editorial June 19, 2021

Guilty of bravery

It is an absurd situation. Witness K has pleaded guilty for his role in exposing wrongdoing by the government. He is being sentenced over a crime Australia committed. In a little room in Canberra, behind black panels to conceal his identity, he spoke his first words in open court: “Guilty, your honour.”

editorial June 12, 2021

Inward bound

Some have tried to suggest Scott Morrison has turned away from the fearful “negative globalism” mindset that shaped his foreign policy while Donald Trump was in office. But the Australian prime minister arrives in Britain for this weekend’s G7 meeting very much a man whose first instinct remains to turn inward in a world that is reopening.

editorial June 5, 2021

An exit with no plan

Few gestures could better symbolise Australia’s capricious, feckless and ultimately pointless war in Afghanistan than the decision to close our embassy there with three days’ notice. If there were one, it would be the callousness of abandoning the many hundreds of Afghans who have worked with Australia in the country – and who now face the likely and murderous repercussions of the Taliban we failed to defeat.

editorial May 29, 2021

Jab, jab, on the hook

You could call it many things but the kindest is probably incompetence. Melbourne is once again in lockdown because of incompetence. Lying, Scott Morrison says: “Our best defence is the steadfast resilience of the Australian people.” He says the country will get through this outbreak by working together and staying focused on the problem, without mentioning that the problem is his handling of the vaccine rollout.

editorial May 15, 2021

Budget deficit

Josh Frydenberg mentioned climate change once in his budget speech. “Australia is playing its part on climate change, having met our 2020 commitments and on track to meet and beat our 2030 target,” he said, echoing the prime minister’s tired slogan. But the treasurer offered nothing to support this statement.

editorial May 15, 2021

Mass vax implosion

The Morrison government won’t say how much Covid-19 vaccine there is in the country. They won’t say to which states it has been sent or how much has been administered. When asked in private briefings, the answer is: “That’s information in confidence.” There is no public data to say why the rollout has stalled, or if it was hubs that produced a record day for vaccinations this week, or to show if that was related to supply. There is no data to say what is working and what is not.

editorial May 8, 2021

War games

All prime ministers are focused to some degree on being returned to office, but for Morrison it is everything. The time between polling days is a nowhere space to him. There are no great, animating policy issues; there is just winning. It is through this blinkeredness that we might understand Morrison’s approach to China.

editorial May 1, 2021

Hint and miss for climate targets

There is nothing clever about hinting at a target. Scott Morrison can smile and insinuate, but to the climate it makes no difference. His audio can be muted at a summit and it doesn’t matter because he’s not saying anything. This is how he governs.

editorial April 24, 2021

Labor must put up a fight

Labor is the line. The opposition is at pains to make clear it is not the government, and certain decisions are matters for government. This is true. But on the issue of climate change, the Morrison government is leaning its full weight into pushing Australia backwards.

editorial April 17, 2021

Facing the truth

The end of John Pat’s life was not captured on film. There was only the testimony of the horrified witnesses, which contrasted so starkly with the pleas of self-defence made by the police who beat the 16-year-old to death. But description of the officers’ brutality catalysed growing unrest about Indigenous deaths in custody into a national movement.

editorial April 10, 2021

High on his own supply

Scott Morrison says the issue is one of supply. If only the Europeans supplied our vaccines on time, the rollout would be on track. If only the states stopped hoarding vaccines. If only GPs administered the doses delivered to them. If only.