editorial

editorial November 17, 2018

Granting injustice

The euphemism in the documents calls the grants “departmental approaches”. Everywhere else in Indigenous affairs, the money has to be begged; here, it is given freely. Possibly because here it can be used to fight Indigenous interests. By Nigel Scullion’s own admission, the money was for “legal fees, effectively … to put forward a case of detriment to the land commissioner”. That is, to object to native title claims.

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 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 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 June 9, 2018

Trickle treaty

Malcolm Turnbull has shown he lacks the spirit or imagination to offer a referendum on the consensus reached in the Uluru statement. It is perhaps the greatest single failing of his prime ministership, a tenure marked by failings and failure. His hands must be sore from sitting on them.

editorial June 2, 2018

Death of the vile

To see One Nation break apart again is to be reminded of the brokenness of racism. Pauline Hanson’s is a dried-out vision of Australia, mean and unimaginative. It is a pleasure to see it fail. It is like watching a dirt clod give in to rain. Hers is a country of racist privilege, of conspiracy theories and clapped-out ideology. It is a godsend to see it founder.

editorial May 26, 2018

Dutton’s moral twilight

Salim Kyawning was a Rohingya refugee, the 14th person to die in offshore detention. It fell to a charity to tell his family of his death. The Home Affairs office had not bothered. It put out a single line statement: “This is a matter for the PNG government.” This was the suicide of a man transformed by cruelty into a non-person. He was killed by the instruments of Australia’s border protection policy.

editorial May 19, 2018

A sheep at the wheel

Even the farmers admit it is an increment – the decision by Malcolm Turnbull’s government not to ban live exports over summer, despite evidence of the risk to animals, despite footage of mass deaths and calls from vets to end the trade.The truth is, this is an industry of undue political clout. There are economic arguments against live exports, good ones. There are obvious welfare arguments, too.

editorial May 12, 2018

The cutting wedge

What this government hates is scrutiny. That’s what these cuts are about. This is the government whose communications minister is a card-carrying member of the Institute of Public Affairs, a body that lobbies for the ABC to be privatised. It is a government that hates, deeply hates, the public broadcaster.

editorial May 5, 2018

The trials of Pell

Pell is the most senior Catholic in the world to face court over allegations of child sexual abuse. The sombre process through which he now passes will decide the outcome of those allegations. The authority of the church rests uneasily on it. The statement from the Vatican was terse, perfunctory: “Last year, the Holy Father granted Cardinal Pell a leave of absence so he could defend himself from the accusations. The leave of absence is still in place.”