April 4 – 10, 2020

Treasurer Josh Frydenberg and Prime Minister Scott Morrison at Parliament House on Monday.


Treasury’s plan for a new economy

“Alongside those rapidly devising solutions to the immediate threat, a group has begun working on a longer-term plan to make the island continent more self-reliant in times of crisis.”

As Scott Morrison unveils the largest spending measures in the country’s history, officials inside Treasury are drafting plans for an entirely new economy.



Covid-19 lockdown and police powers

“We’ve now had a massive expansion in the restrictions and there’s no evidence that the police have been trained adequately, or at all, on the details in the public health order.”

The federal government has left the enforcement of coronavirus laws to the states, creating great confusion and uncertainty. One federal MP is even advising constituents on how to get around them.

Image for article: NBN under pressure


NBN under pressure

With Covid-19 making telehealth and working from home a necessity, the importance of the NBN – as well as its current inadequacies – has never been clearer.


New fears for asylum seekers in PNG and Nauru

“The Health minister of Papua New Guinea has been cautioned of ‘possible deaths and a huge national embarrassment’ if his country does not immediately transfer refugees to the Australian mainland.”

In the wake of Covid-19, the US refugee resettlement program has been suspended and advocates have serious fears for those stuck in offshore detention in Papua New Guinea and Nauru.

Image for article: Family violence increasing during Covid-19 lockdown


Family violence increasing during Covid-19 lockdown

With the nation in near lockdown due to the coronavirus outbreak, family violence is on the rise, with many victims now unable to access the help and services they need.

Image for article: Poor flee cities as India locks down


Poor flee cities as India locks down

Poor Indian workers flee cities in lockdown. Widodo resists calls for large-scale lockdown. Singapore high court upholds anti-gay law. Jair Bolsonaro urges Brazilian businesses to reopen.

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Barry Jones
We need more democracy, not less

“The coronavirus pandemic has shown that profound social change is possible. It has caused a dramatic transformation in the way major problems are addressed, not only by government, but also in the ways we live, work, travel, purchase, entertain ourselves and interact with others. Long-ignored questions have become suddenly vital.”


Paul Bongiorno
Coalition’s seismic economic shift

“The earth moved on Monday, when the coronavirus pandemic opened up a wide chasm between Australia’s governing Coalition and its political substructure. Don’t take my word for it, take the prime minister’s: ‘We are living in unprecedented times with the twin battles that we face and that we fight against the virus and against the economic ruin that it can threaten. This calls for unprecedented action.’ In one fell swoop the commitment to small government and privatisation, to the eradication of debt and deficit as the measure of fiscal rectitude and efficiency, tumbled into the abyss.”


Message palaver

Where’s Siiiiimon Reynolds when you need him? You’ll remember Siiiiimon as the adman who created the Grim Reaper advertisement in 1987, during the AIDS epidemic. It was a controversial yet highly effective message that drove home HIV awareness. Today the message about coronavirus could be coming into people’s mobile phones, daily, three times a day, whatever it takes.

Letters, Cartoon & Editorial


ReadCartoon image, links to full cartoon page

Taken liberties

At this point, it is fair to say Australia’s public health response to coronavirus trailed the developed world’s and our police response exceeded it. In many instances this week, one has been mistaken for the other. The public health measures are not in question – but little evidence has been given to show that special powers of enforcement are necessary.


The search for immunity

Rick Morton’s “Fact-checking Covid-19” (March 21-27) was an excellent gathering of information. I think a little expansion, though, may be worthwhile. “Can you test retrospectively to …

Why no lockdown?

“Covid-19: Next few days will dictate outcome” (Karen Middleton, March 28–April 3) is a headline to focus the mind. We read that 22 epidemiologists have urged the government to lock down now. …

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Author Ronnie Scott.


Ronnie Scott on the ties that bind

In his debut novel, The Adversary, Ronnie Scott explores the intense friendships and social rituals of young gay men. Here, he talks about trying to read the unspoken intentions of others, and the unintended consequences of our everyday behaviour. “Of course, it makes sense that people would want to decode others,” Scott says. “Hitching your fate to another person or letting someone into a really private part of your life … is an act of trust.”

Image for article: Virtual galleries

Visual Art

Virtual galleries

The shutdowns in the wake of the escalating Covid-19 crisis have forced art establishments to move fast in creating new and innovative ways to keep galleries relevant when their doors are closed to the public.


Image for article: The Animals in That Country

Laura Jean McKay
The Animals in That Country

Image for article: Thinking Again

Jan Morris
Thinking Again

Image for article: Three Brothers

Yan Lianke
Three Brothers


Image for article: Coconut sticky rice with grilled mango


Coconut sticky rice with grilled mango

Image for article: Life on the inside in Valencia, Spain


Life on the inside in Valencia, Spain

For the author, life in Valencia was oranges and sunshine. Now confined to their apartment, he and his wife are developing new routines and looking for glimmers of hope amid the darkness.

Image for article: Covid-19 and regional clubs


Covid-19 and regional clubs

Covid-19 is threatening the very fabric of regional communities as local sports clubs are forced to shut their doors and are left trying to puzzle out a way to survive the crisis.




“How does anyone trust the outright conspiracy theorists?”

Sean HannityThe Fox News anchor, who declared Covid-19 a “deep state” plot before insisting people who vape were immune to its effects, shares his disbelief at the misinformation being spread about the pandemic.


“You have a traffic jam of people queueing up – we shouldn’t be having contact with anyone – it’s just ridiculous.”

Shane PattonThe Victoria Police deputy commissioner explains why police were called to a Geelong brothel on Wednesday. The owner reportedly told officers he wasn’t aware of new social distancing laws.


“Jigsaw sales are soaring, I understand.”

Scott MorrisonThe prime minister reports back on his boldest attempt yet to keep the economy afloat during the pandemic: persuading parents their children will quietly enjoy doing puzzles at home for the next six months.


“It upholds EU values, rule of law, press freedom.”

Zoltán KovácsThe Hungarian government spokesman responds to criticism of new laws that will allow President Viktor Orbán to rule by decree indefinitely and jail anyone he deems to be spreading false information about the pandemic.


“I have some electronic equipment but really no experience or expertise in building circuits or things.”

Daniel Reardon The Melbourne astrophysicist lays out his qualifications for inventing a necklace that warns its wearer when they are touching their face, a project that landed him in hospital with four magnets stuck up his nose.


“The old system was drafted for a pre-pandemic time.”

Dan TehanThe Education minister explains what prompted the government’s decision to introduce free childcare for working parents. Presumably, before Covid-19, people didn’t have kids and jobs.