July 18 – 24, 2020

Healthcare workers waiting to test residents inside a public housing tower in Melbourne.


How the second wave broke

“While cases in a sealed hotel are manageable, Victoria’s second wave was seeded in the community early. And it spread quickly … In hindsight, by mid-June the battle to contain this new outbreak had already been lost.”

Australia almost beat the first strain of coronavirus. New research shows that later strains, which had spread through Europe and America, slipped out through hotel quarantine.


Image for article: Archives searching for missing  ‘palace letters’


Archives searching for missing  ‘palace letters’

The contentious file of  ‘palace letters’ finally released this week was revealing. It was also missing three pieces of correspondence.


Tower residents’ virus warnings unheeded

“What’s playing out in this public housing is that the systemic neglect and the systemic history of how governments and people have treated those who live in public housing … have been now amplified and exposed.”

While residents of Melbourne’s public housing towers were given no notice of an impending hard lockdown, concerns raised earlier to the DHHS and department of Housing about the threat posed by Covid-19 to those families were largely ignored.


Floodplain harvesting in NSW

“Chris Brooks, who chairs Southern Riverina Irrigators, says economic damage to southern basin communities is more than $25 billion. ‘We argue it’s a result of the unfettered, illegal water take in the north.’ ”

As the Murray–Darling Basin continues to suffer through drought, irrigators in the northern basin are harvesting hundreds of millions of dollars’ worth of water without needing a licence to do so.

Image for article: Childcare centres at financial risk


Childcare centres at financial risk

Women in the workforce will be worse off as the government ends free childcare and JobKeeper support for the sector, with experts warning that some centres will be forced to close.

Image for article: Ardern to face new rival in NZ election


Ardern to face new rival in NZ election

Judith Collins named New Zealand opposition leader. China imposes bans on two US senators in retaliation for Washington sanctions. Malaysia investigating journalists over Al Jazeera report on migrant workers. Hagia Sophia turned back into a mosque.

Australia's No.1 news podcast.



Madeline Hayman-Reber
Remaking our newsrooms

“Australia is in the midst of a realisation, long overdue. It is a process, galvanised by the Black Lives Matter movement, that has revealed how deeply ingrained what could be called “unconscious” racism is in this country. Seemingly to the surprise of much of white Australia. A fight for diversity has been reignited, with many people of colour harnessing the moment, while we have the country’s attention, to highlight issues and push for real, meaningful change.”


Paddy Manning
Circling sharks and political distancing

“The first flush of success has faded into a pandemic pallor with Covid-19 hotspots breaking out in Melbourne and Sydney. And the worst, no doubt, is yet to come. As a second wave of infections takes hold, Scott Morrison’s performance in the top job is being questioned in a way it hasn’t been since the summer bushfires. The prime minister went out of his way to be seen watching his NRL team, Cronulla, get thrashed by the Penrith Panthers last Saturday at Kogarah Oval, surrounded by assorted fans and hangers-on. At a time when community transmission is ramping up, there was the predictable and immediate censure on social media.”


Carry on up the Charteris

The buttery emollients that gushed back and forth between Jolly John Kerr and senior palace flunkey Sir Martin Charteris will be a treat for Australia’s gimcrack royalists and accompanying style mavens. In the “palace letters” there were heaps of exchanges about when to wear morning dress with decorations, what tunes to play by way of royal salutes, the extent to which subjects should curtsy, damage to official photos of Betty Battenberg and Phil the Greek after Cyclone Tracy hit Darwin, and the odd Latin bon mot.

Letters, Cartoon & Editorial


ReadCartoon image, links to full cartoon page

Sharing the pain

Scott Morrison is right. Until there is a vaccine, we will have to learn to live with this virus. The human toll of pursuing herd immunity is not one the country is willing to bear. Victoria’s second wave, meanwhile, shows how the risk posed by the rest of the world can quickly become reality. For Australia, this risk can never be entirely shut out; Scott Morrison is right when he says this. The choice then is not whether we live with the virus, but how we choose to do so. And if suppression is the only viable option, its costs must be borne equally.


Doctors’ guidance on cancer treatment

Two articles in The Saturday Paper touch on dilemmas related to cancer diagnosis that medical practitioners face every day. The first (Rick Morton, “Exclusive: Doctors ignore terminal cancer”, …

Time to build new public housing

Santilla Chingaipe’s article “Five days inside the Melbourne nine block lockdowns” (July 11-17) is a revelation on the fragility of the crisis for residents. It is also a testament …

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Winner winner (Part two)

“They were reading in the lounge when a large helicopter landed on the helipad. Phil looked up from his paper, over the rim of his reading glasses, and could just make out the figures. The man hopping down held his fedora on top of his head, battling the pressure of the blades whipping everything around them. How stupid for a man to wear a hat on a helicopter, Phil thought. His own work had seen him take a helicopter on three occasions. ‘That’s him, then,’ he said to Ellen, staring out the window. She followed Phil’s gaze and sat up abruptly. ‘Who are all those other people getting off?’ Two leggy assistants followed the man, themselves followed by five or six much shorter women, all clutching small bags, some helping others to step down off the helicopter. ‘Excuse me,’ Ellen said, raising an arm to summon a nearby staff member in a polo shirt, ‘who are these people coming onto the ship?’ ‘Oh, haven’t you heard? Mr Gross has been —’”


Image for article: A Room Made of Leaves

Kate Grenville
A Room Made of Leaves

Image for article: The Details

Tegan Bennett Daylight
The Details

Image for article: A Lonely Girl Is a Dangerous Thing

Jessie Tu
A Lonely Girl Is a Dangerous Thing


Image for article: Macadamia nut tart


Macadamia nut tart

Image for article: Power couple build their resilience


Power couple build their resilience

Faced with the uncertainty of Covid-19, pace bowler turned rugby league champion Courtney Hill and her English wife, cricket international Lauren Winfield, remain committed to being the best athletes they can be.




“I hope that, by making these records available to everybody, it will in fact improve Australia’s appreciation of its constitution and of our Australian democracy.”

David FrickerThe director-general of the National Archives of Australia celebrates the release of the “palace letters”, which the archives spent four years and $2 million trying to keep secret.


“Interesting that someone says we aren’t using it when we clearly are.”

Australian Federal PoliceEmails reveal internal discussions at the AFP about the controversial facial recognition software Clearview AI, which the law enforcement agency said it wasn’t using, even though it was.


“Blowers re-suspend small particles which remain airborne exposing those nearby to the polluted air.”

AMA QueenslandThe state body of the Australian Medical Association recommends Brisbane City Council prohibit the use of leaf blowers due to concern about exacerbating Covid-19 symptoms. Masks still only need to be considered by those in virus hotspots, apparently.


“She has a Covid-safe plan, which is being managed by an independent third party.”

Jeannette YoungQueensland’s chief health officer explains why Dannii Minogue was exempted from hotel quarantine and will instead spend 14 days at a private Gold Coast residence. We’re all in this together, as the PM would say.


“We have visited twice over the past two weeks and provided information and advice.”

Dimitri ArgeresThe acting director of compliance for Liquor & Gaming NSW justifies giving The Star casino a $5000 fine for violating social distancing codes. Star Entertainment, which runs The Star as well as Brisbane and Gold Coast casinos, had an after-tax profit last year of $224 million.


“That happened on numerous occasions.”

SAS patrol member A soldier tells the ABC that Australian Defence Force troops in Afghanistan often placed weapons on corpses and photographed them, in order to cover up unlawful killings. But of course it’s the journalist who reported on these crimes facing charges.