editorial

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.

editorial March 21, 2020

Panic! At the Costco

Really, we should not be surprised. Panic buying isn’t an aberration – it’s the logical extension of a political system based entirely on selfishness and indifference, on the hoarding of wealth and property. It is what happens when government persuades the public that it is the problem.

editorial March 14, 2020

World goes viral

This was the week the virus tipped over, morphing from the biggest story in the world to the only story in the world. There was only the virus. And the fear and the panic, which have begun to take on a life of their own. The gap is troublesome – the vast chasm between the health threat posed by COVID-19 and the intense response provoked, so far beyond anything seen before.

editorial March 7, 2020

Waiting for bad news

The government will next week announce the details of a stimulus package it hopes can blunt the effects of COVID-19 on the Australian economy. But long before the first coronavirus case was confirmed in Wuhan, the Australian economy was giving off warning signs. And, for months, the government ignored these gasps and sputters.

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.