November 7 – 13, 2020

US President Donald Trump on election night.


One small hand clinging to everything except reality

“We have never witnessed such an ugly American election campaign, in such desperate circumstances. And at campaign’s end, we saw an equally ugly outcome.”

The tightness of the US election tells us two things: Trump’s first win was not an aberration; and the plutocratic electoral system, with its roots in slavery, still grossly distorts outcomes.



Millions more for sports grants hidden in budget

“When you’re talking about the allocation of public money, there should be some sort of criteria in place, published and followed. These are not discretionary payments. They’re actually supposed to be awarded for a purpose.”

Following criticism over its ‘sports rorts’ program, the government is directing millions of dollars to Coalition target electorates under schemes without merit-based requirements.

Image for article: Policing family violence in NSW


Policing family violence in NSW

As the NSW parliament debates amendments to family violence legislation, new research shows that some victim-survivors are being charged as offenders instead, while children are not being protected by apprehended violence orders.

Image for article: Welcome to Covid-normal


Welcome to Covid-normal

Australia’s suppression of coronavirus is in stark contrast to most of the world. In the absence of a vaccine, the country now enters a period of  ‘Covid-normal’ defined by containment measures.


The reality of life as a foreign student

“Employers know that nobody else is going to give international students a chance. There has been no extra support during the pandemic. We are not eligible for JobKeeper or JobSeeker. ”

The coronavirus pandemic has only heightened the precarious situation in which international students often find themselves, with many forced to take on jobs that pay less than the minimum wage.

Image for article: Election does nothing to unite riven state of America


Election does nothing to unite riven state of America

New cabinet reflects New Zealand’s diversity. Daesh linked to Kabul University attack. England goes back into lockdown as Covid-19 toll rises.

Australia's No.1 news podcast.



Yanis Varoufakis
After the virus: How to design a post-capitalist world

“When even the bankers of the ultra-rich, along with the bailiffs working diligently on their behalf, are panicking about excessive inequality, it becomes hard to say our world is morally defensible. UBS recently reported that, between April and July 2020, as the pandemic’s first wave was surging, the collective stash of the world’s billionaires grew by 28 per cent and many millionaires joined their ranks. Surely the Swiss megabank is happy to see them laughing all the way to its doors, but it is also genuinely worried.”


Paul Bongiorno
Palaszczuk’s one day, and also the next

“There’s no doubt the prime minister had picked up on the enormous hurt suffered by businesses during the pandemic, particularly in the tourism sector, but what he had missed was people’s concerns about their health. To that end, older voters gave big swings in hitherto safe non-Labor seats on the Sunshine and Gold coasts. ”


Judging democracy

It’s always better to let Republican lawyers and judges decide election outcomes. It’s so much cleaner and less fussy than trusting an untrustworthy electorate. Surely the Supreme Court of the United States, stacked with “illegitimate judges” and sex pests, will show us the way. Why should a plurality of voters decide the outcome when there are all sorts of fixes and filters to be applied?

Letters, Cartoon & Editorial


ReadCartoon image, links to full cartoon page

Often a truer word spoken

Democracy is fragile, just as truth is. Donald Trump has no respect for either. He has set about dismantling both. Scott Morrison surely must value at least the former, although he utterly failed to defend it this week.


Value of compulsory voting

Rick Morton’s article “Trump 2020: This is how you steal an election” (October 31–November 6) is a powerful vindication of Australian electoral law. Because casting a ballot is mandatory …

No longer looking to America

Rick Morton’s piece on the United States presidential election revealed the ugly new normal of “free and fair” elections in America. In response, it is tempting to join the chorus …

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Vika (left) and Linda Bull.


Singers Vika and Linda Bull

The Bull sisters took their gospel-singing Tongan background and perfectly blended harmonies and carved a decades-long career as both quintessential musician’s musicians and popular favourites. “I like the challenge of creating something out of nothing,” says younger sister Linda. “And then what happens at the end of that process is you get a song that you can sing for years.”

Installation view of Jack Stahel’s Unified theory of itself (2020) in Real Worlds: Dobell Australian Drawing Biennial 2020.

Visual Art

The Dobell Drawing Biennial

The eight artists in this year’s Dobell Australian Drawing Biennial unleash their imaginations in a transporting exhibition.


Image for article: Catch Me If I Fall

Barry Jonsberg
Catch Me If I Fall

Image for article: Red Pill

Hari Kunzru
Red Pill

Image for article: The Perfect World of Miwako Sumida

Clarissa Goenawan
The Perfect World of Miwako Sumida


Image for article: Confit mushroom salad


Confit mushroom salad

Image for article: Loneliness in the midst of Covid-19


Loneliness in the midst of Covid-19

Social isolation during the coronavirus pandemic has shone a light on loneliness around the world as more and more people feel comfortable voicing their struggles.




“What are you willing to change to help reduce emissions?”

ShellThe company, which knew in 1988 that burning fossil fuels was leading to higher carbon dioxide emissions in the atmosphere but didn’t act for more than three decades, polls its Twitter followers on what they are doing to address climate change. “Divesting from Shell” was not an option.


“They should absolutely hang their heads in shame.”

Anthony Chisholm The Queensland Labor senator hits out at the youth curfew – proposed by Liberal National Party leader Deb Frecklington for Townsville and Cairns – after Labor had safely won the election.


“We want the law to be used in a proper manner. So we’ll be going to the US Supreme Court. We want all voting to stop.”

Donald TrumpThe Republican incumbent declares victory long before any result is announced. While some have expressed concerns about Trump’s age, he has proved himself willing to undermine the democratic process with the vigour of a 40-year-old first-term senator.

Law and order

“The feeling among our membership is that this is another example of ‘operational creep’ and dilutes the role and importance of AFP officers.”

Australian Federal PoliceThe AFP criticises as encroachment the decision to secretly give 22 Border Force officers federal police powers. They aren’t going to be happy when they find out Victoria lets protective service officers carry a gun after just 12 weeks of training.


“You’ve just got to get on with things. Businesses have got to go on as always. We’ve just gotta be careful.”

Gai WaterhouseThe horse trainer offered her professional opinion on Victoria’s lockdown measures ahead of the Melbourne Cup. If she’s looking for a career change, real estate sales might prove a better fit than epidemiology.


“Copyright law does not allow the ownership of generic concepts like warmth, kindness, empathy, or respect …”

Nicolas Jampol

The Netflix attorney responds to a claim from the estate of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, which argues the traits exhibited by Sherlock Holmes in the film Enola Holmes constitute a violation of copyright. They certainly don’t constitute an interesting character.