July 25 – 31, 2020

The head of the National Covid-19 Coordination Commission, Neville Power.


Mysterious Mr Power, architect of our recovery

“Power and most of his fellow commissioners have extensive business interests, which has created concern about potential conflicts of interest. More fundamentally though, there are questions about the purpose and value of the commission itself. ”

Neville Power is the former mining executive leading the government’s Covid-19 co-ordination commission. Questions have been raised about conflicts of interest, but very little is known about the boy from Bushy Park.



The end of charity: Sector at risk of collapse

“I think we’re going to have thousands of zombie charities that have cut their programs, cut their staff, cut their services, cut their infrastructure, [that are] just trying to hang on until they can rebuild.”

As coronavirus bites, two-thirds of volunteers have left non-profits and many organisations in the sector face becoming ‘zombie charities’.

Image for article: Covid-19 outbreaks in aged care


Covid-19 outbreaks in aged care

A third of Covid-19 deaths in Australia so far have occurred in aged-care homes. An investigation finds an underfunded and underprepared sector.


What science says about masks

“It’s an additional protection to be wearing a mask in the community, but it’s only one effect of many.”

While debate over masks has divided public and scientific opinion, experts say one thing is clear – other pandemic protocols must also be followed.

Image for article: Why JobKeeper can’t stop a bankruptcy avalanche


Why JobKeeper can’t stop a bankruptcy avalanche

With many small businesses barely clinging to life, the changes to JobKeeper may just be postponing an inevitable demise.

Image for article: EU seals relief deal for struggling south


EU seals relief deal for struggling south

European summit agrees on €1.8 trillion package to provide post-pandemic relief. Indonesia lifting Covid-19 restrictions amid health fears. Britain suspends extradition treaty with Hong Kong. UAE’s Mars probe.

Australia's No.1 news podcast.



Tabitha Lean and Debbie Kilroy
Speaking out for criminalised women

“When I came out of prison, I noticed there was a concerted censoring of my voice every single time I wanted to speak out about my experiences within the criminal punishment system. This came at me in many ways – aggressively, subtly and, at times, very publicly. Most obviously, and I dare say predictably, the system didn’t like me publicly raising its violence and brutality. Like every abusive relationship, it thrives on silence. ”


Paul Bongiorno
Economy in the deep freeze

“Treasurer Josh Frydenberg’s hands were blue as he stood behind his lectern, physically distanced from Scott Morrison in the prime minister’s courtyard on Tuesday. The pair were holding an outdoor news conference on an icy Canberra morning, and nothing the country’s two most senior politicians had to announce could thaw the wintry malaise that’s set in across much of Australia. The chilling realisation is that they, like the rest of the nation, are at the mercy of a virus that is threatening to get out of control.”


Knock on Woodside

The deep state’s spidery fingers are here, there and everywhere. Bernard Collaery would be all too familiar with their reach. As part of his defence in the secret prosecution that the Commonwealth has brought against him for allegedly revealing the bugging of Timor-Leste’s ministerial offices, his lawyers subpoenaed documents from Woodside, the oil and gas producer with a hefty stake in the Timor Sea’s Greater Sunrise gas field.

Letters, Cartoon & Editorial


ReadCartoon image, links to full cartoon page

A hostile environment

When the government tapped businessman Graeme Samuel to undertake a year-long review of the nation’s foremost environmental law, it may not have foreseen such a candid appraisal. The task set for the former Australian Competition and Consumer Commission chairman was clear: “tackle green tape and deliver greater certainty to business groups, farmers and environmental organisations”, in that order. But Samuel’s interim review, released this week, is scathing. The Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation (EPBC) Act, he found, is not fit for purpose.


Catching a break on Covid-19

Rick Morton’s “How the second wave broke” (July 18-24) references a feeling any keen surfer knows all too well when surfing waves outside their comfort zone. Without warning, the first …

Government projects are the answer

To quote your Editorial (“Sharing the pain”, July 18-24), “The economy needs stimulus, people need jobs and the private sector isn’t going to provide them.” If the …

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Anchuli Felicia King.


