editorial

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.

editorial July 6, 2019

Destroying Australia

And so it passes, the greatest assault on the safety net from which Australian life is built. Scott Morrison’s tax cuts are through and the revenue base that provides for health and education and social welfare is shredded. The legacy of the 46th parliament is there in its very first week: the destruction of the social compact that made this country stable.

editorial June 22, 2019

United we stand

Many at the time saw Australia’s response to the shooting down of MH17 as evidence of Tony Abbott’s potential statesmanship. History has shown it to be a triumph of Julie Bishop’s diplomacy. And it remains a vital reminder of the role organisations such as the United Nations can, and should, still play in our grand bargain.

editorial June 29, 2019

Maybe God didn’t make your penis

The defining feature of homophobia is that the people who hate you are picturing you having sex. Michael Kirby once made this point, although not as bluntly. The hatred is a kind of jealousy. The challenge of queer sex is a challenge to the notion that intimacy shared between a man and a woman is somehow special. It isn’t.

editorial June 15, 2019

Setting the record straight

The first missive from Sally McManus was brief. So veiled in its construction, the statement obscured the deeper issue with Setka. And in pushing to expel the union boss from the Labor Party, Anthony Albanese skirted the detail entirely.

editorial April 27, 2019

Mining both sides

Publicly, Bill Shorten said he doubted the Adani coalmine would go ahead but that he wouldn’t change the law to prohibit it. “I don’t think the project is going to materialise. The Adani mining company seems to have missed plenty of deadlines. It doesn’t seem to stack up financially, commercially or indeed environmentally.” This has been his line since, a way of avoiding the question on something he doesn’t think will happen. He won’t criticise the mine directly, but he says it needs to satisfy science and the environment. It also needs to be financially viable. In reality, it is none of these things.

editorial April 20, 2019

Nothing to see here

Scott Morrison is a man without promise or promises. It is not clear why he wants to lead the country. He has yet to lay out a plan for it and gives no sign that he will. When he talks about Bill Shorten, he warns Labor will change everything. His own undertaking is that he will not. His proposition is the status quo.

editorial April 13, 2019

Untold damages

Eryn Jean Norvill never wanted to be there. And yet there she was, sitting in the front row of the packed Sydney courtroom, waiting for the judgement to be handed down in Nationwide News Pty Limited v Rush. There she was, against her wishes, waiting to hear Justice Michael Wigney label her an incredible witness, one “prone to exaggeration and embellishment”.

editorial April 6, 2019

Turning a blind eye

On the United States news site The Verge, a story recently appeared, a months-long investigation, in which content moderators employed by Facebook detail the cruel nature of their work for the tech giant. Witness to the most violent impulses of humanity on a daily basis, they spoke of emotional strain, paralysing anxiety, panic attacks and even PTSD-like symptoms that have stemmed, they believe, from their work. Not least from the brutal videos and images they must review – one after another – for hours on end.

editorial March 30, 2019

Rise of the outsiders

In 2002, Mark Latham delivered the Menzies Lecture at London’s Kings College, canvassing the rise of Pauline Hanson, among other things. Pointing to the growing divide in our politics, he sought to explain her accumulation of power. “I would argue that the political spectrum is best understood as a struggle between insiders and outsiders,” he said, “the abstract values of the powerful centre versus the pragmatic beliefs of those who feel disenfranchised by social change.”

editorial March 23, 2019

Media’s new lie

There is an urgent desire to blame internet forums for Brenton Tarrant’s bent interpretation of the world. The bigger concern is that many of the thoughts expressed in his manifesto have appeared, in one form or another, on the opinion pages of most mainstream publications in this country. Tarrant is an aberration, as is all terrorism. But he is produced by a culture that has normalised hate, that is built from division, whose politics routinely exploits fear and whose press caters enthusiastically to it.