December 12 – 18, 2020

NSW Energy and Environment Minister Matt Kean.


The Liberal minister forcing action on climate change

“I’ve been watching this car crash of public policy for over a decade … We need to find areas of common ground, we need to find the things that unite us if we’re going to move forward.”

In his first major interview since passing a landmark energy package, NSW Environment Minister Matt Kean outlines his philosophy for a new kind of politics.



Part one: How the China relationship collapsed

“Six years on from Xi Jinping’s speech to the Australian parliament, the bilateral relationship is now so damaged neither Australia nor China can retrieve the situation by taking actions that are simultaneously acceptable to itself and the other.”

As antagonism between Canberra and Beijing flares, tracing the history of the relationship reveals that ties began to fray long ago and tensions may get even worse.

Image for article: The impact of Australian war crimes on Afghans


The impact of Australian war crimes on Afghans

As Afghan civilians make sense of the Brereton inquiry, one family details how an Australian raid killed three of their relatives – including a 14-year-old boy.


AFP’s new power to spy on Australians

“The government response does not engage in any meaningful way with the reasoning underlying the recommendation.”

In direct contradiction to a recommendation of a national intelligence review, the government is giving the AFP sweeping new spying powers to combat cybercrime.


Funding by delegated legislation

“The committee report was one of several warnings about the erosion of accountability as parliament approached its final sitting week of 2020.”

Amid growing perceptions of corruption in Australia, a senate committee has raised concerns about the billions of dollars in funding allocated by the government without parliamentary scrutiny.


How the NDIA is devaluing disability

“The idea put forward by the NDIA that Andrew could live independently with drop-in supports puts him at huge risk of abuse, neglect and isolation. The NDIS was set up with such strong ideals, it should be better than this.”

With the NDIA appearing intent on downgrading funding for supported independent living, the lives of those relying on the scheme are being put at risk.


Australians stranded in Ethiopia

Australians are desperate to be repatriated from Ethiopia as armed conflict between the government and separatists escalates in the country’s Tigray province, cutting off access to basic supplies, transport and the internet.

Image for article: Australians stranded in Ethiopia


Britain rolls out mass Covid-19 vaccinations

Jacinda Ardern pledges to tighten gun licensing laws after Christchurch deaths. Polish women protest over plans to limit abortions. US investigating diplomats’ accounts of Havana syndrome.

Image for article: Britain rolls out mass Covid-19 vaccinations

Australia's No.1 news podcast.



Shakira Hussein
Christchurch massacre: an Australian crime

“There needs to be a moment of reckoning that the man behind the Christchurch massacre is an Australian. He was born here, and it was in this country that his hatred and racism developed at a young age. While New Zealand’s government has accepted responsibility for intelligence failings that allowed the shooter to slip past checks in the months leading up to the attack, Australia’s intelligence services missed him for many, many years. There has been no contrition.”


Paul Bongiorno
PM’s year-end review masks ongoing woes

“The prime minister was more the circuit preacher than ‘Scotty from marketing’ as he addressed the final Coalition party room meeting of the year. His stirring words of self-congratulation were tempered with a gentle reminder they all needed to stay humble. The old retort – they have plenty to be humble about – can be applied, but at the end of a year that ‘has been like no other’, Australians have survived better than many. And Morrison wouldn’t be a politician if he didn’t claim a lion’s share of the credit. ”


Flint’s tone deafness

Until he popped up on Monday night’s Media Watch, Gadfly thought Emeritus Professor David Flint must have disappeared from the mortal coil. But there he was looking as splendid as a pox doctor’s apprentice on Sky “News” telling that other old stager Alan (The Parrot) Jones that Joe Biden’s election victory was a fraud, a “self-evident” fraud.

Letters, Cartoon & Editorial


ReadCartoon image, links to full cartoon page

Mungo MacCallum (1941–2020)

What made Mungo MacCallum special, one of the things, was that for all the bewilderment and dismay he felt looking at politics he never lost his sense of clarity. If John Howard was the most effective politician of the past two decades, Mungo’s preferred description of him was the most enduring: “an unflushable turd”.


NDIS changes not needed

I thank Rick Morton for his incisive article regarding the potential changes to the National Disability Insurance Scheme assessment protocol (“Exclusive: The seven-year plot to undermine the NDIS”, …

Farhad’s story

Farhad Rahmati, an Iranian refugee with a heart problem, was brought to mainland Australia for medical treatment. Since he speaks out about the way he is shunted about from one place of confinement to another …

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Image for article: Long Live the Post Horn!

Vigdis Hjorth
Long Live the Post Horn!

Image for article: Lucky’s

Andrew Pippos

Image for article: Admit the Joyous Passion of Revolt

Elena Gomez
Admit the Joyous Passion of Revolt


Image for article: Hot-smoked ocean trout with green salad


Hot-smoked ocean trout with green salad

Image for article: Seeking a safe harbour


Seeking a safe harbour

In a year of turmoil both global and personal, carefree life on a meandering river proves the perfect balm.

Image for article: Cricket’s hope to bounce back


Cricket’s hope to bounce back

Cricket at a grassroots level was already struggling before the pandemic, but lovers of the game are confident it can rebuild against the backdrop of a Covid-safe summer.




“I really think I have said all I know over some 60 years of polemicising.”

Mungo MacCallumThe sharpest observer of Australian politics in recent memory and eminent cruciverbalist signs off, aged 78. Requiescat in pace, Mungo.


“He is so precious. This is the same shadow treasurer … who cried in Kevin Rudd’s office, Mr Speaker, we know how sensitive he is.”

Scott MorrisonThe prime minister, who went into Covid-19 quarantine with his own personal photographer, accuses Labor MP Jim Chalmers of having an outsized ego.


“In order to ensure New Zealanders are safe, the government has agreed in principle with all 44 recommendations contained in the report.”

Jacinda ArdernThe New Zealand prime minister responds to the report from the Christchurch terror attack royal commission. Australia’s official response to the killing of 51 people has remained consistent: ignore the fact that the shooter came from here.


“There has never been an occasion where the senate had ordered a senator who was not a minister to appear before a committee.”

Bridget McKenzieThe Nationals senator politely declines to appear before the senate inquiry into the sports rorts scandal, which occurred while she was Sport minister. It seems she’s taken to heart the constant advice this year about thoroughly washing one’s hands.


“When you go on this card, you basically lose your rights as well. When you go on the welfare system, you’ve lost your rights.”

Pauline HansonThe One Nation senator, no stranger to drawing a pay cheque funded by the taxpayer, throws her support behind the cashless welfare card under the apparent misapprehension that losing one’s job is a crime.


“There is an inverse relationship between leadership tensions and truth in question time.”

Christian PorterThe attorney-general, Industrial Relations minister and busiest man in Canberra accuses Labor of launching a scare campaign over the new IR reforms. As the one arguing that the reforms will lead to higher wages, Porter knows something about an inverse relationship with the truth.