editorial

editorial February 16, 2019

Our women

Scott Morrison says he will protect our women. Inherent in his choice of words is the paternalism of a prime minister who doesn’t think his party has a “women problem”, even as it sheds female MPs at record speed. Of a man who starts sentences that describe his concern about the harassment and abuse women face with the caveat, “As a father…”

editorial February 9, 2019

Loyal commission

Two numbers tell the same story. One is zero and the other is 19 billion. The first is the number of prosecutions recommended by the Hayne royal commission. The second is the amount invested in a record day for bank stocks following the release of its report. One is like the other: craven, predictable and depressing. The report is eviscerating, as were the hearings. Its recommendations are conservative, as was its commissioner.

editorial January 26, 2019

Cartoon characters

Morrison is concerned children are being taught to despise our history, but what he really fears is they are being taught it at all. His politics is dependent on an ahistorical vision of colonisation. To him, it doesn’t matter where Cook sailed or what actually happened on January 26. What matters is that the story remains simple and the power structures built from it do not change.

editorial February 2, 2019

The breakfast club

“Black children aren’t safe in their own homes.” It’s a line that stretches deep into this country’s history, stringing together atrocities to justify paternalism and refuse self-determination. Kennerley's comment is a familiar straw man, to reach for the worst abuse suffered by First Nations people and then use it to deny action on any other issues.

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 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.

editorial July 14, 2018

Bad eggs, Latham

On Twitter he is “Real Mark Latham”, as if the rest of the time it was an act. Unmasked, he is a Rivers catalogue of cruel misogyny and transphobic venom, a man who wears wraparound sunglasses and believes brown is colourful. He mocks schoolchildren and working mothers, disbelieves psychiatry and demands that everyone speak English. Mark Latham is a gout on our politics. But the whole Falstaffian body is set with pox. It is a picture of sad urges and failing organs. Its ills trace back to men such as Mark, to the basement out of which he now broadcasts, but they do not end there.

editorial July 7, 2018

Razing a voice

Mick Dodson says it was a door slammed. He says Malcolm Turnbull’s response to the Uluru Statement from the Heart was “deplorable”. Speaking at the National Press Club this week, he said Turnbull was guilty of “a gross distortion of what was said at Uluru and it’s shameful that it’s come from the head of the country, the person elected to lead the country”. This distortion was done by press release. The greatest consensus ever reached in Indigenous politics was dismissed by email.