Opinion August 8, 2020

Osman Faruqi
Policing as part of the national psyche

There are two striking aspects of Australia’s response to coronavirus: the first is that it’s being increasingly led as a police issue, and the second is that this is happening while the rest of the world works to reform and curtail police …

Opinion August 1, 2020

Richard Denniss
The true cost of a traumatised nation

There is a famous thought experiment, known as “the trolley problem”, that asks us to imagine ourselves driving a trolley – or a tram, for Australians – and having to choose between staying on the current track and running over …

Opinion August 1, 2020

Michael Wesley
The Canberra–Washington bubble

Amid a once-in-a-century pandemic that has closed borders and deflated economies, two of Australia’s most senior cabinet ministers flew to Washington this week for talks with their American counterparts. The day they arrived, Washington, DC, recorded …

Opinion July 25, 2020

Tabitha Lean
Speaking out for criminalised women

Tabitha Lean When I came out of prison, I noticed there was a concerted censoring of my voice every single time I wanted to speak out about my experiences within the criminal punishment system. This came at me in many ways – aggressively, subtly …

Opinion July 18, 2020

Madeline Hayman-Reber
Remaking our newsrooms

Australia is in the midst of a realisation, long overdue. It is a process, galvanised by the Black Lives Matter movement, that has revealed how deeply ingrained what could be called “unconscious” racism is in this country. Seemingly to the …

Opinion July 18, 2020

Paddy Manning
Circling sharks and political distancing

The first flush of success has faded into a pandemic pallor with Covid-19 hotspots breaking out in Melbourne and Sydney. And the worst, no doubt, is yet to come. As a second wave of infections takes hold, Scott Morrison’s performance in the top …

Opinion July 11, 2020

Ed Husic
Ben Chifley’s legacy

While taking my young son on yet another visit to Canberra’s Questacon last year, I decided to walk him past a pair of statues of John Curtin and Ben Chifley. I wanted to explain how one of the men in those statues inspired the naming of the …

paul bongiorno

Opinion August 8, 2020

Morrison backtracks on WA border closure

Scott Morrison keeps misreading the mood of a nation gripped by fear. Nowhere is this more obvious than his now-abandoned legal case against state border closures – or, to be more precise, against the lockouts in the Labor-governed states of Western …

Opinion August 1, 2020

Aged-care failings hurt Morrison

Scott Morrison went into disaster management mode this week as the coronavirus pandemic came awfully close to home, both personally and politically. The “catastrophe”, as his political opponents described it, was the Covid-19 outbreak spreading …

Opinion July 25, 2020

Economy in the deep freeze

Treasurer Josh Frydenberg’s hands were blue as he stood behind his lectern, physically distanced from Scott Morrison in the prime minister’s courtyard on Tuesday. The pair were holding an outdoor news conference on an icy Canberra morning, …


Opinion August 8, 2020

Bingo at the Styx

Andrew Bolt has made a career finding vulnerable people and devising new ways of punishing them. When you consider this, his views on the elderly are not surprising, just inhumane. Bolt doesn’t want the old to die, but he believes we overstate the tragedy of their deaths. “Note: 40 per cent of aged-care home residents die within nine months. The average stay is just under three years,” he writes. “So Victoria’s bans are doing huge damage to – essentially – save aged-care residents from dying a few months earlier.” Quixotically, the column is titled “How to save Victoria from the coronavirus”.

Opinion August 1, 2020

The turning point

It is difficult to better Tom Calma’s original formulation. In 2005, as Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander social justice commissioner, he said this: “It is not credible to suggest that one of the wealthiest nations in the world cannot solve a health crisis affecting less than 3 per cent of its citizens.” Calma was pushing for targets to Close the Gap. Three years later, he would have them. Fifteen years later, none of the targets would be met. This is not credible. It cannot be.

Opinion July 25, 2020

A hostile environment

When the government tapped businessman Graeme Samuel to undertake a year-long review of the nation’s foremost environmental law, it may not have foreseen such a candid appraisal. The task set for the former Australian Competition and Consumer Commission chairman was clear: “tackle green tape and deliver greater certainty to business groups, farmers and environmental organisations”, in that order. But Samuel’s interim review, released this week, is scathing. The Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation (EPBC) Act, he found, is not fit for purpose.


Opinion August 8, 2020

Peas in a podcast

It was quite something to tune in to the first episode of Bunter and Georgina Downer’s geopolitical podcast, where they discussed the recent AUSMIN meeting, the upcoming United States presidential election and the future of war. Father and daughter get along famously as they take us on a wide sweep through the trickiest global thickets, with memos about Condoleezza Rice’s determination to play golf, China’s dominance in the rare earth market, Joe Biden’s “flaky” interviews, the Trans-Pacific Partnership, fishing quotas in British waters and Russia’s anti-satellite rocket program.

Opinion August 1, 2020

Kiwis flying high

As went to bed on Friday, 649 new Covid-19 cases were confirmed in Australia in the previous 24 hours, bringing the total for the past seven days to 3513. The majority of those were in Victoria, with new hotspots in some restaurants and gyms in Sydney’s Potts Pointless, which looks like the Nile Delta in terms of population density. The total confirmed cases in the Wide Brown Land stood at 16,904, and the death toll at 196. Over the way in New Zealand, the numbers look miles better. On Friday the number of active cases fell by four, to 20, with the total at 1560 and 22 deaths.

Opinion July 25, 2020

Knock on Woodside

The deep state’s spidery fingers are here, there and everywhere. Bernard Collaery would be all too familiar with their reach. As part of his defence in the secret prosecution that the Commonwealth has brought against him for allegedly revealing the bugging of Timor-Leste’s ministerial offices, his lawyers subpoenaed documents from Woodside, the oil and gas producer with a hefty stake in the Timor Sea’s Greater Sunrise gas field.


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Opinion August 8, 2020

Spending, yes, but on what?

Yes, a sovereign government always spends and thus creates money. Modern monetary theory (MMT) is a version of Keynesian policies and its popularity is welcome (Mike Seccombe, “Could Frydenberg ease this crisis by printing money?”, August …

Opinion August 1, 2020

Morrison’s choice

Let me get this straight. Neville Power is one of the least narcissistic chief executives, but it’s his way or the highway. He speaks respectfully to Aboriginal people, but doesn’t want to pay royalties to them. He is poor at consultation …

Opinion July 25, 2020

Catching a break on Covid-19

Rick Morton’s “How the second wave broke” (July 18-24) references a feeling any keen surfer knows all too well when surfing waves outside their comfort zone. Without warning, the first wave of the set always looms frighteningly large, …