editorial

editorial December 22, 2018

The edge of chaos

Always, there was some spectre, some looming threat – a capricious American president, the North Korean nuclear arsenal, Russia’s cyber sabotage, the possibility of Brexit’s economic devastation, the inevitability of climate disaster. We lived, in 2018, at the edge of chaos. Faced with chaos, it is human to attempt to find order. The impulse is one that tends from sense towards containment, control. It is no coincidence this year of ataxia spurred authoritarianism.

editorial December 15, 2018

Mighty men of values

We know, now, a little more of what the election will look like. We know that it will be desperate. We know the Morrison government will do anything to win, except develop policies that address the concerns of the electorate. The stories are already being placed. In The Daily Telegraph is spurious legal advice that says Labor’s “softened border policy” would invite criminals into Australia.

editorial December 1, 2018

The man who wasn’t there

It is as if Scott Morrison is getting smaller. With each passing week, the member for Cook shrinks into his leadership. His government has lost its majority. It intends hardly to sit next year. Its early budget seems to promise a May election, and on all accounts Morrison will likely lose it. His prime ministership is set to last no more than nine months.

editorial December 8, 2018

Abbott’s tour of himself

Amid the chaos that was parliament’s final sitting day for the year, Tony Abbott got to his feet and cleared his throat. “Back when prime minister,” he said, introducing himself with a descriptor as unnecessary as it was telling of what was to come, “I used to observe that to live in Australia is to have won the lottery of life – and that’s true, unless you happen to be one of those whose ancestors have been here for tens of thousands of years.”

editorial November 24, 2018

Fear factory

Scott Morrison is afraid. He fears losing the prime ministership he fell into. He fears Muslims. He fears the looming threat of Australia being caught out with no baseload power. This week, the familiar spectre of gender stirred fear in our prime minister. Not the “gender whisperers” being deployed into our schools, but the choice by Tasmania to change its laws around gender on birth certificates.

editorial October 6, 2018

Searching for justice

It’s been a year, this weekend, since The New York Times published Jodi Kantor and Megan Twohey’s investigation into Harvey Weinstein’s decades-long abuse pattern of sexual harassment, assault and cover-up. A time before Weinstein’s abuses were known now feels like another life. And yet, in the slow push of social change, a year is nothing. Momentous events stretch time in strange ways.

editorial September 29, 2018

Aunty maimed

The chaos at the ABC this week is not simply one of personalities. It is the result of five years of concerted interference by government, of public criticism and censure. Perhaps the Coalition did not direct former chairman Justin Milne to “shoot” ABC political editor Andrew Probyn or “get rid of” chief economics correspondent Emma Alberici. They didn’t need to.

editorial September 22, 2018

Looking for justice

What would you do if a powerful figure sexually harassed or assaulted you? Who should you tell? Rounding on a year since The New Yorker and The New York Times first broke the Harvey Weinstein story, any consensus on the right answers to these questions seems a hollow possibility.

editorial September 15, 2018

News agency

It’s not just the Herald Sun. It’s a media that is fragile and defensive, built on unquestioned values. It’s the uncomfortable realisation that we can be wrong – that the ethics we hold dear as journalists were honed in rooms of men, drawn from the same class, the same race, the same schools.

editorial September 8, 2018

Gender troubles

Scott Morrison governs in the assured first person. His curiosity ends at the limits of his own experience. He speaks as a man whose imagination reaches as far as Kurnell. Like John Howard, he believes leading the country is the same as organising a barbecue. He speaks “as a parent”. For complex questions, he forms a quorum: “Jenny and I.” He defers to his faith. He rules in his own image.

editorial September 1, 2018

Winning ugly

The one constant in politics – holding power – has been cast aside. With it go the orthodoxies of logic and reason. This is about ideology. This is about giving up on the country, on what it wants, because a stubborn few cannot give up on coal and traditional values. The Coalition would sooner forsake electoral success than reckon with the realities of climate science or engage with the leadership asked for by multiculturalism.