele’s story is showing its age – particularly in the face of a global climate emergency.



Banded morwong en papillote


The winter garden

As she contemplates her ever-expanding Monstera deliciosa, the author provides tips on what to plant and prune as the cold weather descends.


Cricket World Cup fails to excite

Once, one-day cricket was beamed free to all Australian TV sets, the commentators were beloved and the on-field theatrics magical. Now we have a six-week World Cup that is struggling to raise a flicker of interest.


Emma Smith
This Is Shakespeare

Kathryn Hind

Damian Barr
You Will Be Safe Here


The Quiz

1. “Anything You Can Do” was composed by Irving Berlin for which musical?
2. Name the archduke who was assassinated by Gavrilo Princip in Sarajevo on June 28, 1914?
3. Which of the seven wonders of the ancient world is in Giza, Egypt?
4. Name the two-time 100-metre freestyle world champion and Olympic silver medallist who announced his retirement from swimming this month.
5. Who wrote the books The Pillars of Hercules, The Great Railway Bazaar and The Mosquito Coast?
6. Vaitupu is the largest atoll in which South Pacific island nation?
7. The Final Quarter is a documentary about which former Sydney Swans AFL player?
8. Fe is the chemical symbol for which element?
9. Where was composer Richard Wagner born?
10. What is the more common name for garbanzo beans?



“There is a conspiracy to silence Israel Folau and to destroy him.”

Miranda DevineThe News Corp columnist says powerful forces are organising against the rugby player. Well, God does have a plan for everyone.


“I am looking forward to providing strategic advice to EY, as the firm looks to expand its footprint in the defence industry.”

Christopher PyneThe former defence minister takes up a job with the multinational just weeks after leaving parliament. In retiring from politics it seems he’s looking forward to (putting the) rest (in conflict of interest).


“I’m not going to the fucking White House.”

Megan RapinoeThe United States captain responds to a question about the prospect of her team winning the soccer World Cup. Her words will surely inspire young girls to play sport, so they too can emphatically turn down an offer to meet Donald Trump.


“Now he’s machinegunning the institution of the Logies, which is the only institution we have.”

Grant DenyerThe host lashes out at comedian Tom Gleeson over his campaign for Australian TV’s top prize. Without doubt, the nuanced and subtle performance you’d expect from a Gold Logie winner.


“I promised my supporters that I would get a tattoo if we retained the seat of Pearce with an increased majority. The #ink is done.”

Christian Porter

The attorney-general shares a photo of his new Star Wars tattoo on Instagram. Unfortunately, it does not appear to be on his lower back.


“Walking through JFK yesterday ... The happiest line was the people going to Paris. It made me smile. It made me melancholic. C’est la vie, c’est l’amour. There’s only one Paris.”

Russell Crowe

The actor makes his pitch to be The Saturday Paper’s poet laureate.