March 11 – 17, 2023

The AUKUS submarines will never happen

Multiple points of failure are built into this program, coupled with the deep flaws in its strategic logic. AUKUS will become an embarrassing memory, if it is remembered at all.

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Portrait photograph of ABC chair Ita Buttrose


Former Human Services secretary Kathryn Campbell on the stand at the robo-debt Royal Commission
Sally Rugg (centre) arrives at the Federal Court of Australia in Melbourne.
Senators David Pocock and Lidia Thorpe in the senate chamber last month.
Prime Minister Anthony Albanese celebrates Holi in Ahmedabad, India.


Letters, Cartoon & Editorial


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The flogs of war

Paul Keating says it is the worst reporting he has ever seen. Not known for his own sense of understatement, he is appalled by the hyperbole. “Today’s Sydney Morning Herald and Age front page stories on Australia’s supposed war risk with China represents the most egregious and provocative news presentation of any newspaper I have witnessed in over 50 years of active public life,” he said in a statement.


Inexcusable at best

The robo-debt logic is clear (Rick Morton, “We absolutely will not be doing that. We will double-down”, March 4-10). Each relevant social security staffer, and each incoming minister, had an inescapable …

Credits problem

Australia’s proposed safeguard mechanism must close the loophole that allows large emitters to offset rather than reduce emissions (Mike Seccombe, “The polluting flaw in the safeguard mechanism”, …

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Pina Bausch dancing at a rehearsal of Café Müller

The Influence

Liv Satchell

The tension between brutality and tenderness in Pina Bausch’s groundbreaking Café Müller was a revelation for theatre-maker Liv Satchell.


Colette’s grapes

“We push the bikes through fields of stinking black muck, the sun beating hot on our bare heads. My hair, shaved a week ago under bad light in a roadside toilet, is a snatch of silk on fire. Ahead of me the mechanic shows frustration, stomping dirt. When he turns to squint at me, his face is pinched with aggression. My throat scratches with thirst. I need to piss, but I’m afraid of appearing old and weak. Colette hated the humiliations that age brought, and remembering her determined efforts to appear youthful, I push with my legs, lower my face parallel to the plastic bike seat.”


Image for article: Cursed Bread

Sophie Mackintosh
Cursed Bread

Book cover: painting of several figures resting by a river, on the rocks at the bottom of a cliff face

Thomas H. Ford and Justin Clemens
Barron Field in New South Wales: The Poetics of Terra Nullius

Image for article: Birnam Wood

Eleanor Catton
Birnam Wood


Image for article: Focaccia Pugliese/potato bread


Focaccia Pugliese/potato bread

Swiss chard growing in the garden.


Feeding on imperfection

The gardening media has no place for the compromised gardener, who finds beauty in ugliness, bounty in neglect and hope in the unruly silverbeet.

Shy albatrosses on Tasmania’s Albatross Island.


To the albatross

A journey to a remote Tasmanian island brings the writer tantalisingly close to the world of the magnificent and tormented seabird, the albatross.


Jack Ginnivan, the AFL and Crown’s grip

The wall-to-wall coverage of a rising AFL star’s indiscretion in a pub toilet serves as a convenient shroud to the league’s support of a gambling behemoth.

Image for article: Jack Ginnivan, the AFL and Crown’s grip




“They bark at nothing and there’s no squirrels in sight. I believe it’s because the Queen is passing by.”

Sarah FergusonThe Duchess of York says she believes Sandy and Muick, two corgis who belonged to the Queen, often bark at the late monarch’s ghost. She notices this but not her former husband’s possible sex offences.


“I would like to apologize to Halli for my misunderstanding of his situation. It was based on things I was told that were untrue…”

Elon MuskThe Twitter chief executive apologises for cutting off an employee’s workplace access and mocking his disability. It’s starting to look as if Musk might just be an awful person.


“I’ve watched it a couple of times, I’ve got to say, under sufferance.”

Anthony Albanese

The prime minister describes his relationship with reality television series Married at First Sight. This is from a guy who thinks Sticky Fingers is a good band.


“I name you Gina Oldendorff, may God bless you and all people who sail on you.”

Gina RinehartThe billionaire celebrates the christening of a bulk carrier in her honour. The vessel weighs 180,000 tonnes and looks like a fallen-over office tower, so it might not be the compliment she imagines it is.


“Once you are removed, you will be banned, like you are in America and Australia, from ever re-entering our country.”

Rishi SunakThe British prime minister announces his “Stop the boats” policy. It is easily the worst thing we’ve sent Britain since Clive James’s poetry.


“I did nothing wrong. I got ridiculed for something that I didn’t do.”

Lidia ThorpeThe independent senator says she was told by Greens lawyers to say she was in a relationship with former outlaw motorcycle gang boss Dean Martin. The other advice was to say he went to a different school and you wouldn’t know him.