February 5 — 11, 2022

The federal minister for Health and Aged Care, Greg Hunt.

News

Exclusive: Robo-debt call centres take over Covid hotline

The hotline at the centre of the government’s new Covid-19 strategy is staffed by casual workers with almost no training, employed by the company behind robo-debt.

News

News

Inside the Liberal Party’s open warfare

“While few dispute games are afoot, views diverge on exactly who is playing them.”

As a deal over Liberal preselections falls apart, there is a suggestion Alex Hawke is trying to engineer a crisis and force a federal takeover of the NSW division.

Image for article: How political parties hide the source of their donations

News

How political parties hide the source of their donations

The final disclosures of political donations to be published before the election show the source of more than half of the money is hidden by loopholes.

Image for article: Class action planned over ‘character’ test for deportations

News

Class action planned over ‘character’ test for deportations

Under sections 501 and 116 of the Migration Act, visas can be cancelled or refused under a broad ‘character test’. This legislation is being used to detain and deport immigrants, and is the subject of a proposed class action against the Australian government for alleged human rights breaches.

Image for article: The Joe Biden adviser living in Wollongong

News

The Joe Biden adviser living in Wollongong

Saul Griffith, a former climate adviser to Joe Biden, has moved home to Australia. He argues policy changes made here could accelerate the world’s transition to renewables by 10 years.

Image for article: Kremlin accuses US of inciting Ukraine ‘hysteria’

World

Kremlin accuses US of inciting Ukraine ‘hysteria’

Pregnant New Zealand journalist allowed emergency quarantine. Myanmar stages ‘silent strike’ to mark coup anniversary. Gray report on Downing Street parties identifies leadership and judgement failures.

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Opinion

Opinion

Stephen Charles
The case for a national integrity commission

“We know that before the last election nearly a billion dollars of taxpayers’ money was used for pork-barrelling, to improve the government’s electoral prospects rather than in the community’s interests. That is political corruption as Transparency International defines it, and the remaining question is: How much more money was actually spent in the same dishonest way in other grant schemes? Without a national integrity commission, we simply cannot tell.”

Opinion

Paul Bongiorno
Scott Morrison faces the tumbrel

“Make no mistake: the tumbrel is rolling for the Morrison government and the political guillotine is looming as its inescapable fate. Responding to a devastating Newspoll at the beginning of the week, Treasurer Josh Frydenberg reminded us that ‘many political obituaries were written ahead of the 2019 election and many false prophecies were made by those in the media’. He also said Scott Morrison was the best person to lead the Coalition to the election.”

Opinion

John Hewson
Why federation reform should be an urgent priority

“Before the pandemic, at most of my speeches to business and civil society groups, a question or comment was almost always made about why we don’t abolish state governments. The reasons were many and varied but all around a theme: a basic concern was that Australia is overgoverned; concern about the counterproductive consequences of the governance structures, in terms of blame and competition, or competitive federalism; that there are too many politicians; and that government is too expensive.”

Letters, Cartoon & Editorial

Cartoon

ReadCartoon image, links to full cartoon page

Editorial
Two jobs

The criticism of the federal government over the past two years has condensed into a single phrase: You had two jobs. Oddly, this was also the basis of Richard Colbeck’s defence in a senate hearing this week: I had two jobs. “I did make a specific decision about the balance of my portfolios,” he said, when asked why he attended the Ashes instead of a hearing into the coronavirus outbreak in aged care.

Letters

Pandemic mistakes

Rick Morton’s analysis of hospital and medical services is brilliantly summarised by the portmanteau “clusterfuck” (“Hospital plan: ‘Try very hard to avoid getting Covid until March’ ”, …

Health workers afraid to speak up

While reading The Saturday Paper I notice so many quotes attributed to people who speak out only on the condition of anonymity, with Rick Morton’s excellent and revealing piece being a prime …

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Culture

An Indigenous performer during the opening ceremony of the Gold Coast 2018 Commonwealth Games, and Stephen Page (below).

The Influence

Stephen Page

For Bangarra’s former artistic director Stephen Page, his brother’s song ‘Young Man’, written in Yugambeh language, is a gift to the future.

Fiction

Iceberg

“My first job in the new country is in a restaurant in the rich suburb. The customers sit outside under white shade sails. Down the tree-lined streets the hill dips into crystal waters. In the mornings, I wheel a trolley to the basement car park and collect dusty bottles of organic juice or cola from a cage. Before I go I check the trolley, but somehow a wheel always breaks on the steep driveway back. Either that or I forget the key to the cage, or I have to go back for my notebook. When I return, one boss yells, ‘What’s taking so long?’ and ‘Where’s the cart?’”

Books

Image for article: A Witness of Fact

Drew Rooke
A Witness of Fact

Image for article: Rahel Varnhagen: The Life of a Jewish Woman

Hannah Arendt
Rahel Varnhagen: The Life of a Jewish Woman

Image for article: What’s the Worst That Could Happen?

Andrew Leigh
What’s the Worst That Could Happen?

Life

Image for article: Crumpets with hot-smoked trout

Food

Crumpets with hot-smoked trout

Image for article: What neutrinos mean for our knowledge of the universe

Science

What neutrinos mean for our knowledge of the universe

To learn more about the Milky Way, scientists are using underwater telescopes to search for very rare, high-energy neutrinos that travel across the universe.

Image for article: ‘The worst torture destroys a person's character’

Life

‘The worst torture destroys a person’s character’

In immigration detention, sleep becomes impossible. There is hope an election might see some men released – but that hope is not shared by all.

Sport

A fairytale finish for the Australian Open

This year’s Australian Open got off to a shaky start amid controversy and accusations. By day 14 it was a tournament for the ages.

Image for article: A fairytale finish for the Australian Open

Puzzles

Quotes

Radio

“It was wet so the whole car was going sideways … and I didn’t care if I died.”

Kyle SandilandsThe shock jock says he was so angry he almost crashed his car after storming out of the radio studio because he didn’t think his show should cover the Scott Morrison text messages. One thing you can say about “horrible, horrible” men: they stick together.

Faith

“The college, through the freedoms afforded to it by law, has outlined our common beliefs and practices.”

Brian MulheranThe principal pastor at Brisbane’s Citipointe Christian College explains a legally binding enrolment contract sent out to students that has since been withdrawn after a backlash. Those common beliefs are that trans people don’t exist and “homosexual acts” are an offence to God.

Commentary

“I can just think it.”

Peter van Onselen The commentator says he stands by his view of Grace Tame but possibly didn’t need to publish it in The Australian. Strange how he makes humility sound like The Secret.

Groceries

“My eldest son likes almond milk. I don’t know how you get milk from almonds.”

Stuart RobertThe Employment minister explains why Scott Morrison doesn’t understand the cost of living: there are just too many types of milk. Robert himself is still working out the human cost of robo-debt.

Politics

“The things we’re doing before don’t work the same way under the Omicron virus.”

Scott MorrisonThe prime minister tells Perth radio that the Western Australian premier, Mark McGowan, was right to delay opening the state’s border. Unfortunately for Morrison, popularity and its variants are not contagious.

Defamation

“You’re just making this up, aren’t you? You’re lying.”

Arthur MosesThe lawyer for Ben Roberts-Smith rejects evidence from a serving SAS member that his client killed one prisoner and ordered a junior soldier to kill another. The trial continues.