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 April 3, 2021

Home without a heart

“You have every right to come home,” the prime minister told the more than 30,000 Australians stranded overseas in December last year. He promised to get as many as possible – if not all – home by Christmas. In the months since, the numbers have hardly fallen.

editorial March 27, 2021

Taking the lead

It is difficult to keep ahead of federal parliament’s cascade of scandals. Even for the prime minister, who has been dragged into this fray he so desperately wanted to keep at arm’s length. He is visibly flustered; perhaps he truly did not realise the rot went so deep. But ignorance is not an excuse, not for a leader of a country.

editorial March 20, 2021

Cormann evolution

The moment that has really followed Mathias Cormann into his role as secretary-general of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development happened while he was still in opposition. It was 2011 and he was trying to frame the calamity of climate change as a cost-of-living issue.

editorial November 21, 2020

Genie in the subtle energy lamp

It’s not only Pete Evans. He’s just the untreated symptom of a politics that cannot deal with complexity. It is a politics without any real constituency, stretching and searching to find something that might give it power.

editorial November 14, 2020

What rhymes with colonial theft?

It is striking that this week, NAIDOC Week, the most substantial government discussion of Indigenous rights was the New South Wales premier proposing we change the word “young” to “one” in the national anthem, as if the legacy of colonial theft could be solved in half-rhymes.

editorial November 7, 2020

Often a truer word spoken

Democracy is fragile, just as truth is. Donald Trump has no respect for either. He has set about dismantling both. Scott Morrison surely must value at least the former, although he utterly failed to defend it this week.

editorial October 31, 2020

Killing a culture

“We need to be proud today,” Premier Daniel Andrews told Victorians as he announced an end to 111 days of lockdown. But there were no celebrations at the Djab Wurrung Heritage Protection Embassy, where for more than two years, those camped at the site have peacefully guarded hundreds of sacred trees and protested their planned destruction. On Monday, as the premier spoke, one of these trees was felled to make way for the expansion of the Western Highway.

editorial October 24, 2020

In our Defence

The Australians had seven prisoners. Afghans, captured during a drug raid in the country’s war-torn Helmand province; hogtied, hands bound behind their backs. Their mission complete, the soldiers were awaiting a United States aircraft to pick them up. What happened next remains unproved, but the recollection of one US soldier is chilling.

editorial October 17, 2020

Taylor’s super grass

Imagine a federal minister who has a stake in a company alongside other members of his family. Imagine that company is accused of illegally poisoning more than 28 hectares of critically endangered grassland. Imagine the minister talks to senior officials in the office of the future treasurer.