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diary January 23, 2021


Gadfly: 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...

indigenous affairs January 23, 2021


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 he delivered was a...

diary December 19, 2020


Gadfly: Speech day at St Brutes

Order of service Prayers: Pastor Brian Houston (plate will be passed around) Sermon on spiritual uplift: Former Pastor Carl Lentz (supplementary circulation of the plate) School orchestra: Pastoral Symphony School hymn: “All Things Bright and...

politics January 23, 2021


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 in a...

health December 19, 2020


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...

politics November 28, 2020


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” that the rules-based...

defence November 21, 2020


The politics of deploying the SAS

The decision to use the SAS on high-tempo deployments was political: it made Australia a useful ally to the US. It may have also contributed to a culture of abuse.

indigenous affairs November 21, 2020


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...

diary November 14, 2020


Gadfly: Christian lessons

It was time for a few heads on pikes, or should that be Poles? Sadly, it is those adornments to public life, The Christian and The Tudge, who got piked. There’s nothing quite so enjoyable as seeing lecherous, hypocritical politicians squirming in the Four Corners spotlight. Alan Tudge, whose name comes straight out of Dickens, expressed “regret” – most likely he regretted being a family-values man who got sprung.

immigration November 14, 2020


A letter from detention: Help before my soul is gone

I am a stateless, Kurdish Feyli. I was born on March 21, 1978, in Baghdad. I was almost two years old when Saddam Hussein killed my parents. One day Ba’ath soldiers took my parents from home and they never came back. This was when my sad life and...

diary November 7, 2020


Gadfly: Judging democracy

It’s always better to let Republican lawyers and judges decide election outcomes. It’s so much cleaner and less fussy than trusting an untrustworthy electorate. Surely the Supreme Court of the United States, stacked with “illegitimate judges” and sex pests, will show us the way. Why should a plurality of voters decide the outcome when there are all sorts of fixes and filters to be applied?