February 22 – 28, 2020

Prime Minister Scott Morrison.


Government spends ‘unlawful’ billions

“The way the system is set up is that the Commonwealth knows there is pretty much no one with an interest who is going to challenge this.”

Over the past year, the government has allocated nearly $5 billion through measures hidden from public view, bypassing the senate. Experts now warn this may be illegal.



COVID-19: Racism, economics and the aftermath

“Some 45 per cent of complaints accepted by the Human Rights Commission since the start of this month involved discriminatory treatment of Chinese people in relation to coronavirus.”

While Chinese-owned businesses struggle through a downturn, questions remain about whether Australia’s coronavirus response stoked racist fear.

Image for article: The impact of Holden’s demise


The impact of Holden’s demise

As General Motors announces the end of the Holden brand, many of the company’s former auto workers remain in precarious employment.

Image for article: Aged-care assessment reform may be ‘accounting trick’


Aged-care assessment reform may be ‘accounting trick’

Experts in the aged-care sector warn that the government may reduce waiting lists for home-care programs by restricting their eligibility requirements, leaving thousands of older Australians in need.

Image for article: Flood dangers and the Warragamba Dam project


Flood dangers and the Warragamba Dam project

Recent downpours in Sydney have stirred up debate about a $690 million plan to mitigate flood risk by raising the wall of the Warragamba Dam, a project that could threaten Aboriginal heritage sites and endangered species.

Image for article: US, Taliban look to Afghan peace deal


US, Taliban look to Afghan peace deal

United States and Taliban move towards peace deal. Papua New Guinea inquiry into Horizon Oil payment. Xi Jinping defends his response to COVID-19 outbreak. Assad regime launches an assault on Idlib.

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Luke Macaronas
St Kevin’s College, abuse and the language of pain

“An ugly wound has been opened at the heart of St Kevin’s College this week, after revelations in a Four Corners report about the school’s failures to respond to complaints of a culture of secrecy, toxic masculinity and sexual abuse. As the dust settles, many in the school community, including me, are coming to terms with the extent of reform that is needed. This uncertainty comes at a crucial moment, not only for the school, but also for the country as a whole, to confront a deep-seated culture of secrecy and shame.”


Paul Bongiorno
Scott Morrison’s slow burn

“Scott Morrison must regret that he did not use the enormous authority of his shock election win last year to impose a credible climate and energy policy on his fractious Coalition government. This failure of leadership has now painted him into a very tight corner. And the ground rules he’s set out will make it virtually impossible for him to do anything.”


Very pressing matters

Gadfly found himself on a V/Line train speeding from Melbourne to Bendigo for an appointment organised by the regional community legal centres to appear at a huge press freedom jamboree at the town hall. And what a turnout – with 300 of the region’s finest packing the gilded room to get insights from your correspondent, Australian Federal Police raid victim Annika Smethurst and journalism academic Matthew Ricketson – all under the baton of the excellent Jon Faine, hitherto a leading voice on ABC wireless.

Letters, Cartoon & Editorial


ReadCartoon image, links to full cartoon page

Telling the true story

Journalism has precious few tools to express uncertainty, or unknowing. There is little room for nuance in a headline, but the need for brevity doesn’t warrant absolution. Too often we grasp for blunt instruments and hope that readers will fill in the blanks. It’s a failure felt most keenly in the reporting of family violence.


Report locked in cabinet

It seems the official sports rort report by the Australian National Audit Office was 10 months in the making and was less than impressed by the politicisation of the sports fund distribution (Karen Middleton, …

A shameful list

Congratulations to The Saturday Paper for highlighting the ongoing plight of refugees and the procrastination of the government in settling their claims for past trauma (Rick Morton, “Government stalling on …

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Cate Blanchett in the TV series Stateless.


Actress Cate Blanchett

As a co-creator of the new ABC series Stateless, Cate Blanchett hopes to challenge Australian attitudes towards asylum seekers, particularly as the climate crisis threatens to displace many more people. “The rhetoric of protection and the language has separated Australians from their humanity, and encouraged the public through a lack of transparency in information to tolerate or ignore human rights abuses that are going on offshore.”

Image for article: Torch the Place


Torch the Place

Despite some shaky moments, Benjamin Law’s Torch the Place is filled with humour and heart, and breathes new life into the Australian tradition of naturalism.


Image for article: Actress

Anne Enright

Image for article: The Inland Sea

Madeleine Watts
The Inland Sea

Image for article: Fauna

Donna Mazza


Image for article: Whitebait fritters


Whitebait fritters

Image for article: Vienna’s Museum of Art Fakes


Vienna’s Museum of Art Fakes

A Viennese museum devoted to forgeries leads the author to question the very nature of art appreciation.

Image for article: Inside the AIS


Inside the AIS

The Australian Institute of Sport has long produced our Olympic hopefuls. Is the model still fit for purpose, or is an overhaul overdue?




“He just hit on him. There was no sex. How terrible was giving a character reference, really?”

Andrew BoltThe News Corp columnist defends a school principal for giving a character reference to a teacher convicted of grooming a child. The principal later resigned; Andrew Bolt did not.


“I’m asking you to trust me.”

Jacqui LambieThe independent senator scolds the Coalition for not winning the trust of Australians, and asks Australians to trust her over the secret deal she did with them on medevac.


“We are working at pace with a team of external experts to finalise our review.”

Steve CainThe Coles chief executive responds to news the company underpaid store managers by about $20 million. Most overtime and some penalty rates were run through the checkout as brown onions.


“Over 10 years she’s responsible for the Australian public losing two million kilos in weight. Now, that’s powerful.”

Tony Bellanto

The barrister representing fitness guru Michelle Bridges argues for leniency after she was caught drink-driving with her five-year-old son in the car. In this instance The No Excuses Cookbook included a glass of wine with dinner, four vodka sodas, and a mouthwash five minutes before she was pulled over.


“I’m not asking for martyrdom. I knew – I think I knew – what I was getting into.”

John BoltonThe former United States national security advisor explains why he joined the US president’s inner circle. It’s possible he doesn’t know what martyrdom involves – or worse, he does.


“It’s one thing to punch a guy. It’s another thing to take his stuff and hit him with it.”

Matt EberhartThe busker describes being hit in the face with his own ukulele while performing in Adelaide. He was dressed as a pencil at the time, if that’s relevant.