November 21 – 27, 2020

Chief of the Australian Defence Force General Angus Campbell on Thursday.


How ‘prestige, status and power’ led to Australia’s war crimes

“The IGADF has recommended compensation be paid to the families of Afghan victims without waiting for criminal prosecutions. ‘It is simply the right thing to do,’ it says.”

Commanders were told about possible war crimes being committed by Australian soldiers but dismissed the warnings as ‘Taliban propaganda’.


Image for article: Big picture: Robo-debt, politics and poverty


Big picture: Robo-debt, politics and poverty

A landmark Productivity Commission report into mental illness provides a road map to reduce harm, but it chafes against deep-seated government ideology.

Image for article: The failures behind the destruction of the Juukan Gorge caves


The failures behind the destruction of the Juukan Gorge caves

As a senate inquiry investigates Rio Tinto’s destruction of the Juukan Gorge caves, Senator Pat Dodson says a royal commission into the entire Native Title Act may be necessary as the law ‘has been basically brought into disrepute by the capacity of those who are rich and powerful’.


Phishing expeditions in the Cocos Islands

“In what appear to be repeated and ongoing breaches of Australia’s Interactive Gambling Act, dozens of internet casinos and online bookmakers are operating in the islands’ webspace.”

An abundance of online gambling and phishing scams linked to an Australian territory raises questions about law enforcement online – but also about ‘digital colonisation’ and who is getting rich on the internet.

Image for article: Covid-19 and the bushfire season


Covid-19 and the bushfire season

While South Australia scrambles to contain its coronavirus outbreak, there are concerns whether the state – and the rest of the country – will be able to cope with the dual crises of the pandemic and bushfire season.

Image for article: Pro-democracy opposition quits in protest in Hong Kong


Pro-democracy opposition quits in protest in Hong Kong

Donald Trump pushes on with troop withdrawals. PNG parliament adjourned until April. Covid-19 vaccine diplomacy fears over global availability.


The politics of deploying the SAS

The decision to use the SAS on high-tempo deployments was political: it made Australia a useful ally to the US. It may have also contributed to a culture of abuse.

Image for article: The politics of deploying the SAS

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James Boyce
Colonisation and disease

“As a remarkable year nears its end, it seems a once-in-a-century opportunity to reflect on the most traumatic event in modern Australian history has been squandered. In 2020, Australians have become more conversant with the ravages of the Spanish flu and the mediaeval plague. But not even Covid-19 could induce public reflection on the pathogens that killed so many Indigenous Australians after the colonisation of this land.”


Paul Bongiorno
Robo-debt: a government-sanctioned debt sentence

“An inconvenient truth rocked the Morrison government this week when it was finally brought to some account over the long-running robo-debt scandal … Don’t imagine the architect of the scheme, the prime minister himself, doesn’t realise how big a disaster this is. Scott Morrison went to great lengths to create a diversion, knowing the robo-debt story would break this week.”


Richard Ackland
Gadfly: A sorry slate of affairs

Letters, Cartoon & Editorial


ReadCartoon image, links to full cartoon page

Genie in the subtle energy lamp

It’s not only Pete Evans. He’s just the untreated symptom of a politics that cannot deal with complexity. It is a politics without any real constituency, stretching and searching to find something that might give it power.


Getting through to Rupert

Mike Seccombe asks “How do you cure a cancer like Rupert Murdoch?” (November 14-20) The short answer is by refusing to buy, or read online, his newspapers; and refusing to watch Sky News. As a …

Former PMs had their chance

I buy your newspaper every week to support independent print media. I also understand that print media is battling to stay afloat because younger readers get their news off the internet and the advertising …

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Drill rapper Snoee Badman.


Drill rapper Snoee Badman

Snoee Badman – the first Australian to release an EP from inside a maximum-security prison – embodies a punk defiance to institutional brutality. “I have a lot of violence to write about. Jail is not good for anyone … Prison gives you a lot of hatred.”

Deborah Galanos, Hannah Waterman and Vanessa Downing (from left) in Griffin Theatre’s Wicked Sisters.


Wicked Sisters

Returning to the stage after almost two decades, Alma De Groen’s Wicked Sisters now reads like a study of the generational failures of white feminism.


Image for article: What Is To Be Done

Barry Jones
What Is To Be Done

Image for article: Collisions

Leah Jing McIntosh, Cher Tan, Adalya Nash Hussein, Hassan Abul (eds)

Image for article: The Fifth Season

Philip Salom
The Fifth Season


Image for article: Roasted green asparagus and pickled white asparagus with tarama


Roasted green asparagus and pickled white asparagus with tarama

Image for article: Gay pride and prejudice


Gay pride and prejudice

While many sporting bodies have begun actively promoting LGBTQIA+ inclusion, queer youth are still dropping out of sport at a higher rate than their straight peers and openly out male elite athletes remain a rarity.




“This should read Socialist Victorian Government spends $5.3 billion to entrench inequality.”

Jason FalinskiThe Liberal MP offers his take on the Andrews government’s announcement it will build 12,000 new units of public housing. The Coalition prefers entrenching inequality through means that end up costing only $1.2 billion in an out-of-court settlement.


“China needs us just as much as we need China, as far as trade is concerned.”

Michael McCormackThe acting prime minister offers a blindly optimistic view of Australia’s place in the world and somehow makes the country long for Scott Morrison’s return.


“He has put his medals up as collateral on a loan and will relinquish them if required.”

Kerry StokesThe Seven chairman outlines the deal behind his offer to cover former SAS soldier Ben Roberts-Smith’s legal costs. A roundabout way for Stokes to add to his Victoria Cross collection but dealer’s choice.


“The show trial of Australia’s elite Special Air Service Regiment (SAS) will mar the decades of valiant service these countless personnel have given.”

Pauline HansonThe One Nation leader responds to a four-year investigation that alleges Australian soldiers were involved in the murder of 39 Afghan civilians. Shortly, the party will launch its new slogan: “We’ve got the guts to defend war criminals.”


“We do not deny climate change, we are not deniers.”

Rupert MurdochThe News Corp tycoon addresses his son James’s departure from the company’s board. When deniers deny being deniers because they are in denial about the consequences of their denial, we truly have entered the Anthropocene.


“I think a lot of the guidelines you’re seeing are Orwellian.”

Kayleigh McEnanyThe White House press secretary derides gathering limits put in place by some US states for Thanksgiving. Not even Orwell could have dreamed up police using tear gas to disband peaceful protesters so the president could have a photo-op holding a Bible in front of a church.