August 8 – 14, 2020

Victoria’s chief health officer, Brett Sutton.


What led to Victoria’s extraordinary shutdown

“When Daniel Andrews signed a declaration for a state of disaster in Victoria at 1.43pm on Sunday, it was a part of a final salvo in a battle to control a resurgent and invisible enemy.”

The Andrews government cannot identify any legislation it needed to override, but experts say that is the point.


Image for article: Super funds transformed by Liberal ideology


Super funds transformed by Liberal ideology

The Morrison government’s superannuation changes risk turning the scheme into ‘privately funded unemployment insurance’.

Image for article: Opening the Ghislaine Maxwell files


Opening the Ghislaine Maxwell files

New files ordered released in the Ghislaine Maxwell case reveal the depth of her involvement in child sex-trafficking offences that implicate Prince Andrew, the former leader of the US senate and others.


Murray–Darling could need Reserve Bank-style regulator

“On the evidence before the ACCC, the information about these water markets is so lacking it is hard to know what is going on within them, let alone judge if they are being honestly run.”

As the ACCC hands down its interim report on the Murray–Darling water markets, one architect of the current system says a Reserve Bank-like body is needed to manage the rights.

Image for article: Could Adani drop its Qld mine and head to NSW?


Could Adani drop its Qld mine and head to NSW?

As fossil fuel prices collapse, there is growing speculation that Adani might throw in its Carmichael operation to buy BHP’s massive Mount Arthur thermal coalmine instead.

Image for article: Pandemic and inequality keys to November poll


Pandemic and inequality keys to November poll

Presidential candidates adjust convention plans due to Covid-19. US death toll passes 158,000. Democrat Joe Biden has lead in latest polls.

Australia's No.1 news podcast.



Osman Faruqi
Policing as part of the national psyche

“There are two striking aspects of Australia’s response to coronavirus: the first is that it’s being increasingly led as a police issue, and the second is that this is happening while the rest of the world works to reform and curtail police powers. As other democracies talk about abolition, we’re sending armed officers into housing blocks and calling it public health.”


Paul Bongiorno
Morrison backtracks on WA border closure

“Scott Morrison keeps misreading the mood of a nation gripped by fear. Nowhere is this more obvious than his now-abandoned legal case against state border closures – or, to be more precise, against the lockouts in the Labor-governed states of Western Australia and Queensland. The Liberal-governed states of Tasmania and South Australia escaped his censure.”


Peas in a podcast

It was quite something to tune in to the first episode of Bunter and Georgina Downer’s geopolitical podcast, where they discussed the recent AUSMIN meeting, the upcoming United States presidential election and the future of war. Father and daughter get along famously as they take us on a wide sweep through the trickiest global thickets, with memos about Condoleezza Rice’s determination to play golf, China’s dominance in the rare earth market, Joe Biden’s “flaky” interviews, the Trans-Pacific Partnership, fishing quotas in British waters and Russia’s anti-satellite rocket program.

Letters, Cartoon & Editorial


ReadCartoon image, links to full cartoon page

Bingo at the Styx

Andrew Bolt has made a career finding vulnerable people and devising new ways of punishing them. When you consider this, his views on the elderly are not surprising, just inhumane. Bolt doesn’t want the old to die, but he believes we overstate the tragedy of their deaths. “Note: 40 per cent of aged-care home residents die within nine months. The average stay is just under three years,” he writes. “So Victoria’s bans are doing huge damage to – essentially – save aged-care residents from dying a few months earlier.” Quixotically, the column is titled “How to save Victoria from the coronavirus”.


Spending, yes, but on what?

Yes, a sovereign government always spends and thus creates money. Modern monetary theory (MMT) is a version of Keynesian policies and its popularity is welcome (Mike Seccombe, “Could Frydenberg ease …

An area worth exploring

Excellent reporting by Rick Morton (“Lost function: Long-term consequences of surviving coronavirus”, August 1-7) on the multiple effects of Covid-19. It shows an impressive command of published …

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Image for article: Utopia Avenue

David Mitchell
Utopia Avenue

Image for article: How to Talk about Climate Change

Rebecca Huntley
How to Talk about Climate Change

Image for article: Why Visit America

Matthew Baker
Why Visit America


Image for article: Oyster omelette


Oyster omelette

Image for article: Top picks


Top picks

The beverage director for Andrew McConnell’s restaurants recommends her current favourite drops.




“No. I do not accept that people have died over robo-debt.”

Kathryn CampbellThe head of the Department of Social Services denies people have killed themselves while being pursued for robo-debts. Presumably some old Tax Office data has been averaged out to say they’re still alive.


“Maybe you use Zoom or whatever it is, social media, to do Schoolies like that from home.”

Tom TateThe Gold Coast mayor suggests a new look for high school graduation celebrations in 2020. Toolies will be using Google Hangouts.


“It’s impossible to reconcile. What we saw at the time was a wedding venue on Pinterest. What we saw after was a place built upon devastating tragedy.”

Ryan ReynoldsThe actor apologises for marrying Blake Lively at a former slave plantation. At least the marriage wasn’t to his first wife, Scarlett Johansson, who would have insisted on doing it as a Black character.


“Human health is not the responsibility of the ABF.”

Australian Border ForceThe agency releases a statement denying that a senior officer allowed 2700 people to disembark the Ruby Princess cruise ship. Border Force’s indifference to human health is well established.


“I want my Boyer Lectures to inject a healthy dose of optimism to Australians that our best times are still ahead of us.”

Andrew ForrestThe mining magnate announces he will give this year’s ABC Boyer Lectures. As always, the answers to the country’s problems are buried in the earth.


“They would rather let fear control the people and let the rich get richer and the poor get poorer.”

MadonnaThe singer claims a cure has been found for coronavirus but is being hidden from the public. If they’re keeping it in the same place they keep her acting talent, we may never see it.