editorial September 21, 2019

Hanson law review

No one could accuse Pauline Hanson of being a fair-weather critic of the Family Court. For the past 20 years, she has agitated for an inquiry into family law. This week, finally, she got her wish. In her parliamentary career, Hanson has never attempted to hide her views about this system: she considers it stacked against men.

editorial September 14, 2019

Warming to prayer

This is what happens when your chief climate policy is prayer. Rainforests burn in the spring. Bushfires rage in two states before it is even summer. Rivers are silted with dead fish. Drought wrecks the inland.

editorial August 31, 2019

Inhuman shield

Announcing the Religious Discrimination Act at Sydney’s Great Synagogue on Thursday, Attorney-General Christian Porter was at pains to stress the bill “does not create a positive right to freedom of religion” … There is no doubt this bill exists almost solely as a counter to the legalisation of same-sex marriage in Australia – a balancing of the scales, of sorts, an offering to those who fear the advancement of LGBTQIA rights will threaten their freedom.

editorial September 7, 2019

Press under fire

Scott Morrison says his government’s commitment to press freedom is absolute. On Thursday, after the federal police raided the Canberra home of Australian Signals Directorate employee Cameron Gill, the prime minister was defiant. “We are absolutely committed to press freedom,” he said, “and we are also absolutely committed to every Australian being subject to the rule of law.” But a government committed to freedom of the press doesn’t raid the homes of journalists.

editorial August 24, 2019

Vale Tim Fischer

Tim Fischer died this week, aged 73. The former Nationals leader was sick with an acute form of leukaemia. Many remembered him as idiosyncratic. It was a way of acknowledging that his graciousness and civility is uncommon in politics. Perhaps, even, it was out of place. Fischer stood out because he was so tall but also because he was so scrupulous. He understood service and made a life from it.

editorial August 17, 2019

Crowd cover

It’s an old, persistent lie: that traffic is a race issue, that failing infrastructure is the responsibility of migrants rather than the governments that build it. Said often enough, it allows politicians to blame congestion on people who look different. This is a useful trick and it’s one Scott Morrison is playing.

editorial August 10, 2019

Women’s fights

“Abortion re-establishes the patriarchy.” “Abortion has been a don’t ask; don’t tell issue for as long as I can remember. Why would any government want to legislate pregnancy termination?” If the arguments offered up by those opposed to the decriminalisation of abortion in New South Wales weren’t entirely circular, they were so twisted around themselves it was impossible to see the logic.

editorial August 3, 2019

Watchdog with teeth

ICAC has seen monumental success and failure in New South Wales. By no stretch of the imagination has it stamped out corruption in the state, but its reputation has always been formidable. No one covets the prospect of facing an ICAC investigation. An independent watchdog, with real power, which can do its work in public, changes the mathematics of corruption. The balance tips slightly towards risk from reward.

editorial July 27, 2019

Zero idea on suicide

Hypocrisy is claiming a plan to end suicide while scores of people self-harm in offshore detention. It is doing so while you ignore advice that says your own policies have caused this harm – that the men on Manus Island have one of the highest rates of mental illness in the world, and that most of these men were asymptomatic when they arrived.

editorial July 20, 2019

Serving justice

No dessert has entered the Australian public consciousness more aggressively than the towering croquembouche. George Calombaris called it one of the hardest challenges ever put to MasterChef contestants. Built on little more than air and sleight of hand, it foiled many an aspiring chef and seems to have inspired the Melbourne business operations of the celebrity chef’s sprawling restaurant empire.

editorial July 13, 2019

A matter of respect

The photo is red earth and a line of bodies, snaking the length of the frame. Climbers locked shoulder-to-shoulder in a desperate push to summit. They fill the surrounding campgrounds, and every motel for a hundred kilometres. Their rubbish on the roadside, their black waste dumped in the backyards of unsuspecting properties. For so long, the Anangu people have asked visitors not to climb Uluru. They never banned the practice, asking only for respect, “that, as a guest on Anangu land, you will choose to respect our law and culture by not climbing”. Wanyu Ulurunya tatintja wiyangku wantima.