January 25 – 31, 2020


A home in the bushfire-ravaged town of Cobargo, New South Wales, on January 3.


Image for article: Doubts about tree-planting programs
Image for article: Close ties between government and military industries
Image for article: Coronavirus fears spread across globe



A Scott in the dark

It’s not been an easy time for Scotty from Marketing. He is supposed to be a PR genius, yet the art of public relations suddenly got too complicated for him. PR is the place people end up when all other professional options fail, and now Schmo has failed at the failures’ last resort.

Letters, Cartoon & Editorial


ReadCartoon image, links to full cartoon page

Empathy deficit

What Scott Morrison lacks most is not intelligence or good advice: it’s empathy. He cannot feel what the country is feeling, and so he plays cricket and takes his kids to Hawaii. This is what happens when politics divorces itself from policy, when you campaign to win rather than to govern. Without a real agenda, you are left with personality, and it is not enough. The country’s anxieties seem alien to Morrison, because they are not his own. He knows he will be okay. He cannot grasp the scale of the calamity we face, because he does not feel it or feel for the people it will most affect.


Comcar or caring for the Commonwealth?

Firestorms in Australia have severely stressed our Rural Fire Services and volunteers. Rick Morton (“The long, hot summer”, December 21, 2019–January 24, 2020) reported: “Fire …

A reader’s feast

What an excellent edition of The Saturday Paper. Plenty of holiday reading and the Summer Quiz. Gadfly is always hilarious and I loved his “Prefects and prizes” with Andrew Bolt getting an award …

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Alice Pung.


Writer Alice Pung

More than a decade after her best-selling debut, Unpolished Gem, Alice Pung remains one of Australia’s most beloved authors for her gentle yet forthright prose. She speaks about racism, role models and motherhood. “As a writer, I don’t know if you can really see from another person’s perspective … It is important to try and put yourself in someone else’s shoes, but I’ve realised in the last five years you can never really do it.”

Image for article: Vernon Ah Kee’s The Island

Visual Art

Vernon Ah Kee’s The Island

The power of Vernon Ah Kee’s latest show, The Island, lies in its ability to spotlight the experiences of First Nations people and refugees as the antithesis of privileged white Australian culture.


Image for article: The Drover’s Wife

Leah Purcell
The Drover’s Wife

Image for article: In the Clearing

J. P. Pomare
In the Clearing

Image for article: Such a Fun Age

Kiley Reid
Such a Fun Age


Image for article: Blackberry and beetroot salad


Blackberry and beetroot salad

Image for article: Tourism in Damascus, Syria


Tourism in Damascus, Syria

It may seem like an unlikely holiday destination, but as peace returns to Syria, the struggling nation hopes tourists will too.

Image for article: Clout of Africa


Clout of Africa

Where once Australia’s soccer success rode on the shoulders of European migrants, a new generation of African Australians has started to kick serious goals.




“I’d love to see Peter Dutton in there as the leader of this nation.”

Pauline HansonThe One Nation leader announces her hopes for 2020. She said “there could be a leadership challenge by the end of the year” – but then, she’s also predicted her own death at least once.


“Nobody likes him, nobody wants to work with him, he got nothing done.”

Hillary ClintonThe former presidential candidate gives her assessment of fellow Democrat Bernie Sanders. Having said all that, there’s no way he would know how to run his emails off a different server.


“Given the lack of any conclusive view offered by the auditor-general, the prime minister has sought further consideration of the issue, which I am attending to.”

Christian PorterThe attorney-general announces he will investigate the government’s sports grants program, despite his own electorate receiving nearly $1 million in funding.


“One of the reasons I did what I did when I wrote The Hand that Signed the Paper and pretended to be Helen Demidenko was to expose this claim for the hooey it is.”

Helen DaleThe author joins criticism of Bruce Pascoe and “positive discrimination”. Here we were thinking she did it to win a Miles Franklin Award.


“I worked with him very closely, I’ve known him for 20 years, at least, and I can’t explain his conduct.”

Malcolm TurnbullThe former prime minister criticises Scott Morrison’s response to the bushfires. One way to explain it is that he doesn’t care about climate change.


“The science has so far to go.”

Andrew ForrestThe mining magnate rejects climate science, unless the climate science is conducted by his brand new bushfire charity, which requires public donations.