June 26 – July 2, 2021

Journalists are moved away from the Wuhan Institute of Virology.


Inside the Wuhan lab leak conspiracy theory

“If the People’s Republic of China is conducting bioweapons research, circumstantial evidence is not the smoking gun to prove it.”

While a laboratory leak may never be ruled out as the origin of Covid-19, the sources of that theory remain highly questionable.


Image for article: The end of AstraZeneca


The end of AstraZeneca

As the government sets new ‘horizons’ for the vaccine rollout, questions are being asked about how decisions regarding supply were initially made.

Image for article: Peter Ridd's High Court case


Peter Ridd’s High Court case

An employment dispute has become a test case on climate denial, cancel culture and academic freedom.

Image for article: Part Two: Selling arms


Part Two: Selling arms

A desire for Australia to become a top-10 weapons exporter is partly strategic and partly a rhetorical flourish.

Image for article: How the religious right is trying to take over the Liberal Party


How the religious right is trying to take over the Liberal Party

The South Australian Liberal Party has frozen new memberships after an apparent Pentecostal takeover, but the move speaks to a vulnerability both feared and exploited in conservative politics.

Image for article: Stricter bail for NT youth


Stricter bail for NT youth

Of the two stories being told about youth crime in the Northern Territory, only one is supported by evidence. Increasingly, that’s not the story its government prefers.


Iran’s new leader accused of crimes against humanity

Covid-19 surge pushes Indonesia into more restrictions. Hong Kong’s Apple Daily forced to close under Chinese pressure. Famine and growing ethnic violence in Ethiopia.

Image for article: Iran’s new leader accused of crimes against humanity

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John Hewson
On shame and politics

“It is most disturbing how genuine compassion has been lost from our national government. Even worse, they seem so shameless about it. Concepts of government responsibility, integrity and accountability are increasingly downplayed, even ignored. A sense of shame is essential to an effective moral compass. Shamelessness is a real threat to our democracy and to the rule of law. ”


Paul Bongiorno
The return of Barnaby Joyce

“Before the voters got a chance to pass judgement on the Morrison–McCormack Coalition, the Nationals’ party room did. And its judgement was that the deputy prime minister was failing to deliver for his core constituencies. Dispatched was mild-mannered Michael McCormack. According to an insider, the Nationals wanted a leader who could stand up to Scott Morrison and look after miners and farmers better. This narrative, at least at face value, is what motivated a majority of the 21 Nationals to re-elect the previously shamed Barnaby Joyce as leader. ”


Barnaby’s back

Australians have been hankering for a leadership spill for a while now. The memory of the last one is so distant we’ve forgotten what that potent mix of adrenalin and disappointment feels like. Nary a week goes by without someone with a Canberra mailing address shouting about an imminent leadership spill on social media, trying to goad Josh Frydenberg into taking a stab at his boss. That bait has not yet been nibbled, but it has clearly put ideas into the head of Australia’s favourite philanderer. Just a quick spill later and Barnaby Joyce is once again deputy prime minister.

Letters, Cartoon & Editorial


ReadCartoon image, links to full cartoon page

Police witless

Probably the most disturbing part is the word “informal”. Instead of going to a court, instead of getting a warrant, Victoria Police went directly to the Health Department and tried to access coronavirus check-in data. Sensibly, the department refused. So did Services Victoria. The sly “informal” request – the pressure to share information – would undermine confidence in a system built to maintain public health.


Far from independent

Karen Middleton’s well-researched article (“Australia’s big spending on war machines”, June 19-25) raises the important issues of Australia developing and expanding the “sovereign …

Indefensible spending

The sheer incompetence of our naval procurement process in breathtaking. Every aspect of planning and delivery is bedevilled with problems. We have never been able to fully crew our six Collins-class vessels. …

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Detail of Fiona Hall’s Paradisus Terrestris (1989-90)

The Influence

Bryony Anderson

Artist and puppet-maker Bryony Anderson talks about the influence of Fiona Hall’s Paradisus Terrestris (1989-90) on her work and outlook.


The next step for beasts

“My father’s position simply said that humanity over millions of years has had long enough to assess its surroundings and has done so pretty well; and that – taken as a line from humanity’s beginnings until today – the period within which animals have been regarded with affection is infinitesimal, not even a whole percentage point; and, therefore, the likelihood is strong that it is wrong. This is where my father’s argument stands. This is its foundation. So when he ran through his list of animals to me as a child, always with the same examples, it was to illustrate this position using the same pictorial imagery as the liberals and fantasists in the guise of artists and writers had used to create the current delusion. This is how thoughtfully crafted his argument is. ”


Image for article: China Panic: Australia’s Alternative to Paranoia and Pandering

David Brophy
China Panic: Australia’s Alternative to Paranoia and Pandering

Image for article: A Narrative of Denial: Australia and the Indonesian Violation of East Timor

Peter Job
A Narrative of Denial: Australia and the Indonesian Violation of East Timor

Image for article: Fury

Kathryn Heyman


Image for article: Roasted kohlrabi with lamb and prune sauce, and raw kohlrabi with macadamia cream


Roasted kohlrabi with lamb and prune sauce, and raw kohlrabi with macadamia cream

Chronic pain affects one in five Australian adults.


Opioids and chronic pain

Three million Australians suffer from chronic pain – a condition that ruins lives and drains the health system. But will a multidisciplinary management strategy help to fight the opioid crisis?

Image for article: NRL head knocks and player welfare


NRL head knocks and player welfare

Long known for its unique brutality, rugby league is facing an identity crisis as it comes to grips with the issue of player welfare.




“While the New South Wales government’s rhetoric is serious, their actions are outside the rhetoric.”

Mary-Louise McLawsThe epidemiologist responds to news the NSW Nationals held a function for 70 people, against health advice. In fairness, the Nationals are doing their best to reduce the chance of being elected and bring their party room in line with limits.


“This process is not on. There’s a proper way to do these things.”

Scott MorrisonThe prime minister opposes a recommendation that the Great Barrier Reef be listed as “in danger”. The correct way to do these things is by first consulting with coal lobbyists and then with those members of the Nationals who can prove their thumbs are opposable.


“If I’m not going to trade a computer in, then I always destroy the hard drive.”

Ben Roberts-SmithThe former soldier tells a defamation trial why he may have set fire to a laptop he owned. If there’s any crime here, it’s manufactured obsolescence in electrical goods.


“Labor have shown their true colours – opposing investment in new clean technologies which will create jobs and economic opportunities.”

Angus TaylorThe Energy minister reacts to a senate vote that stopped the Australian Renewable Energy Agency from funding fossil fuels. Unfortunately, Labor’s true colours are more like the chromatophores of a startled cuttlefish.


“I have to respectfully say to that 76 per cent, I don’t think there is underlying racism in Australia.”

John HowardThe former prime minister denies that racism is an underlying part of Australian life. Thanks to his time in office, it’s much more overt.


“The mice start decaying and then the next problem is mites and we just don’t want to expose staff and prisoners to anything that could cause harm to their health.”

Peter SeverinThe NSW prisons commissioner explains that a mouse plague has forced the evacuation of Wellington prison. Don’t get him started on dogs.