May 15 – 21, 2021

Treasurer Josh Frydenberg at a press conference before handing down the 2021-22 federal budget.


What’s behind Frydenberg’s debt epiphany?

“It wasn’t only the change in Frydenberg’s public language... It was the fact the treasurer had started quietly consulting people other than the usual sources of conservative advice – respected economists who... counselled him that in a world with interest rates at zero, governments need not fear debt. ”

The budget surprised many as the treasurer shrugged off long-held fears of spending and deficits, which may be the result of consultation with some unexpected advisers.



Business leaders push back against ‘fortress Australia’

“The government has jettisoned concern about debt and deficit. The forecast deficit of $161 billion this year is $53 billion better than expected and improves again to $106.6 billion next year. But deficits in the years following are bigger than forecast previously.”

As the government concedes Australia’s borders can’t reopen until mid-2022, concern is growing about damage to our reputation internationally.

Image for article: Australia’s falling student rankings


Australia’s falling student rankings

Australia’s international rankings in science, maths and reading have dropped, but while politicians claim to be funding education adequately, critics point out that the money is being directed to all the wrong places.

Image for article: Who is Amanda Stoker?


Who is Amanda Stoker?

Amanda Stoker’s speech at an anti-abortion rally last weekend has sparked fresh concerns over her appointment as assistant minister for Women.

Image for article: Takeover fight for Crown Resorts


Takeover fight for Crown Resorts

Star Entertainment Group has upped the stakes in the takeover battle for the troubled Crown Resorts, launching an unsolicited merger bid that, if successful, would create a $12 billion gambling behemoth.

Image for article: Refugee processing blitz


Refugee processing blitz

Refugees who have waited for years to have their cases for asylum heard are now being rushed through a new system that critics say erodes due process.


UN fears ‘full-scale war’ between Israel and Palestine

The worst fighting recorded in Israel and Gaza since 2014 is proving an early test for Joe Biden's presidency. Meanwhile, the UN Security Council has held emergency meetings this week to broker a de-escalation.

Image for article: UN fears ‘full-scale war’ between Israel and Palestine

Australia's No.1 news podcast.



Richard Ackland
Defamation actions by politicians

“Had Christian Porter carefully considered the sorry history of defamation actions brought by politicians against the media, he may have paused and pondered for longer. While few things are certain in life, in defamation actions all bets are off.”


Paul Bongiorno
What is Scott Morrison’s plan?

“The morning after the three-ring circus that is budget night in Canberra, Scott Morrison came close to telling the truth: that he and the treasurer are in fact flying blind. Morrison repeated in his round of dawn media interviews that he has a plan, a very big plan. But if that is meant to sound reassuring, it’s mightily hedged by an economic reality that he almost admits is out of his control.”


I’m the treasurer … Get me out of here!

Treasurer Josh Frydenberg must have been thrilled to finally provide the government with news coverage that didn’t involve anyone masturbating on a desk in Parliament House, an MP using attention deficit hyperactivity disorder to explain why he hides in bushes or Craig Kelly being Craig Kelly.

Letters, Cartoon & Editorial


ReadCartoon image, links to full cartoon page

Budget deficit

Josh Frydenberg mentioned climate change once in his budget speech. “Australia is playing its part on climate change, having met our 2020 commitments and on track to meet and beat our 2030 target,” he said, echoing the prime minister’s tired slogan. But the treasurer offered nothing to support this statement.


Rudd on climate change

Your May 1-7 editorial (“Hint and miss for climate targets”) reprised the utterly false premise that, during my leadership, I framed climate change principally as a moral challenge rather than a practical …

Shouting down the war talk

Hugh White on China (“It would probably be the biggest war since 1945 ...”, May 8-14) is a harrowing read. What does the future for Australia look like if Scott Morrison and Peter Dutton continue …

Read More


Australian filmmaker and video artist Sam Smith.


Video artist Sam Smith

When Australian video artist Sam Smith forensically dismantled his camera, the results were unexpected. A new survey of his unique brand of geographical cinema captures the fallout.

Image for article: She Walks in Beauty


She Walks in Beauty

Marianne Faithfull’s meditative new album, She Walks in Beauty, reflects her lifelong love of the Romantic poets, although it elides their more radical edges.

Image for article: The Sons of Sam: A Descent into Darkness


The Sons of Sam: A Descent into Darkness

True crime series such as The Sons of Sam: A Descent into Darkness feed our appetites for fear, while shielding us from the crimes of which we should really be afraid.


Image for article: No One Is Talking About This

Patricia Lockwood
No One Is Talking About This

Image for article: Homecoming

Elfie Shiosaki

Image for article: Night Blue

Angela O’Keeffe
Night Blue


Image for article: Pot-au-feu/ bollito misto


Pot-au-feu/ bollito misto

Image for article: The burden of health anxiety


The burden of health anxiety

Health anxiety – or hypochondria, as it was once known – has become even more prevalent because of the coronavirus pandemic.

Image for article: Surfer and environmentalist Pacha Light


Surfer and environmentalist Pacha Light

Ecuadorian–Australian surfer Pacha Light was poised for a promising career on the professional circuit. Instead, because of her passion for the environment, she chose to step away from corporate sponsorship.




“Attending last night’s budget was the most boring thing he’s ever done.”

Josh FrydenbergThe treasurer recounts his four-year-old son Blake’s experience of watching the budget speech and displays a striking level of self-awareness about his oratory skills.


“We want to continue to narrow the gender pay gap.”

Sussan LeyThe minister for the Environment, representing the minister for Women, commits to doing slightly more to end pay inequality than the Morrison government is doing to address the looming threat of catastrophic climate change.


“People will be able to simply select a vaccination site near them, follow simple directions to redeem their ride ...”

Joe BidenThe United States president partners with ride-sharing services to ensure as many Americans as possible are vaccinated by July 4. Meanwhile, Australia pushes ahead with its celebrities, politicians and Olympians first strategy.


“One country, two systems.”

Scott MorrisonThe prime minister appears to attribute Australia’s Hong Kong policy to Taiwan. It’s only the second time he’s made this mistake in two weeks, proof he’s informed enough to lead Australia through this period of high regional tension.


“They come in not knowing the difference between a chardonnay and sauvignon blanc.”

Jacqui PoulierThe restaurant owner bemoans the skills of young workers applying for restaurant jobs as Australia’s border remains closed. If only they could tell the difference between a natural wine and a slightly off Yakult.


“I would argue it is ignorance and alarmism.”

Alan JonesThe right-wing commentator offers puzzling support for Australians stranded in India by underplaying the seriousness of the outbreak. He quickly returned to form, arguing “there is no racism involved” in the decision to ban returns.