Opinion January 23, 2021

Richard Cooke
The Facebook Uncle Caucus in the Coalition

As Joe Biden prepared to take office as the 46th president of the United States, promising to “restore the soul of America”, his mission statement found an echo in Australia. The language was less portentous, and the crowd more mundane. But …

Opinion January 23, 2021

Claire G. Coleman
How political fear erodes Indigenous rights

Recently on Twitter – although it wasn’t the first time and surely won’t be the last – former prime minister Malcolm Turnbull claimed responsibility for delivering marriage equality. In reality, he did nothing of the sort: what …

Opinion December 19, 2020

Neela Janakiramanan
A health system exposed

In March, researchers from the University of Melbourne and the Peter Doherty Institute for Infection and Immunity presented stark pandemic modelling to the federal government. Made public on April 7, it showed that “an unmitigated Covid-19 epidemic …

Opinion December 12, 2020

Shakira Hussein
Christchurch massacre: an Australian crime

Husna Ahmed was a wife and mother who migrated from Bangladesh to New Zealand, where she used to teach children and help to care for the elderly at her local mosque. When the Australian terrorist began to slaughter the fellow members of her congregation …

Opinion November 28, 2020

Leanne Smith
Why we need a feminist foreign policy

Seventy-five years ago, Australia committed to a rules-based international order. Our continuing commitment to that order is based both on pragmatism – the peace and prosperity it has provided; and on principle – the “fair go” …

Opinion December 5, 2020

John Hewson
How rorts, mates and marketing took over politics

“The Australian people deserve a Government that will act with integrity and in the best interests of the people they serve.”  – Scott Morrison, Statement of Ministerial Standards They certainly do deserve …

Opinion November 21, 2020

James Boyce
Colonisation and disease

As a remarkable year nears its end, it seems a once-in-a-century opportunity to reflect on the most traumatic event in modern Australian history has been squandered. In 2020, Australians have become more conversant with the ravages of the Spanish flu …

paul bongiorno

Opinion December 19, 2020

Big holes in the Coalition’s pre-election bucket list

As the year like no other draws to an end, the challenges and crises it presented have highlighted the nation’s strengths and dramatised its weaknesses. Facing up to these realities will be particularly daunting for our political leaders as they …

Opinion December 12, 2020

PM’s year-end review masks ongoing woes

The prime minister was more the circuit preacher than “Scotty from marketing” as he addressed the final Coalition party room meeting of the year. His stirring words of self-congratulation were tempered with a gentle reminder they all needed …

Opinion December 5, 2020

PM looks rattled as he feeds the trolls

Upon mature reflection, it is increasingly looking as though Scott Morrison’s angry reaction to a “truly repugnant” social media attack from a Chinese government official has only deepened the crisis in the relationship between the two …


Opinion January 23, 2021

A useful excuse

The iconic image is of Kenneth Hayne in an office with Josh Frydenberg. The former High Court justice is presenting the treasurer with the final report of his royal commission into banking. A photographer asks if the two men might shake hands. Hayne does not break eye contact with the table. He says, simply: “Nope.” Two years on, this grim photo opportunity is perhaps the most lasting outcome of the banking royal commission.

Opinion December 19, 2020

Sliding towards zero

The quality that makes Scott Morrison uniquely equipped to lead Australia in 2021 is his preternatural inability to feel shame. There were hints of this early on – in the treasurer who held aloft a lump of coal in parliament, the Immigration minister with an almost absurd commitment to the phrase “on-water matters” – but since his elevation to the prime ministership, it has become the defining feature of his government.

Opinion December 12, 2020

Mungo MacCallum (1941–2020)

What made Mungo MacCallum special, one of the things, was that for all the bewilderment and dismay he felt looking at politics he never lost his sense of clarity. If John Howard was the most effective politician of the past two decades, Mungo’s preferred description of him was the most enduring: “an unflushable turd”.


Opinion January 23, 2021

A bird in the handcuffs

As America grappled with the coup at the Capitol, Australia began the year with a coo of its own as the whole nation found itself obsessed with the survival of a pigeon. To recap this classic tale of Nanny State v Freedom of Flight, a man named Kevin Celli-Bird – because there is no subtlety in this poorly written reality – found a pigeon in his backyard.

Opinion December 19, 2020

Speech day at St Brutes

“Thank you, Reverend Pastor Houston, for those prayers and your message about rich men walking upright through the eye of a needle, with or without a camel. Boys, remember the pastor’s encouraging words about how religion and real estate can work together in the name of our Lord.” 

Opinion December 12, 2020

Flint’s tone deafness

Until he popped up on Monday night’s Media Watch, Gadfly thought Emeritus Professor David Flint must have disappeared from the mortal coil. But there he was looking as splendid as a pox doctor’s apprentice on Sky “News” telling that other old stager Alan (The Parrot) Jones that Joe Biden’s election victory was a fraud, a “self-evident” fraud.


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Opinion January 23, 2021

Gas fields worsen climate change

Rick Morton correctly identifies a range of reasons why gas should not be extracted from the Beetaloo Basin (“Nerve fracking”, December 19, 2020–January 22, 2021). A more fundamental problem would be its contribution to global climate …

Opinion December 19, 2020

Mungo’s sharp wit will be missed

Mungo MacCallum will be missed by all who know the joy of words (Editorial, “Mungo MacCallum 1941-2020”, December 12-18). His acerbic wit in dedicating to Spooner some of his cleverest crossword clues has been a constant source of enjoyment. …

Opinion December 12, 2020

NDIS changes not needed

I thank Rick Morton for his incisive article regarding the potential changes to the National Disability Insurance Scheme assessment protocol (“Exclusive: The seven-year plot to undermine the NDIS”, December 5-11). As a mother of a participant …