diary June 19, 2021

Gadfly: First they
came for Friendlyjordies…

A test of one’s commitment to free speech isn’t fighting for the speech you like but the speech you don’t like. It is inevitable that censorship encroaches from the latter to the former. Never has that maxim been tested more, though, than in the...

immigration June 19, 2021

The Murugappan family and immigration detention

The decision to transfer one of the daughters of the Murugappan family to Perth Children’s Hospital sent shock waves across Australia and abroad. Growing public pressure forced the Australian government to release the whole family into Perth...

media June 19, 2021

Scott Morrison and QAnon

The relationship between the Australian prime minister and the country’s highest-profile devotee of the QAnon conspiracy cult became even more problematic this week for the absent Scott Morrison. The Labor opposition seized on revelations in the...

diary June 12, 2021

Gadfly: Paterson Twitters on

Electing a political representative is neither a power lightly given nor one that should be casually accepted. Yet too often the personal indulgences of politicians are overlooked. A combination of apathy and lethargy seemingly dictates our lack of...

law & crime June 12, 2021

Bernard Collaery and Witness K

In Franz Kafka’s book The Trial the accused, Josef K, manages to arouse the court’s anger by loudly complaining about the absurdity of the proceedings and the accusation itself, if he could only understand it. The book is alternatively macabre and...

immigration June 12, 2021

The human toll of border protection

A picture is worth a thousand words and can dramatically influence public opinion. That realisation has been a motivating factor in the way the Morrison government and its predecessors have sought to shield from public gaze the cruelty of Australia’...

indigenous affairs June 5, 2021

The white business of Aboriginal art

It’s been almost 20 years since I wrote “Bell’s Theorem”, an essay about Aboriginal art and the Western systems that make it a white business. The essay finished with a simple observation: “There is no hope.” Well, have a look around us. The planet...

diary June 5, 2021

Gadfly: Most cursed city

Remember that sound you heard on Wednesday, the one the seismologists registered, which startled flocks of birds into flight and shattered spectacles and wine glasses? That was Melbourne. That was five million people cursing aloud when they were told that lockdown would be extended for another week.

environment June 5, 2021

PM hits spin cycle again on rollout

At the Liberal Party’s recent annual gabfest in Canberra, the prime minister morphed into one of recent history’s more comical figures as he waxed lyrical about his government’s amazing successes. The figure that sprung to mind was “Baghdad Bob”...

diary May 29, 2021

Gadfly: Outbreak breakouts

During the height of Melbourne’s lockdown last year, many conservative commentators argued we were sacrificing our economy to protect the elderly, who would inevitably just die anyway. The federal government, it seems, has taken up the call for geronticide, even as the economy rebounds. It remains firmly committed to a vaccination strategy that’s been more of a vibe than a rollout, with confusing messaging around who qualifies, when they qualify and why they should avoid AstraZeneca even if they do qualify.

rural May 29, 2021

Joel Fitzgibbon and Victoria’s virus crisis

Scott Morrison has found a very useful ally in an unlikely place. His name is Joel Fitzgibbon, opposition member for the New South Wales seat of Hunter, and the prime minister is certainly grateful for his contribution. The veteran Labor member,...