Theatre-maker and multidisciplinary artist Anchuli Felicia King

After a whirlwind 2019, in which three of her plays debuted around the world, Anchuli Felicia King is showing no signs of slowing down. The Thai–Australian playwright and multidisciplinary artist speaks about language, learning from other Asian women and how storytelling can make a difference. “I’m drawn towards muscular political storytelling, art that has a clear politics and an ethical framework it’s trying to impart. That feels especially vital in a world lacking humane moral leadership.”

Image for article: Hamilton



Audiences salivating over the impending arrival of Hamilton to the Sydney stage in 2021 can get an early, small-screen taste of the hit musical, courtesy of the Covid-19 disruptions and Disney.


Winner winner (Part three)

“The curtains parted to reveal the leggy assistants in their beaded corsetry and feathered headdresses, and, when the sparse audience applauded, the man in the fedora emerged. He took a bow, tipped his hat and then threw it out into the audience, and spotlights tracked it, then when they switched off the hat disappeared. A little ooh rippled through the audience and the clapping doubled. The “magician” made a big deal out of this, laughing as though he’d even surprised himself, and the show began. Phil could feel himself sweating. The man’s voice was enough to make him mad. It was so pathetic. Imagine dedicating your life to this grotesque pageantry, he thought, and the more cruel things he thought about the “magician” the better he felt, until he was barely listening to or watching the show, but instead was revelling in his own fury, his loathing and disgust letting loose in the dark. He found one of his wife’s hairs on his suit jacket and snapped it between his fingers, dropping the pieces onto the black carpet.”


Image for article: Death in Her Hands

Ottessa Moshfegh
Death in Her Hands

Image for article: A Burning

Megha Majumdar
A Burning

Image for article: The Fogging

Luke Horton
The Fogging


Image for article: Braised root vegetables with Vegemite, brown rice and radish salad


Braised root vegetables with Vegemite, brown rice and radish salad

Image for article: Scents and sensibilities


Scents and sensibilities

After realising the perfume industry was dominated by just six major players, Saskia Wilson-Brown set about creating a non-profit enterprise that would empower everyday people with the ability to learn and create. Welcome to LA’s Institute for Art and Olfaction.




“It’s been displayed by the Ku Klux Klan, by racist organisations, American Nazis have used it.”

Hal JohnstonThe former United States soldier reacts to photos taken of Australian SAS members holding up a Confederate flag while on deployment in Afghanistan. The nickname “chicken stranglers” is starting to look like the least questionable thing about the elite force.


“Si es Goya, tiene que ser bueno.”

Ivanka TrumpThe first daughter defends bean brand Goya after the backlash over its CEO’s support for the US president. Not even beans will be spared from the wrath of 2020, it seems.


“I was thinking of it in a football sense.”

Bruce McAvaneyThe AFL commentator apologises for calling sexual assault charges brought against Jordan De Goey as “a hiccup” in the Collingwood forward’s career. In the football sense, “a hiccup” is when a player is charged with sexual assault but still allowed to play and train with his team.


“Nice of Johnson to send me a birthday pressie!”

Nicola SturgeonThe Scottish first minister reacts to a visit from the perennially unpopular British prime minister that coincided with her 50th birthday. Unfortunately, there are no returns without a receipt.


“If you are prepared to help me in my next adventure I’d appreciate a short and flattering quote for an endorsements brochure.”

Tim WilsonThe Liberal MP, then human rights commissioner, uses his official commission email to seek help in his bid for the Melbourne seat of Goldstein. In his defence, Wilson did not include a link to his donations page in his out-of-office message.


“They’re very keen on being thanked and they almost need hugging – that’s before Covid, of course, we can’t hug anymore.”

Ita ButtroseThe chair of the ABC says millennials lack resilience. Luckily Gen Z hate hugs, they just want a national broadcaster that doesn’t give equal time to climate change sceptics.