diary September 19, 2020

Gadfly: What a pity

An emotional nation has been moved by Schmo Morrison ’s humanity as he fights for the freedom of citizens to cross state borders to attend funerals. Funerals and their role in salving grief over the loss of a loved one is something dear to the...

indigenous affairs September 19, 2020

The destruction of the Juukan Gorge caves

Here is a fact about life in Australia in 2020: the material and geographical manifestations of Aboriginal cultures developed over more than 65,000 years are being rapidly destroyed by mining companies, urban settlement, road and infrastructure...

economy September 12, 2020

The way out of the Covid-19 recession

“The recession we had to have”. It’s the phrase Paul Keating famously used to describe Australia’s previous recession, which began in 1990, but it is far more apt for Australia’s coronavirus recession a full 30 years later. The coronavirus health...

diary September 12, 2020

Gadfly: A law unto himself

Gadfly had the temerity to turn his back for a fortnight and on reporting back for duty discovers everything has turned to mush. It’s starkly apparent that language and ideas no longer have the same meaning and value they once did. Take the “rule of...

diary September 5, 2020

Gadfly: Moving on to greener onions

We’ll be filling in as your Gadflies for Richard Ackland this week, as Facebook has banned him from writing this column. Tony Abbott , the former prime minister who ate through Australia’s crops like an aphid, is likely to be appointed as an adviser...

economy September 5, 2020

The case for a death tax

The reason Australia doesn’t have a death tax – when almost every other developed nation does – can be traced back 40 years to a fear that old people would move to the Gold Coast to avoid paying one. On such absurd grounds, Australia has forfeited...

diary August 29, 2020

Gadfly: House of pixelated representatives

While Covid-19 may have halted proceedings at the true home of Australian democracy, The Masked Singer, it has failed to stop parliament, which resumed this week after a nine-week hiatus. The break has been devastating for the ABC, which has been battered in the coveted 2pm time slot since losing its flagship Question Time program to tide viewers over to their afternoon nap. It was relatively smooth sailing for the “virtual parliament”, although Oculus Rift is not yet sold on the concept as a game for consumers. There was brief alarm when a Twitter troll appeared to hijack proceedings; however, it was soon explained that Senator Malcolm Roberts was, in fact, entitled to be there.

education August 29, 2020

China’s influence on our campuses

Last month, the University of New South Wales published on its website an interview with Human Rights Watch Australia’s director, Elaine Pearson, who also holds a position as an adjunct lecturer at the university. The interview focused on how the...

diary August 22, 2020

Gadfly: Driving a hard bargain

With the speed of a sputtering meteor we’ve seen gilded careers disintegrate. So it has been with that magisterial expert on promissory estoppel Dyson Heydon as doors slammed in his face following the High Court’s findings of his inappropriate sexual harassment of young employees. Then, early this month, Melbourne silk Norman O’Bryan, a chap with plenty of smarts and entrepreneurial flair, hit the ropes.

environment August 22, 2020

The end of the environment

The handgun spun around on the asphalt near my chest. It had dropped out of a security guard’s coat pocket when we were both knocked down in the melee as John Howard was driven into Forestry Tasmania’s nursery in Perth. It was November 8, 1997. The...

law & crime August 15, 2020

The old guard preventing reform to consent laws

On the last day of July, the Queensland Law Reform Commission’s (QLRC) report on consent and the “mistake of fact” excuse was tabled in parliament. In the commission’s own words, it did “not recommend extensive changes to the existing law”. The...