Exclusive: 500 children forfeited to state in NDIS standoff

“These figures show that the scale of trauma and distress created by the NDIS rollout is far beyond what has been previously reported. It likely remains a conservative estimate, given how closely this data is held, and in some cases hidden, by state governments.”

New figures reveal the human toll of a five-year NDIS funding fight, with hundreds of families pushed to relinquish their children into state care.




Extinction Rebellion protests

Drawing on elements of performance art and courting arrest, Extinction Rebellion protesters this week took to the streets around Australia, calling for urgent action on the climate crisis.



The complexity of male suicide

“Dr Michelle Tye, a senior research fellow with the Black Dog Institute, says that attributing men’s suicide to a single cause could prove dangerous. ‘It potentially forces us to lose sight of other risk factors and concentrates prevention efforts to one small part of the problem.’ ”

A prominent men’s rights group backed by One Nation claims 21 men commit suicide each week because of child support and custody disputes, but official data suggests the reasons are far more complicated.



Crackdown on large cash transactions

While the government’s proposal to restrict large cash payments is intended to limit criminal activity, opponents of the bill – including some of the Coalition’s own MPs – warn the legislation could ensnare ordinary citizens.



The decline of political freedoms in Australia

“We don’t have anything like the kind of protection that exists in the United States for the press, or for whistleblowers wanting to get their story out. Here, you are open to prosecution.”

While the Australian government is quick to criticise other countries for restricting people’s freedoms, its treatment of whistleblowers and climate protesters reveals an alarming hypocrisy.



No end in sight for Hong Kong rebels

What’s at the heart of Hong Kong’s discontent, the protesters on the ground and the prospect of a military crackdown.




Jamie Williams
I fought with the Kurds; they are not the enemy

“The Kurds have been an invaluable ally in the fight against Daesh. For five years, they fought alongside troops from the United States and its allies. In these terms, Donald Trump’s decision to withdraw US support for the Kurds in northern Syria can only be seen as a betrayal.”



Paul Bongiorno
The hot topic of climate change

“The ghosts of leaders past are haunting the political firmament as climate change, the one issue that played a major role in their demise, flares spectacularly. While Malcolm Turnbull, Tony Abbott and Bill Shorten ruminate on their contributions to and prescriptions for the nation, fierce unseasonal bushfires are offering a brutal reality check.”



A Greek comedy duo

The dazzling Athenian sunshine caught the highlights of Kevin Andrews’ luxuriant crop of Grecian 2000-enhanced hair as he took coffee at a footpath cafe in Skoufa, close to the Greek capital’s embassy district. But hold on, there was an even bigger distraction. Pauline Hanson, that heart-throb of menopausal males from the boondocks, was perched close by. Quite the strange pairing to spot on holiday together in the Mediterranean.

Letters, Poem & Editorial



Maxine Beneba Clarke
The Gospel of Peter

 a poem constructed from the words of Peter Dutton


african gangs have taken over the streets,

melburnians are afraid to go out to eat


                                     and asylum seekers are having


anchor babies … armed with pro bono lawyers

          trying to leverage migration

Read More


The untold joke

At best, larrikinism is a cover for the worst aspects of the Australian character. It excuses poor behaviour and indulges second-rate talent. It is a particular kind of unseriousness that avoids difficult questions and laughs at those who try to ask them.



Trouble ahead on aged care

Rick Morton gives a valuable perspective on the crisis facing aged care (“Exclusive: Aged-care sector at risk of collapse”, October 5-11). It’s valuable as it shines a light on providers …


A failing system

Rick Morton summarised concisely a muddied subject: aged care and its conduct and viability through successive governments. In doing so he’s spotlighted the absurdities underlying the current structure, which …

Read More



Fantasy bestseller Philip Pullman

Philip Pullman found fame in the 1990s with the His Dark Materials fantasy trilogy. Now, the children who grew up with the heroine, Lyra, can revisit her as an adult in The Secret Commonwealth. The author talks about having his work adapted for the small screen, the dangers of single vision and the allure of dust. “We know we’re conscious, but philosophers are still struggling with what David Chalmers calls ‘the hard problem’ – how do we get from matter to consciousness? Once you accept that consciousness is a normal property of matter, and that everything is, in however dim and rudimentary way, conscious, everything becomes clearer. This is the question towards which The Book of Dust is working.”


Mentalist Scott Silven

Relying on more than sleight of hand and psychological manipulation, mentalist Scott Silven elicits wonder and delight from his audiences by connecting them through his performances.


The Souvenir

Joanna Hogg’s autobiographical fourth feature film, The Souvenir, explores the fallibility of memory and attraction, grounded by nuanced performances from Honor Swinton Byrne and Tom Burke.


Australian Brandenberg Orchestra’s Paul Dyer

“You need to take the risk and get lost in it. I will change tempo at a moment’s notice. I will take things faster or slower depending on the mood I gauge. I can hold and suspend things by getting lost, and I can feel, or zone inside, the person or the music.”




Padrón peppers with tomato bread and aioli



Foetal alcohol spectrum disorder

In Australia, up to 9 per cent of babies are born each year with foetal alcohol spectrum disorder. Mixed messages about drinking during pregnancy and a lack of awareness mean few people understand the condition, let alone discuss it.



Pocket rocket Robby Foldvari

Thirty-three years after winning the World Professional Billiards Championship, Robby Foldvari has returned to this year’s tournament, with his passion for the sport – and his hunger for success – as alive as ever.



Anna Krien
Act of Grace


Zadie Smith
Grand Union


The Quiz

1. Jair Bolsonaro is the president of which country?
2. What is a palindrome?
3. The chief executives of BHP and Telstra share what first name? (Bonus points for naming them.)
4. The Territory of the Wallis and Futuna Islands is in which ocean?
5. Which actress links the characters Sandy Edwards, Sheryl Hoover and Tara Gregson?
6. Who is the patron saint of charities and volunteers?
7. Before the Greater Western Sydney Giants, which was the previous team to score fewer than 50 points in an AFL grand final?
8. Name the 16-year-old environmental activist who addressed the United Nations Climate Action Summit last month.
9. Kensington Pride, Calypso and Honey Gold are all varieties of which fruit?
10. According to Forbes, which two Australians were among the world’s top-10-earning actresses from June 1, 2018 to June 1, 2019?



“Well, they’re maintaining its operational status.”

Kaylene ZakharoffThe Home Affairs Department’s immigration detention group manager explains why at least 125 staff were employed at the Christmas Island detention centre, which housed no detainees, at a cost of more than $22 million.


“It is disappointing.”

Renae Grljusich-PoolmanThe royal family enthusiast expresses her dismay at being the only person who showed up to greet Jeffrey Epstein associate Prince Andrew on his visit to Perth’s Murdoch University.


“I just feel like it’s better to do the apology and patch things up rather than let it drag on and become a bigger issue.”

Ron IsmayThe mayor of Hindmarsh Shire is genuinely contrite for describing Nationals MP Emma Kealy as “the best-looking politician in Victoria” at the opening of a skate park in Nhill.


“I don’t see them. I tried, you know? But that’s not cinema.”

Martin ScorseseThe veteran director admits he has never watched a Marvel film, though that didn’t stop him from declaring them “not cinema”.


“Perhaps Downer is always completely oblivious to international news. Perhaps he spends too much time drinking with 28-year-olds.”

Ann CoulterThe right-wing American columnist theorises why Alexander Downer should be considered an unreliable source in impeachment investigations against Donald Trump.


“It is not so much reform but restoration.”

Tony AbbottThe former prime minister asserts that reintroducing a peerage system of “knights and dames” is still very much on his political agenda.