December 4 – 10, 2021

The Omicron variant of Covid-19 seen through a microscope.

News

Omicron variant: What happens now

“By the time scientists in southern Africa discovered a new strain of the SARS-CoV-2 virus with an ‘unprecedented’ 30-plus mutations in the crucial spike protein, the pathogen was already quietly circulating in Europe.”

New details have emerged regarding the spread of Omicron to Europe, but it is still not clear how significant the Covid-19 strain will be.

News

Image for article: Independents: Inside the insurrection of the centre

News

Independents: Inside the insurrection of the centre

A string of independents who have broken away from conservative politics could define the next parliament.

Image for article: Pun times: A dispatch from the protests

News

Pun times: A dispatch from the protests

The protests against Victoria’s pandemic legislation are larger – and stranger – than people realise.

Image for article: Exclusive: Barnaby Joyce warns drunk MPs after Jenkins report

News

Exclusive: Barnaby Joyce warns drunk MPs after Jenkins report

As Barnaby Joyce warned his colleagues against getting caught when drunk in public, it has emerged Scott Morrison removed references to respect from the ministerial code of conduct.

Image for article: Territory Covid-19 outbreaks highlight housing failures

News

Territory Covid-19 outbreaks highlight housing failures

Recent Covid-19 outbreaks have prompted Territorians to get vaccinated, but the cases tearing through Indigenous communities highlight broader inequalities – and the damage done by deliberate misinformation.

Image for article: ‘Worst yet to come’ for rioting in Solomon Islands

World

‘Worst yet to come’ for rioting in Solomon Islands

China pledges to supply an extra one billion vaccine doses to Africa as Omicron takes hold. India repeals farming laws that led to year-long protests. Barbados removes Queen as head of state and becomes a republic.

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Opinion

Opinion

Kieran Pender
Inside Bernard Collaery’s trial

“Secret evidence, secret hearings and secret judgements. Each step in the prosecution of Bernard Collaery comes with another layer of opacity. If it were not so serious, the accumulation of secrecy in this case would be comedic. Secrecy heaped upon secrecy for secrecy’s sake. A secrecy onion? But this case is no laughing matter. At stake are transparency and accountability.”

Opinion

Paul Bongiorno
Symptoms of decay expose Morrison’s old and tired government

“If the last fortnight of parliament for the year is any guide, Labor has its tail up and the government is in the doldrums. The lack of engagement from the Coalition backbench as the prime minister and his ministers slugged it out with the opposition was one thing, but the dead giveaway was the sitting schedule for next year.”

Opinion

John Hewson
Jacqui Lambie did what John Howard and the Liberal Party wouldn’t

“Now the various independents’ movements are gaining genuine momentum in a number of key seats, having identified good, strong, community-based candidates and launching their campaigns for the next federal election, it is instructive to contemplate how different our politics and government would be if they were successful and indeed may hold the balance of power, at least in the lower house.”

Letters, Cartoon & Editorial

Cartoon

ReadCartoon image, links to full cartoon page

Editorial
The smallest man in the room

In February last year, Mike Seccombe reported what at the time seemed incredible: Australia had a net-zero emissions target for 2050. This was in spite of the Morrison government. The story added up the commitments of every state and territory and found that Australia would reach the global target irrespective of Scott Morrison’s then refusal to endorse it.

Letters

Unforgettable calls from Nauru

I wept on reading the editorial (“The Nauru rapes”, November 27–December 3). Six years ago, Martin McKenzie-Murray documented the brutal rapes of the refugee girls on Nauru. Even after …

Working to improve aged care

Rick Morton (“Old habits”, November 27–December 3) summarises correctly the seemingly intractable difficulty of properly funding and administering aged care. The essential problem …

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Culture

Books

Image for article: The Woman They  Could Not Silence

Kate Moore
The Woman They Could Not Silence

Image for article: Girt Nation

David Hunt
Girt Nation

Image for article: Adrift in Melbourne: Seven Walks with Robyn Annear

Robyn Annear
Adrift in Melbourne: Seven Walks with Robyn Annear

Life

Image for article: Avocado mole

Food

Avocado mole

Image for article: How AI is revolutionising coding

Technology

How AI is revolutionising coding

The promise of artificial intelligence is fast becoming a reality, revolutionising the process of coding.

Image for article: Sent (back) to Coventry

Travel

Sent (back) to Coventry

It may have been named Britain’s 2021 City of Culture, but Coventry’s dark past as a hotbed of racism and violence will not be easily erased.

Sport

What the ghostwriters really think about sports memoirs

The supposedly candid memoirs of elite athletes serve as a money-making promotional tool. Despite the name on the cover, they are usually written by someone else.

Image for article: What the ghostwriters really think about sports memoirs

Puzzles

Quotes

Equality

“It’s time for more marinas large enough to cater not only for small and medium yachts, but larger ones, too.”

Gina RinehartIn a video call from the deck of her super yacht, the mining magnate complains of a lack of ports available for boats like hers in Queensland. Not all heroes wear capes but some resort wear gets dangerously close.

Politics

“I did not make a ‘noise’ I spoke when making an interjection & I certainly did not make any kind of animal noise at all.”

David VanThe Liberal senator denies allegations he impersonated a dog while Jacqui Lambie was speaking in the chamber. He said he was “doing an angry voice”, which does make him sound like a four-year-old recounting a disagreement with his father.

Retirement

“It’s sad and wrong that a capable person’s contribution can be curtailed in this way.”

Tony AbbottThe former prime minister laments Christian Porter’s decision to retire at the next election. For legal reasons, there is no joke on this item.

Technology

“It was more of a technical snafu, me being a bit of a boomer rather than anything calculated!”

Amanda StokerThe assistant minister for Women is caught using an anonymous social media account to praise her own work. The self-catfish is becoming a specialty of this government.

Retirement II

“No more brilliant mind, no greater friend, no person of greater integrity … someone with a massive heart.”

Scott MorrisonThe prime minister farewells Greg Hunt, who is not recontesting his seat. For all those qualities, the Health minister somehow always looks as though he is wearing an empty suit.

Opposition

“We said we wouldn’t allow the perfect to be the enemy of the good.”

Anthony AlbaneseThe opposition leader ends the parliamentary year saying the Labor Party supported every piece of legislation put up during the pandemic. Certainly, perfection never once seemed to get in their way.