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.

letters August 17, 2019

Where to draw the line

It was quite revealing to analyse the empirical evidence in your article “Murdoch media feeds far-right recruitment” by Rick Morton (August 10-16). The disturbing influence of conservative think tanks such as the Institute of Public Affairs and...

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...

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.

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 10, 2019

Gadfly: Furphy Brown

Sadly, Gadfly’s invitation to hear Minister for Minerals Matteo Canavani at Chuckles Henderson’s Institute got lost in the mail. It promised to be a spellbinding evening, with the topic “The Link Between Pope Pius XI and Bob Brown”. The theological possibilities are intriguing, especially when you consider Pius XI – formerly Achille Ratti – and the regime of Benito Mussolini had a lot in common.

letters August 10, 2019

Independent thinkers

I note that Richard Ackland believes that “full disclosure” requires that journalists and commentators should declare any association with the spouse or partner of a politician they discuss on a program such as Insiders (Gadfly, “Grassy-eyed Gus”,...

economy August 10, 2019

Australia’s trade balancing act

The Trump presidency has been a wild ride for its ally Australia, and is becoming dangerously more bizarre by the day. Canberra is being railroaded into a confrontation with Beijing, which is clearly not in its economic or strategic interests. The...

editorial August 10, 2019

Women’s fights

“Abortion re-establishes the patriarchy.” “Abortion has been a don’t ask; don’t tell issue for as long as I can remember. Why would any government want to legislate pregnancy termination?” If the arguments offered up by those opposed to the decriminalisation of abortion in New South Wales weren’t entirely circular, they were so twisted around themselves it was impossible to see the logic.

politics August 10, 2019

The legacy of Graham Freudenberg

War is readily characterised as a failure of reason. But that’s not quite true. It is, in fact, a failure to hear reason. The recent loss of Graham Freudenberg – Australia’s greatest speechwriter – compels us once again to listen. We owe him that...