editorial June 6, 2020

Eight minutes in America

It’s my face, man.
I didn’t do anything serious, man.
Please, I can’t breathe.

editorial May 30, 2020

Reform agenda

First there was the ceasefire, ushered in by the pandemic. Now, Scott Morrison says, is the time for unions and the government to lay down their weapons and come to the table to negotiate the terms of the peace. As a show of good faith the prime minister has put away the stick – shelving the Ensuring Integrity Bill, for the time being. What’s being offered as a carrot is less clear.

editorial May 23, 2020

Losing our way

“This is all about balance,” Angus Taylor says of his long-awaited technology investment road map. In reality, it is all about delay, and distraction. After nine months of work, surveying 140 technologies, the road map has managed to tell us what was already known: that solar and wind, both of which produce zero emissions, are the cheapest forms of energy. But Australia will not be taking these findings and quickly decarbonising our grid with renewables.

editorial May 16, 2020

Radio silenced

If 2GB was a crime family – if you can imagine it – Ray Hadley would be a violent foot soldier and Alan Jones would be the plotting, vengeful don. Ben Fordham would be adopted as a favour to his parents. With Jones’s retirement, radio loses an ugly voice. It loses a little of its racism and some of its misogyny. It loses some antique slurs and curious bigotry and graphic rhetoric. Most of this will be replenished or reimagined. Like sunlight, prejudice is inexhaustible. What won’t easily be replaced, and what made Jones different, is his capacity to manipulate power.

editorial May 9, 2020

Cardinal truths

He knew. When he walked into Melbourne Magistrates’ Court in 1993 beside Gerald Ridsdale, a man facing dozens of counts of indecent assault against boys, George Pell knew the priest had been abusing children in the church. According to redacted findings of the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse, he had known it for more than a decade.

editorial May 2, 2020

Palmer’s snake oil

The worst part of madness is that it hurts other people. These are the kindest words that can be said about Clive Palmer’s newspaper ads, claiming he has bought 32.9 million doses of hydroxychloroquine to treat Covid-19.

editorial April 25, 2020

A charter of hope

It is tempting to believe Australia will emerge from this crisis a kinder and fairer country, that something will come from the common experience of isolation, that our obvious frailty will make us gentler and more compassionate. It is tempting but by no means given. From these odd, unnumbered days will emerge a country changed but not necessarily better. It will be the work of the next few weeks that decides if Australia is remade or shoddily put back together. The difference is immense.

editorial April 18, 2020

Pyrrhic victory

The High Court’s decision to invalidate the warrant used by the Australian Federal Police to raid journalist Annika Smethurst’s home presents no victory for press freedom. It serves to only further highlight the ersatz nature of Australia’s meagre whistleblower protections.

editorial April 11, 2020

A note on George Pell

George Pell has not been found innocent. It is wrong to say so. The High Court accepted his appeal on the basis of reasonable doubt.

editorial April 4, 2020

Taken liberties

At this point, it is fair to say Australia’s public health response to coronavirus trailed the developed world’s and our police response exceeded it. In many instances this week, one has been mistaken for the other. The public health measures are not in question – but little evidence has been given to show that special powers of enforcement are necessary.

editorial March 28, 2020

The sheer scale of it

Perhaps the government simply cannot visualise it. It is possible they are unable to fathom what is happening, to appreciate its size. Morrison’s response to this crisis is piecemeal and shambolic. His press conference on Tuesday night was the sort of policy improvisation that could have started with the words “Yes, and…” The prime minister is balancing the health of the public against the health of the economy, and doing neither very well.