editorial February 17, 2018

Barnaby rubble

When it’s all over, Barnaby Joyce’s clearest contribution to Australian public life will likely be a rule that says ministers cannot have sex with their staff. The second most senior member of this government – the deputy prime minister – is a politician whose talents add up to a total of nothing.

editorial February 10, 2018

Derision and contempt

When Malcolm Turnbull walked out on the release of a new report into Indigenous disadvantage this week, he walked out on a decade of failures. He walked out on the appalling disparity between black and white Australia, on education, employment and health. He walked out on a report that found First Australians had been “effectively abandoned” and that targets for betterment had been destroyed by budget cuts and political myopia.

editorial January 27, 2018

Between the lies

Tony Abbott says, “What happened on January 26, 1788, was, on balance, for everyone, Aboriginal people included, a good thing, because it brought Western civilisation to this country.” This is the greatest lie ever told by a modern prime minister. It is a lie based on 230 years of deceit. It is a lie about everything, a lie told against thousands and thousands of deaths, against land theft and genocide, against the very foundation of contemporary Australia.

editorial February 3, 2018

Burning anger

The lie is that this country has a mature discourse, that the national conversation could be scandalised by an excess of rhetoric. It’s a lie of condescension, a lie that lets Jeff Kennett tell a young Indigenous activist to “buy a one-way plane ticket”. It’s the discourse that lets a News Corp columnist look at a hashtag such as #IStandWithTarneen and headline their corresponding piece “#InTheQueueAtMcDonald’s”

editorial December 23, 2017

The Australian Belligerence

It should be called the Australian Belligerence. This belligerence is the refusal to accept our history, the loutish impulse to mock the reality of what happened. There is no strong argument to celebrate Australia on January 26. But the Australian Belligerence holds on for fear that to question this date would be to question the mistruths on which their power is based.

editorial December 16, 2017

Church fate

When the royal commission sat for the final time, the church was not there. Senior figures were not present. It fell to a layperson to attend, to Francis Sullivan, whose self-critical stewardship of the Catholic Church’s Truth, Justice and Healing Council has been the only redemption of an institution built on the preaching of forgiveness. The absence is terrible and unsurprising. The recurrent theme in five years of testimony at this commission has been abandonment. It is an abandonment of children and of responsibility.

editorial December 9, 2017

Charity disgrace

Gary Johns is now the head of the federal charities regulator, the Australian Charities and Not-For-Profits Commission. This is the same Gary Johns who told Andrew Bolt, “a lot of poor women in this country, a large portion of whom are Aboriginal, are used as cash cows, right, they are kept pregnant and producing children for the cash. Now that has to stop.” It is the same Gary Johns who wants the poor to be forcibly denied children. “Some families, some communities, some cultures breed strife,” he writes.

editorial December 2, 2017

Married with squibs

The survey forced same-sex couples to defend their relationships and beg for their rights. It licensed a new wave of homophobia and demonised queer teenagers and those living with gender dysphoria. It saw hate scrawled on walls and in the sky. It did all this, so far, for a dozen senators who could not bring themselves to vote for equality. It is worth recording these names, if only to show how few people it takes to create a national farce. They were as follows:

editorial November 25, 2017

The man with no face

There is no more “in spite of”. There is no longer any way a humane person could vote for the Labor or Liberal parties without giving thought to their position on refugees. This policy is bipartisan. The torture that killed Hamed Shamshiripour is the work of successive governments, elected by voters able to overlook their cruelty.

editorial November 18, 2017

The silent majority is a lie

There is one thing we now know, tested at great expense and through a process of significant trauma: Australia is better than its politics. The silent majority is a lie. Tony Abbott is a lie. So are Kevin Andrews and Eric Abetz and Cory Bernardi. Lyle Shelton is a lie. The Daily Telegraph is a lie.

editorial November 11, 2017

The truth about Manus

The crisis on Manus Island is not about drownings at sea. It is about Pauline Hanson and the margin by which Peter Dutton holds the seat of Dickson. It is about the 1505 people who represent Dutton’s tenuous grip on power. Dutton cannot allow the situation on Manus to be resolved, because to do so would be to undermine the crude image of authority he derives from it.