October 10 – 16, 2020

Prime Minister Scott Morrison and Treasurer Josh Frydenberg during question time on Thursday.


Budget primes Morrison for an early election

“It does look very much like a big set-up for the election. All of the spending is for the next year…”

Treasurer Josh Frydenberg framed the 2020 budget as a plan for Australia’s recovery from the Covid-19 pandemic, but it could also open the way for an election in the second half of next year.



Hazara asylum seeker faces exile from his son

“Australia’s immigration system has tortured me for eight years. Going to Christmas Island is a slow death. In Afghanistan they put a bullet in your head, but it is better to die once than to die every day.”

Mojtaba, 29, has not been able to see his Australian wife and child since visitors were banned in detention centres. He may soon be deported back to Afghanistan without the chance to say goodbye.

Image for article: Budget 2020 does little for the vulnerable


Budget 2020 does little for the vulnerable

This year’s budget provides little support for those in greatest need, including the aged-care sector and people who are unemployed – with women over 40 bearing the heaviest burden.

Image for article: James Packer’s testimony at the Crown inquiry


James Packer’s testimony at the Crown inquiry

At this week’s NSW inquiry into Crown Resorts, former executive chairman James Packer acknowledged some ‘shameful’ behaviour in his leadership of the company, but often claimed ignorance of – and blamed others for – the casino’s alleged links to organised crime.

Image for article: Why Australia runs out of vital medicines


Why Australia runs out of vital medicines

More than 90 per cent of Australia’s medicines are imported, putting the country at risk of dangerous shortages. But while the government has announced plans to boost the sector’s manufacturing capabilities, industry experts warn that the problem runs far deeper.

Image for article: ‘I’m better,’ says Trump, but health concerns remain


‘I’m better,’ says Trump, but health concerns remain

President appears maskless on Truman balcony. Conspiracy theories rife over circumstances of his illness. Trump demands face-to-face second debate.

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Richard Denniss
After the virus: Debt warranted

“This week’s budget marks a remarkable turning point in Australia’s economic and political debate. Fears of budget deficits and public debt have been replaced by fears of pandemic and mass unemployment. And I’m not talking about a skittish public – these are the fears of Scott Morrison and Josh Frydenberg. Theirs has been a productive fear – one that’s shaken policy free from conservative tunnel vision and stripped the sheen off dogged neoliberalism, particularly for voters.”


Paul Bongiorno
Furiously digging a deeper hole in the budget

“The hole could surely be seen from Mars: a deficit of $213.7 billion this financial year and projected to fall to $66.9 billion in 2023-24, still massively in the red by previous Australian standards … The sheer size of the numbers suggests to seasoned observers that the government only half believes in the ‘hope’ the treasurer spoke of in his speech – hope that recovery is under way and that ‘Australia is up to the task’.”


Bugle’s notes off-key

Banana Benders are off to a state election at the end of this month and you’d have to think Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk is in dreadful trouble, what with daily birching from the hacks at The Bowen Hills Bugle. Yet according to the latest polling, the ALP regime is comfortably ahead – 52 per cent to 48 per cent on a two-party preferred basis. And Palaszczuk is the favoured premier over her Nasty Party rival, Deb Frecklington – 48 per cent to 22 per cent.

Letters, Cartoon & Editorial


ReadCartoon image, links to full cartoon page

Zero interest in the climate

On climate policy, the evidence is clear: ambition isn’t dictated by size, density, population or wealth. It comes down to one factor – how willing a government is to accept that rapid action is needed to avert catastrophic climate change. For nearly a decade, Australia’s government has been allergic to this fact.


No spinning Earth’s destruction

Many of us are inured to the fact that politicians and governments use “spin” – a watered-down term for misrepresenting the truth (Mike Seccombe, “What happens when a government …

Buying a seat on the plane

It was with shock that I read Karen Middleton’s article (“Millionaire visa-holders exempt from border ban”, October 3-9). Were it not for the plight of a friend who has been bumped from …

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Ted Prior.


Children’s author Ted Prior

Four years ago, children’s author Ted Prior thought he had finished with his beloved character Grug. But with a new book and a theatre adaptation celebrating its 10th anniversary, it seems that he is far from done. “I just enjoy the way young children think and the way they do things – and I think there is a bit of the young child in all of us.”

Hugo Weaving (left) and Wayne Blair in Wonnangatta.



The poetic vernacular of Angus Cerini’s Wonnangatta brings a dark comedy to its violent story.


Image for article: Piranesi

Susanna Clarke

Image for article: Vesper Flights

Helen Macdonald
Vesper Flights

Image for article: At the Edge of the Solid World

Daniel Davis Wood
At the Edge of the Solid World


Image for article: Terrine



Image for article: Stem cell treatment for damaged knees


Stem cell treatment for damaged knees

Stem cell research has achieved some promising results in preventing or delaying the onset of osteoarthritis in younger people who have damaged their knees through sport or trauma.




“They’re going to call it ‘Lodge Ladies’ and name some of their chicks after former PM’s wives who lived at The Lodge.”

Scott MorrisonThe Morrison family gets chickens. The rooster lobby has asked that the prime minister stop “politicising gender” by deliberately excluding them from the scheme.


“You lied about your fucking mother? About Covid?”

Kellyanne ConwayThe former senior adviser to Donald Trump reproaches her daughter, Claudia, who was live streaming their argument on the app TikTok. Conway has, of course, never lied, particularly about coronavirus.


“An excellent outcome for South Australia.”

Stirling GriffThe Centre Alliance senator backs the government’s controversial university reforms. The state’s universities will be classified as “regional” under the deal, with Adelaide being renamed the “Little Town of Churches”.


“Hi, perhaps you recognise me. It’s your favourite president.”

Donald TrumpThe US president shares a video on Twitter after his release from hospital for Covid-19; 51.4 per cent of people watching did not recognise him as their favourite president.


“It’s incredibly selfish of older people or neurotic people who are timid and afraid and won’t come out of their basements.”

Miranda DevineThe News Corp columnist blames the elderly and timid for the impact of Covid-19. Devine has a long history of defending young people, like the time she falsely accused Indigenous nine-year-old Quaden Bayles of faking being bullied.


“Women occupy a similar high-end platform in areas of publishing, advertising, fashion, beauty and modelling.”

Amalfi Beach Club statementThe company, which seeks to rope off a section of Bondi Beach for its members, outlines its ideal clientele. Male members, the beach club’s proposal says, will likely be “doctors, surgeons, members of the finance industry”.