Opinion August 11, 2018

Sean Kelly
Pushing the limits of acceptable debate

In the immediate aftermath of Donald Trump’s election victory, many people sought to persuade themselves it wasn’t as dramatic a result as it seemed. If only a few thousand votes in a few forgettable states had gone the other way, they posited, …

Opinion August 11, 2018

Behrouz Boochani
Manus prison theory

Last week, my book No Friend But the Mountains: Writing From Manus Prison was finally released. It’s the product of five years living in exile on Manus Island, depicting the raw and unadulterated experience of incarceration in a remote …

Opinion August 4, 2018

Mike Carlton
Fairfax and Turnbull’s Potemkin village

All over Italy the oleanders are in summer bloom. Great galleries of pink, red and white flowers cascade through Rome’s Villa Borghese gardens, flourish high on the terraced streets above the Bay of Naples, march along the E90 autostrada from Palermo …

Opinion August 4, 2018

Sean Kelly
How Turnbull is stuck in reverse

After a brief period in which it seemed the only issue that mattered in federal politics was immigration – immigration and infrastructure, immigration and gangs, immigration and refugees, immigration and surrendering our sovereignty – this …

Topic July 28, 2018

Sean Kelly
Negative reinforcement for Super Saturday

We are in a period of barren, defensive politics. The byelections that take place today bring to an end a long campaign – it has been nine weeks since we learnt the date – and lines have been locked down. At an event in Tasmania this week …

Opinion July 28, 2018

Gillian Triggs
Laa Chol and racist fear

We have seen it all before. Moral panic too often stimulates governments to adopt extreme and racially based responses to social problems. Victoria’s 19th-century gold rush led to an explosion in the state’s Chinese population. Forty thousand …

Opinion July 21, 2018

Guy Rundle
Socialism’s newfound popularity

They raised the roof in Queens, New York, a few Tuesdays ago, when Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez won. Not an election, simply a primary for the candidacy. But the seat’s safe, the opponent was an establishment Democrat heavy, and Ocasio-Cortez is a socialist …

paul bongiorno

Opinion July 7, 2018

Tony Abbott’s latest demolition job

Last Tuesday night, Tony Abbott was in his element. Surrounded by climate change sceptics and deniers he set about destroying Malcolm Turnbull’s signature energy policy. And he did so with panache, his opening line more a battle cry: “It takes …

Opinion June 30, 2018

Bases loaded for Frydenberg

Heartfelt efforts to persuade the government’s climate change deniers and coal champions to embrace the National Energy Guarantee (NEG) have failed spectacularly. But you may not have noticed because on the same day former Coalition leaders Tony …

Opinion June 23, 2018

Turnbull’s aspirational targets

It was John Howard’s favourite word and now Malcolm Turnbull has latched on to it like a drowning man lunging for a life raft. “We’re not mystified by [aspiration],” he said this week. “We recognise it, we embrace it.” Had …


Opinion August 11, 2018

Australians all let us rue Joyce

That is the problem with Joyce: the politics never elevates above the schoolyard. He is a child and he is indulged by a system built for childish men. The bell he complains of is the one that asks him to vote on legislations, the one that encourages him to do his job. Urges call to him but duty is not one of them. Politics as Joyce describes it is without responsibility.

Opinion August 4, 2018

Voice and ears and heart

Dimly, against the shuffling of papers, the Voice can be heard again. In a 165-page report, an interim document, the joint select committee on constitutional recognition relating to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples has resurrected what the prime minister has already once killed. This is a moment of national import. It is a second chance.

Opinion July 28, 2018

Fairfax to middling

Journalism depends on diversity. It is too expensive a craft for a single company to do it alone. The merger of Fairfax Media and Nine Entertainment imperils hundreds of jobs. It also weakens our democracy. Our media is in terrible strife. The government is untroubled by this. Indeed, it has encouraged it. The reason for this is simple: The less the public knows, the better it is for politicians.


Opinion August 11, 2018

Legends lost

We’re surrounded by death and the passing of great totems of our time. The death of Fairfax’s independence coincided with the death of one of the era’s standout journalists, Evan Whitton. Then we had news of the death of Clive Evatt, the great Sydney defamation barrister, turf man, art collector and frequent visitor to Wagner at Bayreuth. Whitton and Evatt were polar opposites – one liked to expose wrongdoing while the other liked to sue the backside off newspapers on behalf of punters who were exposed.

Opinion August 4, 2018

Homilies of scale

The new new thing is “scale”. We’ve been missing the importance of “scale” for so long, particularly when it relates to such things as the takeover of Fairfax Media by Nine Entertainment, two more culturally antithetical outfits being hard to imagine. Percy Marks jewellery progeny and Nine boss Hugh Marks said “bigger scale” is good because it produces more revenue. Greg Plywood at Fairfax thinks that the fused company’s scale is the way to confront giants such as Google and Facebook. No wonder he’s sold his Maserati if he thinks like that.

Opinion July 28, 2018

An abhorrent affair

We now see the shining brilliance of the Liberal–One Nation media reform agenda: the absorption of Fairfax newspapers into Nine Entertainment’s culture of chequebook journalism, hidden cameras, patsy interviews and Eddie McGuire game shows. All under the chairmanship of Peter Costello, one of the smuggest Nasty Party politicians in living memory. The quid pro quo for Pauline Hanson’s One Nation’s support of the “reform” legislation was to do over the ABC. Bingo, two “reforms” in one hit.


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Opinion August 11, 2018

Where’s my money?

Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull is still defending giving nearly $500 million to a group that didn’t ask for it (Andrew Stafford, “ ‘Businessmen’ get $443m for reef”, May 26–June 1). I also haven’t asked for …

Opinion August 4, 2018

Coalition coffers take a hit

Rather than concede Labors’ ability to withstand the Liberal National Party’s “Kill Bill” strategy, consider the repudiation Malcolm Turnbull has received for his negative campaigning (Karen Middleton, “Grubby tactics in …

Opinion July 28, 2018

It’s best to bow out

After seeing Paul Murray sit there and let a former numbers man and the one-time leader of the party they both embraced exchange blows on pay TV, I am convinced that people who are no longer politicians best serve their party and their fellow citizens …