editorial

editorial November 10, 2018

Tactical assault

To glance at this week’s headlines was to see just how much Australian gender relations have shifted in the past year. No longer are we ignoring women’s stories – the approach is now one of control, minimisation and punishment.

editorial November 3, 2018

The dark room

When this story was published in 1973, it was as a thought experiment. The idea of perpetual suffering, forced on a child for the benefit of an otherwise benign society, of endless detention and terrible deprivation, was science fiction. And yet here we are. Even as the children are slowly pulled from Nauru, Peter Dutton defends the Omelas he has built. He refuses to accept there are humanitarian reasons for closing the camps.

editorial October 20, 2018

Prisoners’ dilemma

Psychiatrist Dr Beth O’Connor was Médecins Sans Frontières’ longest-serving mental health professional on Nauru until she left the island last month: “Held in indefinite detention and effectively in a perpetual state of limbo for the last five years, these people have been stripped of any hope for a meaningful future, resulting in shocking levels of severe depression and anxiety in the population – with many having lost the will to live.”

editorial October 27, 2018

Fair bunkum

The condescension in this video is not just to the Avrils and Colins who people Morrison’s Australia, whose bills and service records he uses as props. The condescension is to climate change and to energy policy. The price control is a fiddle: some bills will go down, others will go up. The cost to the environment is the cost of a country with no policy on climate change, willing to destroy the Earth for politics. “Renewables are great,” Morrison says, his expression unchanged, as if calibrating a polygraph. “But we’re also needing the reliable power when the sun isn’t shining and the wind isn’t blowing.”

editorial October 13, 2018

Faith palm

Asked if he were comfortable with a child being expelled from a school because of their sexuality, he said: “It’s existing law.” This is how faith works. It is a kind of surrender to that which has already been written down. In politics, it functions as a defence of that which cannot otherwise be defended – a perfect link back to the past and to the morals that resided there.

editorial August 25, 2018

Enter the void

It is not that the system fails to attract talent; it is that it seems to preclude it. If anything is to change, people from outside the machine need to run for parliament. People reading this need to run for parliament, people without patronage or preening expectation. People need to stand not out of self-interest but out of concern for the country in which they live. Our politics can no longer survive its own emptiness.

editorial August 18, 2018

100 women

There is a tendency in Australia to look at our history as a measured march towards some inevitable, fairer ideal. To indulge in the magical thinking that things just get better. The reality is that every step of progress in this country has been fought for, tooth and nail, and despite history’s affinity for rendering their leadership invisible, it has been disadvantaged minority communities that have started these movements for change.

editorial August 11, 2018

Australians all let us rue Joyce

That is the problem with Joyce: the politics never elevates above the schoolyard. He is a child and he is indulged by a system built for childish men. The bell he complains of is the one that asks him to vote on legislations, the one that encourages him to do his job. Urges call to him but duty is not one of them. Politics as Joyce describes it is without responsibility.

editorial August 4, 2018

Voice and ears and heart

Dimly, against the shuffling of papers, the Voice can be heard again. In a 165-page report, an interim document, the joint select committee on constitutional recognition relating to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples has resurrected what the prime minister has already once killed. This is a moment of national import. It is a second chance.

editorial July 28, 2018

Fairfax to middling

Journalism depends on diversity. It is too expensive a craft for a single company to do it alone. The merger of Fairfax Media and Nine Entertainment imperils hundreds of jobs. It also weakens our democracy. Our media is in terrible strife. The government is untroubled by this. Indeed, it has encouraged it. The reason for this is simple: The less the public knows, the better it is for politicians.

editorial July 21, 2018

Gang of fear

Christopher Pyne doesn’t understand the question. That’s the point of a dog whistle: not everyone can hear it. A journalist asks if he is afraid to go out to restaurants in Melbourne, and he looks confused. “No. Why?” He looks the other way, laughs. “Should I be?” The journalist explains that the prime minister has repeated this claim, first made by Peter Dutton, that people fear going out to dinner in Victoria.