August 17 – 23, 2019

Parliamentary joint committee on intelligence and security chair Andrew Hastie.


How the China question split Australian politics

“All across the political landscape, people are suddenly crossing the lines of ideology and party solidarity on the question of China. Namely, how Australia should approach its relationship with the rising superpower under the leadership of President Xi.”

With his controversial op-ed, Liberal backbencher Andrew Hastie set off a debate that has riven Canberra along unexpected lines.



New birth certificate laws spark anti-trans campaign

“Using transgender children as a conservative rallying call to arms … will undoubtedly lead to an increase in stigma, discrimination, social exclusion, family rejection, bullying, harassment and assaults.”

As the backlash against the inclusion of trans and non-binary Australians continues, medical experts fear media rhetoric may hurt the wellbeing of gender-questioning youth.


Ending Australia’s recycling chaos

“While Victoria finds itself in crisis, problems with waste management and recycling are widespread across Australia. As Pete Shmigel, chief executive of the Australian Council of Recycling, says: ‘Is there pressure on the systems in other states? Absolutely.’ ”

With overseas countries rejecting more and more of Australia’s recycling, the federal and state governments are finally working towards a solution – 10 years after industry experts warned of the impending problem.

Image for article: Repairing vocational education


Repairing vocational education

According to a confidential report, Australia’s largest private training college raked in hundreds of millions in public money before its collapse, despite abysmal completion rates. A senior figure in the sector fears it could happen again.

Image for article: China claims HK protests are ‘terrorism’


China claims HK protests are ‘terrorism’

Top Russian nuclear scientists killed; Scott Morrison at Pacific Islands Forum summit in Tuvalu; Hong Kong protests continue as Chinese media gets involved; conspiracy theories surround death of well-connected sex offender Jeffrey Epstein.


Gadfly: Raising the steaks

Well, that was a fine start to the post-Hayne banking royal commission litigation. The regulator, the Australian Securities and Investments Commission, went down in a heap in its action against Westpac, where it alleged the bank was in breach of responsible lending laws in relation to more than 260,000 home loan applicants. ASIC claimed the lending formula applied by the bank meant borrowers could be led into hardship because their ability to service the loan was insufficiently appraised. Not at all, said Justice Nye Perram in the Federal Court. Borrowers could simply refine their spending habits when times got tough, citing a money-saving move away from wagyu and shiraz to something more affordable – Spam and rice, perhaps.

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Lidia Thorpe
Protecting the Djab Wurrung trees

“The cruel irony in this standoff for the protection of our cultural heritage is that it occurs against a backdrop of the Andrews Labor government’s current process to negotiate a treaty with Victoria’s First Nations. The way our concerns, elders and cultural values are being dismissed gives us no confidence they will undertake the current treaty negotiations with Traditional Owners in good faith.”


Stan Grant
Adam Goodes and writing a new Australia

“‘What would they know, what would they know, what would they bloody know, about being a blackfulla.’ It is a penetrating line in the documentary The Australian Dream. Gilbert McAdam – an Indigenous football hero – reminds us of an enduring truth in Australia. Too many white Australians just don’t know what it is to be Indigenous. Most Australians still admit they have never met an Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander person. What would they know about invasion, dispossession, stolen children, segregation? What would they know about the harsh realities of black lives in Australia?”


Paul Bongiorno
Press freedom and Hastie words on China

“Whoever chose the venue for the first day of the federal parliamentary inquiry into press freedom had a sense of humour. At least, it tickled the funny bones of journalists assigned to the story when they learnt the inquiry was to be held at the New South Wales Masonic Club in Castlereagh Street, Sydney. Famous for centuries as a secret society, that organisation is not so furtive these days, and the hope of Australia’s major media organisations and human rights campaigners is that our government and its agencies will follow suit.”

Letters, Poem & Editorial


Maxine Beneba Clarke
Contradictio in adjecto

most of us,

    it seems ridiculous now,

were there to save all life


                      from hostes humani generis


which we’d learnt,

      way back in week two of class

meant the enemies of mankind

Read More

Crowd cover

It’s an old, persistent lie: that traffic is a race issue, that failing infrastructure is the responsibility of migrants rather than the governments that build it. Said often enough, it allows politicians to blame congestion on people who look different. This is a useful trick and it’s one Scott Morrison is playing.


Where to draw the line

It was quite revealing to analyse the empirical evidence in your article “Murdoch media feeds far-right recruitment” by Rick Morton (August 10-16). The disturbing influence of conservative think tanks …

Lack of respect

The school bully has morphed from troubled youth to gutless and entitled parent (“Batter of principles”, August 10-16). Jane Caro and others suggested a range of underlying reasons, such as social media, …

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Seeker Lover Keeper, which comprises Holly Throsby, Sarah Blasko and Sally Seltmann (from left).


Supergroup Seeker Lover Keeper

On their second album, Wild Seeds, Seeker Lover Keeper took a more collaborative approach to songwriting. While the process was challenging, it created a more cohesive record and deepened the three musicians’ friendship. “It’s a real relief when you can relax and lean into that,” says Sarah Blasko. “You don’t have to get everything right or have all the perfect ideas. It’s really nice to see each person take the song forward at a different moment and you can kind of rest in that.”

Image for article: Sleater-Kinney’s The Center Won’t Hold


Sleater-Kinney’s The Center Won’t Hold

With their brilliant new album, The Center Won’t Hold, Sleater-Kinney’s defiantly feminist brand of punk remains vital as ever, 25 years after they began making music.


Image for article: The Borgias

Paul Strathern
The Borgias

Image for article: The Enchantment of the Long-haired Rat

Tim Bonyhady
The Enchantment of the Long-haired Rat

Image for article: Inland

Téa Obreht


Image for article: Roasted and raw brussels sprout salad with anchovy


Roasted and raw brussels sprout salad with anchovy

Image for article: Tourism in Guerrero, Mexico


Tourism in Guerrero, Mexico

The Mexican state of Guerrero offers iconic beaches, culinary delights and a pleasing climate. But for tourism promoters trying to sell it as a dream destination it has one major hitch – a frighteningly high crime rate.

Image for article: Hypocrisy and bad blood


Hypocrisy and bad blood

Swimmer Mack Horton’s stand against drug cheats, while admirable, brings into focus the double standard over who is doping and who is seen to have made an innocent mistake.




“Home Affairs officers will be placed in key overseas locations to seek out the very best people in high growth industries, and encourage them to come to Australia to help grow those industries.”

David ColemanThe immigration minister announces a new program to attract overseas talent to join Australia’s border protection agency.


“Personally, I’ll keep the seal.”

Peter ComensoliThe Catholic Archbishop of Melbourne says he’d rather go to jail than break the seal of confession and report paedophile priests to the police.


“I honestly started it as a joke.”

Elizabeth RowinThe organiser of a petition to rename the road in front of Trump Tower “President Barack H. Obama Avenue” expresses surprise at her petition gathering 250,000 signatures in just days.


“They should learn their place.”

PaulThe Australian, who lives in Guangdong, China, complains about Hong Kong protesters to CNN because his flight is delayed.


“In Australia today, journalism is being used as a cover by foreign intelligence actors.”

Heather CookThe ASIO deputy director-general tells a parliamentary inquiry into press freedom that exemptions for journalists could prove a slippery slope to protection for spies.


“I just wonder whether Scott Morrison is going to be fully briefed to shove a sock down her throat.’’

Alan JonesThe shock jock responds to New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern’s questioning of Australia’s climate change credentials at the Pacific Islands Forum with his trademark charm.