Josh Frydenberg’s big-spending budget

Federal Treasurer Josh Frydenberg has handed down what is expected to be the government’s last budget before the next federal election.



Hugh White on how a conflict with China ‘would very likely become a nuclear war’

As the Morrison government attempts a policy of containment against China, it risks the real prospect of war and one of the biggest failures of statecraft in Australia’s history.


Clive Palmer’s method of attack

Clive Palmer is running a multimillion-dollar campaign against the corporate regulator. The only question is: What does he hope to achieve?


Our Watch and respectful relationships

Leaked documents show the Morrison government is actively undermining respectful relationships education and preventing expert materials from being taught.


McKinsey and the NDIA

“This is a story about how a company whose own associates call it ‘the Firm’ is slowly reshaping Australia’s welfare agencies. Those familiar with the Firm say its strategy of ‘corporate imperialism’ is deliberately subtle. Its reach is wide, powerful and, in Australia at least, gaining influence in the public service.”

While the government works to reform the disability insurance agency and restart welfare debt collections, management consultancy McKinsey has amassed significant influence.


Inquest into death of Wayne Fella Morrison

Five years after his death in custody, the inquest into how Wayne Fella Morrison died has been slowed by legal argument and a campaign to protect prison officers.

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Modi punished at polls after Covid-19 resurgence

Jacinda Ardern pledges to continue to denounce Chinese human rights abuses. German philosopher declines UAE book award. Why China’s population is shrinking.



James Boyce
Scott Morrison and Pentecostalism

“Commentators who have discounted the political significance of Morrison’s faith, because of his ambivalent commitment to narrowly defined ‘religious issues’, have been shown that the man himself does not do the same. Of course, there never can be a direct connection between the prime minister’s beliefs and government action. Public policy is always determined by a range of influences. Yet how a leader interprets the world and frames experience remains profoundly important.”


Paul Bongiorno
PM budgeting on an election

“Next Tuesday the treasurer, Josh Frydenberg, will up-end 40 years of Liberal Party ideology with a budget that will hugely increase spending and create deficits as far as the eye can see. The small government, ‘trickle down’ prescriptions championed by United States President Ronald Reagan in the 1980s, and zealously advocated by Australia’s conservatives right up until March 2020, will be consigned to history.”


Currying favour

If there’s one thing our prime minister loves at the same level that he loves Pentecostal evangelism, it’s Indian food. In fact, I might even wager Scott Morrison loves a curry more than he loves Jesus, given how much more he talks about curries. Over the years, he’s found more uses for curry than MacGyver would have, from an image softener on LinkedIn to a metaphor for multiculturalism in a speech to the armed forces. The man’s never met a pinch of garam masala that he didn’t love.

Letters, Cartoon & Editorial



War games

All prime ministers are focused to some degree on being returned to office, but for Morrison it is everything. The time between polling days is a nowhere space to him. There are no great, animating policy issues; there is just winning. It is through this blinkeredness that we might understand Morrison’s approach to China.


Seeking solutions

Tim Flannery’s timely piece (“US carbon tariff offers opportunity for Australia”, May 1-7) describes the stupidity of the Morrison government’s pretence that it can somehow withstand the …

Carbon price supported

Tim Flannery is right. A carbon price that lets industries pick emission-reduction winners is far more efficient than the Morrison government’s approach, with too many lifelines to fossil fuels. The …

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Schubert’s nightingale

To mark the Australian Chamber Orchestra’s performances of Schubert’s ‘perfect’ quintet, British poet George Szirtes explores how the work generates meaning from disruption and mortality.


Fun Home

The STC’s Australian premiere brings a sense of compassion to the musical adaptation of Alison Bechdel’s groundbreaking graphic novel Fun Home.


Australian War Memorial

The proposed redevelopment of the Australian War Memorial not only compromises Charles Bean’s original vision for a ‘simple, solemn, exquisite building’, it calls into question our processes of public governance.


James Boyce (ed.)
Inga Clendinnen: Selected Writings

Rachel Cusk
Second Place

Scott Ludlam
Full Circle: a search for the world that comes next



Pistachio and raspberry mille-feuille


Spain begins to open up

With Spain about to end its official ‘state of alarm’ over Covid-19, an Australian resident of Valencia reflects on a year of the pandemic.


Shyla Heal looks to WNBA future

Point guard Shyla Heal, who started in the WNBL at 14 and has just become a top 10 WNBA pick for Chicago Sky, is ready to step up her game.




“I’m saying to myself, ‘Wow, these people need to read my book.’ ”

George W. BushThe former United States president despairs at the state of the Republican Party. Once again, a man who was almost outwitted by a pretzel he was eating is the best thing the GOP has going.


“At the start of the meeting he made a concession that he was sorry for my feelings, but it was a qualified apology. It doesn’t really mean much.”

Brittany HigginsThe former Liberal staffer recounts her meeting with Scott Morrison. He is likely very sorry that she feels this way.


“It is sufficient to observe at this point that he was an unreliable witness whose evidence was at times incredible.”

Anna KatzmannThe judge shares her opinion of Clive Palmer’s performance in court, in a ruling over copyright infringement. Palmer was quite chuffed she thought of him as “incredible”.


“I am a very compassionate person by nature. I will never walk away from that. But compassion takes many different forms.”

Karen AndrewsThe new Home Affairs minister speaks on the possible future of the Murugappan family from Biloela, currently detained on Christmas Island. As is often observed, you can’t spell “compassionate” without also spelling “ass” – as in, “a foolish or stupid person”.


“The publicity here was so pervasive and so prejudicial ... that it amounted to a structural defect in the proceedings.”

Eric NelsonThe attorney representing Derek Chauvin complains that the officer couldn’t get a fair trial for the murder of George Floyd. And to the degree that half the world has watched the video of his client ruthlessly killing an innocent man, that’s correct.


“I didn’t do it.”

Jarryd HayneThe former rugby league star is jailed for at least three years and eight months after raping a woman in 2018. He left a taxi running outside as he committed the crime – which, for added damages, hopefully he’ll also do while in jail.