“The money was notable for its scale – the largest individual political donation in Australian history. More than that, however, it was unusual for the fact there were no other terms: no quid pro quo, no favours asked or given, none wanted.”
Liberal insiders say Isaac Wakil was never present in high-end donor circles. So what prompted the reclusive 92-year-old to donate $4.1 million to the Liberal Party?
“Anything that has a significant effect on the Australian university sector will have a significant effect on employment and tourism.”
A taskforce that was set up to deal with the effects of the bushfire crisis on overseas student numbers is now examining the fallout from the coronavirus breakout – with repercussions predicted far beyond the university sector.
“On Monday, Australia’s director of human biosecurity issued the dryly named Biosecurity (Human Health Response Zone) (North West Point Immigration Detention Centre) Determination 2020. The legal instrument designated the detention centre on Christmas Island a ‘human health response zone’ – no one is allowed to enter the facility unless they have been sent there due to concerns about the spread of coronavirus.”
“The old tautology ‘deja vu all over again’ has become a jarring reality for the Coalition. And shattering the promised peace and stability are all the same factors that destroyed the prime ministership of Malcolm Turnbull: climate change, energy policy and competing egos. The big difference this time is that hostilities broke out among the Nationals rather than the Liberals. But the collateral damage is much the same.”
Tony Bilson, the great chef, restaurateur, raconteur, flâneur, dreamer, trendsetter and bohemian was laid to rest this week with a big Sydney sendoff. Gadfly remembers Bilson for his generosity when as an editor and publisher of a small but mighty organ your correspondent was sued for defamation. Tony leapt to the defence, saying he would provide a fundraising dinner at Kinselas to help defray eye-watering legal bills.
Letters, Cartoon & Editorial
Tied up in red tape
The recent changes to the application process for Commonwealth-funded grants are ridiculous in the extreme (Karen Middleton, “Sports grants expose broken system”, January 25-31). The 2019-20 Commonwealth …
Tilda Swinton has often been drawn to roles that explore transformation – a fascination that led her to become one of the world’s finest actresses. She speaks about her unconventional career, her love for Scotland and her upcoming trip to Australia, where her mother was born. “For me, the whole joy is working in collaboration, working in conversation … I love dreaming things up with my friends and I’ve always been lucky enough to work with people who are interested in this stuff and continue to find new people who are interested in this sort of shapeshifting.”
Through the story of a farmer who refuses to swear allegiance to Hitler, Terrence Malick’s A Hidden Life reckons with the horrors of the Nazi regime in a quiet, powerful way.
The once-white lady dipped her hands
into a faceless mass at the border
she said, I’m the one to give you a face
as if she wasn’t the one who stole it
in the first place, someone must humanise
the mass, the migrant caravan, the babies
as if people can ever be less than people,
where did that idea come from I wonder
but never mind that for now, let us return
When an Australian woman moved to a village in southern France, she joined a class to help her learn the language. But her time spent with an eclectic group of fellow students held lessons of its own.
Peter Gutwein. (Bonus point: Will Hodgman.)
Pope Paul VI.
Secret. (The Secret Garden.)
“Meritless political referrals to key law-enforcement agencies waste resources that could be allocated to the investigation of serious matters, such as homicides.”
The attorney-general joins calls for Labor to apologise to Energy Minister Angus Taylor after the AFP dropped its investigation into him. Presumably someone will apologise to Annika Smethurst, Dan Oakes and Samuel Clark any day now.
“Whatever I thought of a person, I would never say, ‘Hey, you should take their name off a building.’ ”
The grand slam winner objects to any talk of renaming her arena. She would also, of course, never say that a fellow tennis great shouldn’t have kids with her female partner.
“Our headline was in no way intended to single out Chinese people.”
The Daily Telegraph editor deflects criticism of his newspaper’s headline “China kids stay home”. A simple misunderstanding: the tabloid isn’t racist; it just hates children.
“The boil has been lanced, let’s move on.”
The Nationals MP reflects on his failed bid for the party leadership this week. He should really come up with a nicer nickname for himself.
“I tore it up.”
The Democrat is asked for her thoughts on Donald Trump’s State of the Union address. The president raved that the speech was the most torn-up SOTU in American history.
“I just want to ask them to apologise properly, that’s all.”
The Yolngu man says Sunrise hosts Samantha Armytage and David Koch should apologise in person over a discussion of the merits of the Stolen Generations. When they said it was a good thing, they meant for ratings – except they were wrong about that, too.