August 3 – 9, 2019

Attorney-General Christian Porter during question time on Monday.


Exclusive: Police bypass courts for warrants

“Australia’s law-enforcement agencies are sidestepping the courts to obtain the vast majority of their phone-tap and email interception warrants from the Administrative Appeals Tribunal (AAT) – a body that has attracted criticism for the number of its political appointees, some without legal qualifications.”

New figures reveal 78 per cent of interception warrants were signed off  by members of the Administrative Appeals Tribunal, not by a judge.



Coalition bets anti-union bill on Setka rebuke

“People tend to think of Australia as a worker-friendly society … But it absolutely is not, anymore. I can think of no other country in the industrialised world where a union has to jump through so many hoops in order to take industrial action of any kind.”

While the government argues it needs tough new powers to break up thuggish, militant unions, experts say the average union member is a 50-something woman working in aged care.

Image for article: Low-paid workers and wage theft


Low-paid workers and wage theft

As George Calombaris returns wages of $7.8 million to his employees, the latest research shows widespread underpayment of casual workers – particularly those earning the least.

Image for article: Carers’ evidence on aged care


Carers’ evidence on aged care

Evidence to the Aged Care Royal Commission resonates for the author, who was part of a family team looking after her grandmother in her own home.

Image for article: Lebanese band’s concert cancelled over threats of violence


Lebanese band’s concert cancelled over threats of violence

Mashrou’ Leila’s festival ban. UN condemns tragedy in Idlib. Timor-Leste gas treaty finally approved. Deforestation in the Amazon.


Gadfly: Grassy-eyed Gus

Things have got to a pretty rancid state if Pauline Hanson has to ride to your rescue. And rancid they are with #Grassgate. Fantastic Gussy Taylor, the squillionaire MP whose family is under investigation for allegedly squirting pesticide on endangered grasses, is significantly off the hook, thanks to Hanson.

Australia's No.1 news podcast.



Nevo Zisin
Rewriting society’s binary code

“The sociopolitical climate of being transgender in this country is a mess. It feels like no matter what transgender activists, advocates and allies do, we are taking one step forward as a nation and then turning and sprinting in the opposite direction. Every single day, I have to convince myself that it is worth getting out of bed and fighting to simply live my life.”


Russell Marks
Rough justice in the Northern Territory

“Sources close to the North Australian Aboriginal Justice Agency (NAAJA) say its lawyers were surprised to learn neither the Department of Justice nor the Territory’s chief judge had received a formal complaint from the agency about Alice Springs Local Court judge Greg Borchers. That news came via media reports last month, which publicised the bewildering comments Borchers has made in court regarding Aboriginal defendants.”


Paul Bongiorno
Prisoners of the Crown

“Tasmanian independent Jacqui Lambie has returned to the senate convinced that people don’t trust politicians. That’s the message she received anywhere she went in the island state during her enforced exile from parliament over citizenship eligibility, she says. And that’s why she and other crossbenchers in both the house of representatives and the senate are calling for the urgent establishment of a national integrity commission.”

Letters, Poem & Editorial


Maxine Beneba Clarke
A starting wage

                         and we were all waiting

for that golden age,

                     of fourteen and nine months

and a starting wage


a paper route, stacking shelves at franklins,

or working checkout at the safeway

sweeping salon floors at the local mall

             (that was me, circa nineteen ninety-four)

Read More

Watchdog with teeth

ICAC has seen monumental success and failure in New South Wales. By no stretch of the imagination has it stamped out corruption in the state, but its reputation has always been formidable. No one covets the prospect of facing an ICAC investigation. An independent watchdog, with real power, which can do its work in public, changes the mathematics of corruption. The balance tips slightly towards risk from reward.


Paying the job network

It was interesting to read the article about the push to increase the Newstart allowance at long last (Mike Seccombe, “Newstart: Thaw in senate may end 25-year freeze”, July 27-August 2). Even John …

No votes from Newstart

Isn’t it typical? The surplus was proclaimed by Josh Frydenberg to kick off the election even though the budget was not “in the black”. Now it is reported the Morrison government killed …

Read More


Simone Young.


Conductor Simone Young

Back in Australia for a series of concerts around the country, Sydney-born conductor Simone Young discusses her storied career, the jewel-like music of Richard Strauss and the portrayal of women in 19th-century opera. “The composers, however appallingly these women might be treated, clothed these figures in some of the most glorious music ever written. And that’s what Strauss does. Strauss takes these difficult situations and creates compassion for the women in the audience by giving them music that is deeply moving.”

Image for article: Diego Maradona


Diego Maradona

After his excellent documentaries Senna and Amy, Asif Kapadia has turned his attention to another modern icon, Diego Maradona. But this new film is inhibited by its narrow vision.


Image for article: Hearing Maud

Jessica White
Hearing Maud

Image for article: Dry Milk

Huo Yan
Dry Milk

Image for article: The Golden State

Lydia Kiesling
The Golden State


Image for article: Apple and prune flaugnarde


Apple and prune flaugnarde

Image for article: Taipei’s beef noodle soup


Taipei’s beef noodle soup

On a quest to find Taipei’s best beef noodle soup, the favourite comfort food of the Taiwanese, the visitor may find the dish also holds memories that warm the heart.

Image for article: AFL recruit Stefan Okunbor


AFL recruit Stefan Okunbor

With a Nigerian father and a Moldovan mother, Irish-raised footballer Stefan Okunbor has taken a unique path to Geelong Football Club’s Cattery.




“It fills you with rage to be poor in a rich country and I think that’s perfectly legitimate. We need a revolution.”

Melissa LucashenkoThe novelist wins the Miles Franklin Literary Award for her book Too Much Lip. Of course, only a fiction writer could tell Australia the truth about itself.


“The reality is he was part of this world for some time and was merely passing from one room to another.”

Barnaby JoyceThe Nationals MP uses his infant son to challenge the decriminalisation of abortion in New South Wales. To extend the metaphor, Joyce’s reasoning suggests he has very little in the attic.


“We do not agree that [it] is our role to remove content that one side of a political debate considers to be false.”

Simon MilnerThe Asia-Pacific vice-president of Facebook denies it’s their responsibility to remove fake news during the Australian election. Every pollster in the country breathed a sigh of relief.


“Continuing her long list of firsts, Julie will be our university’s first female chancellor.”

Naomi FlutterThe pro-chancellor of the Australian National University announces Julie Bishop as the university’s next chancellor. Maybe next year publicists will realise that never having a female leader before shouldn’t be your main selling point.


“New figures have been released showing just how many dole bludgers are trying to take advantage of the welfare system.”

Natalie BarrThe newsreader offers up Sunrise’s nuanced addition to the Newstart debate. No doubt the show’s welfare expert panel features a hedge fund manager, a tradie with a dozen investment properties and Tony Abbott.


“That’s the anecdotal information I received.”

Kelly-Anne TrenfieldThe administrator for Queensland Nickel confirms that Clive Palmer paid $1 to buy the company. Still more than his employees have been paid for working there.