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diary February 23, 2019


Gadfly: Making another run

Ladislaus Meissner, also known as Joe Meissner , of “Love Boat” notoriety has, after a decent interval, resurfaced. Joe has moved on from his days in the 1980s as secretary of the Enmore branch of the Labor Party and former world karate champion...

politics February 23, 2019


Palace letters highlight undemocratic secrecy

The dismissal of prime minister Gough Whitlam is often described as the greatest political and constitutional crisis in Australian history. On November 11, 1975, our democratically elected government led by Whitlam was dismissed by the governor-...

immigration February 16, 2019


A bill of human rights

The Australian parliament has taken decisive action to ensure sick refugees held in indefinite detention on Manus Island and Nauru receive prompt and proper medical treatment. Prime Minister Scott Morrison lost the first government vote in the house...

diary February 16, 2019


Gadfly: Justice married

In a week of political panic stations it was touching to see news of Michael Kirby ’s marriage to Johan van Vloten , 50 years after their first meeting on Tuesday, February 11, 1969, at the Bottoms Up Bar of the Rex Hotel in Kings Cross. Wearing...

environment February 9, 2019


The Stop Adani Convoy

I am 74 and acutely aware that every minute of every day our planet is hotter than when I was a boy, due to the burning of fossil fuels. Storms, droughts and bushfires are all the worse, as predicted 30 years ago. Yet the rate of burning of fossil...

immigration November 10, 2018


Saving Planet Earth

Historians and political scientists have classified recent world history into two distinct periods, with the end of World War II as the dividing line. The period from 1901 to 1945 was marked by aggressive nationalism – trade wars, high tariffs,...

ir November 3, 2018


Unions key to workers’ wage growth

For much of human history, economic growth puttered along slowly – so slowly, in fact, that shops would sometimes carve prices into their stone walls. Then, in the late 1700s, one of the most dramatic transformations in world economic history took...

politics October 27, 2018


Running against Tony Abbott in Warringah

There’s a line of Shakespeare that has been running around in my head over the past few days. Mind you, when I say “days”, I really mean nights, particularly in the wee small hours. The line that keeps ringing in my tired brain is, “Sleep no more,...

indigenous affairs October 20, 2018


Razing the white flag

During the 18th century, a European travel writer visiting the colonies in what is now South America was astounded to stumble upon a town where a biracial governor was casually going about his business. More astounding still was how completely...

rural October 13, 2018


How climate change policy helps farmers

Drought is ravaging the land. Large swaths of eastern Australia are experiencing some of the worst seasons on record. Frosts have wiped out large areas of crops in Western Australia, southern New South Wales and Victoria. Hail has beaten crops into...

indigenous affairs October 6, 2018


Getting the people behind the Uluru statement

Recently, I read Laura Tingle’s Quarterly Essay, Follow the Leader . I was seething with anger at the time, having just read that the member for Lingiari, Warren Snowdon, had lectured Indigenous leaders about realpolitik from his comparatively...