opinion

opinion

diary December 19, 2020

Gadfly: Speech day at St Brutes

“Thank you, Reverend Pastor Houston, for those prayers and your message about rich men walking upright through the eye of a needle, with or without a camel. Boys, remember the pastor’s encouraging words about how religion and real estate can work together in the name of our Lord.” 

letters December 19, 2020

Mungo’s sharp wit will be missed

Mungo MacCallum will be missed by all who know the joy of words (Editorial, “Mungo MacCallum 1941-2020”, December 12-18). His acerbic wit in dedicating to Spooner some of his cleverest crossword clues has been a constant source of enjoyment. I read...

editorial December 19, 2020

Sliding towards zero

The quality that makes Scott Morrison uniquely equipped to lead Australia in 2021 is his preternatural inability to feel shame. There were hints of this early on – in the treasurer who held aloft a lump of coal in parliament, the Immigration minister with an almost absurd commitment to the phrase “on-water matters” – but since his elevation to the prime ministership, it has become the defining feature of his government.

health December 19, 2020

A health system exposed

In March, researchers from the University of Melbourne and the Peter Doherty Institute for Infection and Immunity presented stark pandemic modelling to the federal government. Made public on April 7, it showed that “an unmitigated Covid-19 epidemic...

environment December 19, 2020

Big holes in the Coalition’s pre-election bucket list

As the year like no other draws to an end, the challenges and crises it presented have highlighted the nation’s strengths and dramatised its weaknesses. Facing up to these realities will be particularly daunting for our political leaders as they...

diary December 12, 2020

Gadfly: Flint’s tone deafness

Until he popped up on Monday night’s Media Watch, Gadfly thought Emeritus Professor David Flint must have disappeared from the mortal coil. But there he was looking as splendid as a pox doctor’s apprentice on Sky “News” telling that other old stager Alan (The Parrot) Jones that Joe Biden’s election victory was a fraud, a “self-evident” fraud.

letters December 12, 2020

NDIS changes not needed

I thank Rick Morton for his incisive article regarding the potential changes to the National Disability Insurance Scheme assessment protocol (“Exclusive: The seven-year plot to undermine the NDIS”, December 5-11). As a mother of a participant and an...

editorial December 12, 2020

Mungo MacCallum (1941–2020)

What made Mungo MacCallum special, one of the things, was that for all the bewilderment and dismay he felt looking at politics he never lost his sense of clarity. If John Howard was the most effective politician of the past two decades, Mungo’s preferred description of him was the most enduring: “an unflushable turd”.

religion December 12, 2020

Christchurch massacre: an Australian crime

Husna Ahmed was a wife and mother who migrated from Bangladesh to New Zealand, where she used to teach children and help to care for the elderly at her local mosque. When the Australian terrorist began to slaughter the fellow members of her...

politics December 12, 2020

PM’s year-end review masks ongoing woes

The prime minister was more the circuit preacher than “Scotty from marketing” as he addressed the final Coalition party room meeting of the year. His stirring words of self-congratulation were tempered with a gentle reminder they all needed to stay...

diary December 5, 2020

Gadfly: The Fletcher, Christian show

There has been altogether too much tedious communication from Communications Minister Paul Fletcher, the man with a permanent hangdog expression. Drawing from the playbook of Richard Alston, a Howard-era Communications minister obsessed that Aunty was not 195 per cent behind the glorious battle for Iraq, Fletcher is stamping his foot and demanding answers from the ABC board to 15 silly questions about Four Corners’ “Canberra bubble” show.