editorial

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 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 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 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 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 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 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 June 8, 2019

Getting to the truth

It is important to remember that these stories did not risk national security. They invited criticism, not danger. The raids on the ABC and the home of a News Corp reporter were about government embarrassment.

editorial June 1, 2019

Women at risk

The ritual has a familiar shape by now. Four women killed in Melbourne, four public deaths in less than a year. Eurydice Dixon, Aya Maasarwe, Natalina Angok and Courtney Herron. With each there was a shading in of the question of vulnerability – of the violence faced by women of colour, and international students, and the twin complications of addiction and homelessness. But all four of these women were killed by men.

editorial May 25, 2019

Pipe dreams

The Australian Dream was once a home you owned with a car in the driveway. It was the existence promised by Robert Menzies. The basic aspiration was for comfort, a place in the community, a sense of security. Very quietly, John Howard updated that vision. The houses became McMansions. The aspirations became exceptional.