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.

editorial February 20, 2021

Nats off the planet

Bridget McKenzie says the Nationals are “very, very keen to make a positive, progressive contribution to the energy and emissions debate”. All the evidence to hand suggests this is not true.

editorial February 13, 2021

After Eddie

Eddie McGuire is not the end, as much as the AFL would like him to be. A culture as toxic as the one described in the report that finally ended his 22-year tenure as Collingwood president cannot be seeded and maintained by one man.

editorial February 6, 2021

Stalling on the environment

Six months ago, Bob Brown launched a legal challenge many said would rival his storied campaign to save the Franklin River. If successful, the case would have invalidated Tasmania’s regional forestry agreement, which, like other such agreements around the country, is exempted from Australia’s key environmental law – the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act. This week, the Federal Court ruled against Brown and his foundation. Tasmania’s agreement will hold.

editorial January 30, 2021

Spit into a milkshake

Sometimes people end up where they belong. This is not how Tony Abbott became prime minister but it is how he found himself working at the Institute of Public Affairs. That a man can go from leading the country to making Facebook videos for a right-wing think tank is evidence of the great lack in our politics.

editorial January 23, 2021

A useful excuse

The iconic image is of Kenneth Hayne in an office with Josh Frydenberg. The former High Court justice is presenting the treasurer with the final report of his royal commission into banking. A photographer asks if the two men might shake hands. Hayne does not break eye contact with the table. He says, simply: “Nope.” Two years on, this grim photo opportunity is perhaps the most lasting outcome of the banking royal commission.

editorial December 19, 2020

Sliding towards zero

The quality that makes Scott Morrison uniquely equipped to lead Australia in 2021 is his preternatural inability to feel shame. There were hints of this early on – in the treasurer who held aloft a lump of coal in parliament, the Immigration minister with an almost absurd commitment to the phrase “on-water matters” – but since his elevation to the prime ministership, it has become the defining feature of his government.