editorial

editorial February 15, 2020

Respect and a little bit of fear

There is something in the Australian psyche that craves punishment. Perhaps it is in the fact that White Australia began as a penal colony. Perhaps there is a deeper thread of inferiority and submission in the British settlement. Whatever it is, the society we have is an orderly one – deeply so. We created the myth of the larrikin so we might feel less bad about our deference to power. He is a sort of court jester who makes the draconian more comfortable.

editorial February 8, 2020

Change of leader

Even Adam Bandt’s staunch critics, and there is no shortage of them, would be hard-pressed to describe the newly elected Greens leader as one to shy from a fight. He’s been called the party’s “attack dog”. Drawn ire for going after Senator Jim Molan’s war record. He’s battled alone in the lower house for years, since his 2010 election to the seat of Melbourne, increasing his margin in the inner-city seat with each passing election.

editorial February 1, 2020

Tricks and spin

Scott Morrison has been criticised for his failures of leadership. For being devoid of the nous required to steer the country through crisis. But there are one’s personal shortcomings, and the choices one makes. Morrison made a choice not to plan for the bushfires, nor for his three years in power.

editorial January 25, 2020

Empathy deficit

What Scott Morrison lacks most is not intelligence or good advice: it’s empathy. He cannot feel what the country is feeling, and so he plays cricket and takes his kids to Hawaii. This is what happens when politics divorces itself from policy, when you campaign to win rather than to govern. Without a real agenda, you are left with personality, and it is not enough. The country’s anxieties seem alien to Morrison, because they are not his own. He knows he will be okay. He cannot grasp the scale of the calamity we face, because he does not feel it or feel for the people it will most affect.

editorial December 21, 2019

The Canada Project

After the United States resettlement deal it is likely there will be 250 refugees in Papua New Guinea and on Nauru, still unsettled and held in stasis. Often it feels as if there is nothing that can be done. In this case, however, there is. A little-known part of Canada’s immigration system allows for refugees to be sponsored for resettlement. For about $20,000, a person can be considered as part of a special intake. There is a quota each year, which is about to be refreshed. Some 200 places are expected to be available in 2020. So, as the year comes to an end, The Saturday Paper is raising money to ensure the people held by Australia in offshore detention are included in this sponsorship process.

editorial December 14, 2019

This is an emergency

We don’t know for sure if Nero played violin while Rome burnt. If it did happen, it was likely a different instrument, perhaps a kithara. But that other question – of whether a leader could be so frivolous and uncaring in the face of such catastrophe – was answered this week by Scott Morrison.

editorial December 7, 2019

Missing in action

The prime minister speaks of taking action. “Practical, meaningful action.” To buoy our economy, protect our land, lower emissions and create new jobs. On Thursday, as parliament hurtled to a close for the year, he took action – moving ruthlessly to push his union-busting bill through the house of representatives once more, undeterred by last week’s shock defeat in the senate.

editorial November 30, 2019

In a Taylor spin

The boys in the photo are still wearing their tuxedo jackets as they dive, arms tangled together, through the bonfire, and crash to the ground, unsinged. Others strip to their underwear to make the leap. One, perhaps not so lucky, is doused with a fire extinguisher by his peers. In the background, their boat is engulfed in flames, embers streaking the black night.

editorial November 23, 2019

Murdoch manifesto

“There are no climate change deniers around here,” says Rupert Murdoch. “I can assure you.” Except at The Australian: “Yes we have an early fire season, because we are in a drought, a bad drought, in some areas it is the worst since the Federation drought. There’s your clue, we had as bad or worse in the 1890s and 1900s.”

editorial November 16, 2019

A lonely place

According to the Department of Foreign Affairs “blue book” – given to the Morrison government after the election – the threat of “populism, nationalism and authoritarianism” is only growing in the region. “We need to work hard to respond to the challenges,” the document warns, “enhancing global co-operation and limiting coercive power.” The world it describes is a troubled one. Tensions are rising. Orthodoxies are breaking down.

editorial November 9, 2019

Everything is not okay

Labor’s campaign was flawed but its policies were right. Its failure came in acknowledging that the country needs to change. More than anything, Australians want a prime minister who covers for their shortcomings – who says not to worry, and that most of you will be okay.