June 12 – 18, 2021

Tharnicaa and Priya Murugappan in Perth Children’s Hospital.


Sick, trapped, scared: Priya speaks from Perth hospital

“Priya Murugappan holds her daughter Tharnicaa in her arms. This weekend, the girl will turn four years old – she has spent, by this point, most of her life detained by the Australian government. When we speak via video call, Priya and Tharnicaa are under 24-hour guard at Perth Children’s Hospital.”

As her daughter battles sepsis, Priya Murugappan talks to The Saturday Paper about the four-year-old’s dramatic health decline while held in immigration detention.


Image for article: State leaders seize control of  Covid-19 vaccine rollout


State leaders seize control of Covid-19 vaccine rollout

Frustrated with the federal government’s beleaguered vaccination plan, the states and territories have stepped in. But experts warn the race to vaccinate the nation is becoming a ‘free-for-all’.

Image for article: The QAnon conspiracy


The QAnon conspiracy

An American conspiracy theory about a Satanic child sexual abuse ring has gained a foothold in Australia. Tim Stewart is one of the believers, and also a long-time friend of Prime Minister Scott Morrison.

Image for article: Conciliation on Murray–Darling


Conciliation on Murray–Darling

Water policy in the Murray–Darling basin has failed farmers and the environment. Will a new conciliatory conference and a promised reset force necessary change before it’s too late?

Image for article: Is Medicare under attack?


Is Medicare under attack?

Looming changes to Medicare rebates have brought howls of protest and the potential for another ‘Mediscare’ campaign by Labor. But, experts say, the real problem is the rise of private health and the slow drift to a US-style system.

Image for article: Delays in vaccinating prisoners


Delays in vaccinating prisoners

The rollout of Covid-19 vaccines to Australian prisons has been delayed despite evidence from around the world that the virus can be a disaster for incarcerated people.


Hundreds arrested in FBI, AFP sting

The Anom encrypted messaging app allowed police to monitor gangs around the world. PNG’s casino plan faces opposition from welfare groups. Nigeria bans Twitter after the president’s account is temporarily suspended. 

Image for article: Hundreds arrested in FBI, AFP sting

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Richard Ackland
Bernard Collaery and Witness K

“In Franz Kafka’s book The Trial the accused, Josef K, manages to arouse the court’s anger by loudly complaining about the absurdity of the proceedings and the accusation itself, if he could only understand it. The book is alternatively macabre and comical – much like the Commonwealth’s case against our own K, Witness K, and his former lawyer, Bernard Collaery. ”


Paul Bongiorno
The human toll of border protection

“This weekend, Scott Morrison would be hoping pictures of him rubbing shoulders with United States President Joe Biden and the world’s major democratic leaders at the G7 summit in Britain would speak volumes about his importance and worth to Australian voters. But he will be vying for screen time with the heart-wrenching pictures of two distressed children kissing before they are separated so that the younger of them might be evacuated to mainland Australia, an emergency caused by a failure of medical treatment. ”


Paterson Twitters on

Electing a political representative is neither a power lightly given nor one that should be casually accepted. Yet too often the personal indulgences of politicians are overlooked. A combination of apathy and lethargy seemingly dictates our lack of response to such leadership failures. As such, it is understandable so few politicians even bother pretending to care for the needs of their electorate. Every now and then though, a politician remembers their duty. Driven by a sense of purpose, or perhaps a deep-seated respect for public office, they stand up and make the moral choice: they trawl through the tweets of ABC journalists to see what they’ve liked or retweeted.

Letters, Cartoon & Editorial


ReadCartoon image, links to full cartoon page

Inward bound

Some have tried to suggest Scott Morrison has turned away from the fearful “negative globalism” mindset that shaped his foreign policy while Donald Trump was in office. But the Australian prime minister arrives in Britain for this weekend’s G7 meeting very much a man whose first instinct remains to turn inward in a world that is reopening.


Failing Afghanistan

The Morrison government is sliding out of Afghanistan with its tail between its legs (Karen Middleton, “Exclusive: US warned Australia on Kabul closure”, June 5-11). In so doing it is leaving Afghan …

Unsafe practices

The Coalition government, which seems incapable of swift movement on domestic crises, managed to make a fast decision when it came to deserting those Afghans who worked for them in the Afghanistan war (Editorial, …

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A handwritten score by Gustav Mahler.

The Influence

Alexander Briger

Alexander Briger AO, an Australian and international star of classical music, discusses the influence of Mahler’s Fourth Symphony on his career.


Old Orphan Creek

“Up here, the cold permeates. It presses against you and breathes itself back in. You like the way it stings your fingers, how every inch of your body is forced to feel. Arterial, the roads pulse you along, each town you pass fleeting and unacknowledged. You think that every place must have a road named Station Street. You cross Old Orphan Creek. The air is thinner than you’re used to. It’s evening when you pull in. Your headlights cut through the mist, tyres grinding the gravel. You sit in the car, unmoving, as it ticks and cools around you. You don’t know for how long.”


Image for article: Empire of Pain: The Secret History of the Sackler Dynasty

Patrick Radden Keefe
Empire of Pain: The Secret History of the Sackler Dynasty

Image for article: One Hundred Days

Alice Pung
One Hundred Days

Image for article: Ten Skies

Erika Balsom
Ten Skies


Image for article: Chou farci (stuffed cabbage)


Chou farci (stuffed cabbage)

Image for article: Career pivots


Career pivots

The pandemic is causing people at every stage of their career to evaluate past choices. For some this means a radical and difficult change, for others it’s a new adventure.

Image for article: Success at last for Melbourne City


Success at last for Melbourne City

When it comes to cash, City Football Group has plenty to kick around. Now the owner of Melbourne City may, finally, be able to add the A-League’s biggest title to its collection.




“I’m uncomfortable with the situation.”

Justice Robert BromwichThe judge responds to the news Ben Roberts-Smith, the former soldier who’s suing Nine for defamation over allegations he committed war crimes in Afghanistan, was once reportedly in a relationship with one of his lawyers. One of the two accusations is clearly preferable.


“Nobody’s got footage of the stairs. Nobody’s got really any idea where it happened ...”

Louise StaleyVictoria’s shadow treasurer demands Premier Daniel Andrews answer 12 questions about the circumstances of his severe back injury. In fairness, this list is the closest the Victorian Liberals have been to a policy platform in a very long time.


“We are not proposing construction of an international space station.”

Annastacia PalaszczukThe Queensland premier says the federal government should fund a purpose-built quarantine facility near Toowoomba, more than 500 days after Covid-19 first arrived in Australia. Palaszczuk said it would be a basic structure, somewhat like the Maroons’ defence in State of Origin I.


“The most dangerous enemy of the journalist is bad, lazy, deceitful journalism.”

The Australian

The national broadsheet takes aim at Four Corners journalists Louise Milligan and Sally Neighbour in a baseless editorial. Although this last line may suggest the newspaper has seen the error of its own ways.


“Do not come ... If you come to our border, you will be turned back.”

Kamala HarrisThe United States vice-president offers some welcoming words to Guatemalans seeking asylum. And here Australia was worried that the US never takes any notice of us and our bipartisan support for punitive border policies.


“In a free and democratic country, every citizen is entitled to the presumption of innocence and protection by the rule of law.”

Craig KellyThe independent MP defends his adviser, Frank Zumbo, after the latter was charged with 18 offences including aggravated indecent assault. It’s a quirk of Australia’s legal system that the “rule of law” defence can only be invoked by politicians and their advisers.