opinion

opinion

diary August 8, 2020

Gadfly: Peas in a podcast

It was quite something to tune in to the first episode of Bunter and Georgina Downer’s geopolitical podcast, where they discussed the recent AUSMIN meeting, the upcoming United States presidential election and the future of war. Father and daughter get along famously as they take us on a wide sweep through the trickiest global thickets, with memos about Condoleezza Rice’s determination to play golf, China’s dominance in the rare earth market, Joe Biden’s “flaky” interviews, the Trans-Pacific Partnership, fishing quotas in British waters and Russia’s anti-satellite rocket program.

letters August 8, 2020

Spending, yes, but on what?

Yes, a sovereign government always spends and thus creates money. Modern monetary theory (MMT) is a version of Keynesian policies and its popularity is welcome (Mike Seccombe, “Could Frydenberg ease this crisis by printing money?”, August 1-7). But...

editorial August 8, 2020

Bingo at the Styx

Andrew Bolt has made a career finding vulnerable people and devising new ways of punishing them. When you consider this, his views on the elderly are not surprising, just inhumane. Bolt doesn’t want the old to die, but he believes we overstate the tragedy of their deaths. “Note: 40 per cent of aged-care home residents die within nine months. The average stay is just under three years,” he writes. “So Victoria’s bans are doing huge damage to – essentially – save aged-care residents from dying a few months earlier.” Quixotically, the column is titled “How to save Victoria from the coronavirus”.

law & crime August 8, 2020

Policing as part of the national psyche

There are two striking aspects of Australia’s response to coronavirus: the first is that it’s being increasingly led as a police issue, and the second is that this is happening while the rest of the world works to reform and curtail police powers...

politics August 8, 2020

Morrison backtracks on WA border closure

Scott Morrison keeps misreading the mood of a nation gripped by fear. Nowhere is this more obvious than his now-abandoned legal case against state border closures – or, to be more precise, against the lockouts in the Labor-governed states of Western...

diary August 24, 2019

Gadfly: Wrangling a Parrot

The week belonged to the Parrot, the hero of Struggle Street. He was up to his old attention-grabbing schtick: vile remarks, followed by public fury, doubling down, a tight-lipped “apology”, then threats from management that this was his “last chance”. There was a special twist on this occasion – Jones complained the ABC’s Media Watch didn’t broadcast all of his comments about Jacinda Ardern. If there’s anything the Parrot likes, it’s the full context of his unvarnished misogynistic diatribes.

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.

media August 17, 2019

Press freedom and Hastie words on China

Whoever chose the venue for the first day of the federal parliamentary inquiry into press freedom had a sense of humour. At least, it tickled the funny bones of journalists assigned to the story when they learnt the inquiry was to be held at the New...

indigenous affairs August 17, 2019

Adam Goodes and writing a new Australia

There are those people who can get away with saying things others dare only to think. That’s Gilbert McAdam. The former AFL player has a cheeky glint in his eye; he always looks as if he’s going to put a comforting arm around your shoulder and draw...

indigenous affairs August 17, 2019

Protecting the Djab Wurrung trees

The impact of the colonial invasion on Aboriginal peoples was never swifter nor more brutal than in western Victoria. The deep volcanic soils and gentle rolling hills of the region, combined with active land management by thousands of generations of...

diary August 17, 2019

Gadfly: Raising the steaks

Well, that was a fine start to the post-Hayne banking royal commission litigation. The regulator, the Australian Securities and Investments Commission, went down in a heap in its action against Westpac, where it alleged the bank was in breach of responsible lending laws in relation to more than 260,000 home loan applicants. ASIC claimed the lending formula applied by the bank meant borrowers could be led into hardship because their ability to service the loan was insufficiently appraised. Not at all, said Justice Nye Perram in the Federal Court. Borrowers could simply refine their spending habits when times got tough, citing a money-saving move away from wagyu and shiraz to something more affordable – Spam and rice, perhaps.