health March 28, 2020

The pandemic we had to have

Over the past 18 years or so we’ve had periodic public health warnings about one or another bad bug that’s out to get us. In 2002-03, there was severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS-1), H5N1 bird flu in 2002, the H1N1 swine flu pandemic in 2009...

health March 28, 2020

Government’s crashing failure in face of crisis

If anything crystallises the brutal impact of the coronavirus crisis in Australia, it is the thousands queued outside Centrelink offices around the country this week. The lines began forming the day after the prime minister announced that vast...

editorial March 28, 2020

The sheer scale of it

Perhaps the government simply cannot visualise it. It is possible they are unable to fathom what is happening, to appreciate its size. Morrison’s response to this crisis is piecemeal and shambolic. His press conference on Tuesday night was the sort of policy improvisation that could have started with the words “Yes, and…” The prime minister is balancing the health of the public against the health of the economy, and doing neither very well.

diary March 28, 2020

Gadfly: Trump’s life or debt decision

One savvy business sage who this week was in Gadfly’s ear thinks the fast-failing enterprises in the United States might see Bone Spurs Trump become the first president in office to go bankrupt. The value of his gilded city towers and hotels is crashing with each passing moment and given they are leveraged to buggery with either Deutsche Bank or the Russian mafia, the whole rickety edifice will soon be underwater.

letters March 28, 2020

Echoes of Vietnam War

Your article on alleged murders by Special Air Service personnel contained a couple of depressingly familiar points (Karen Middleton, “Defence braces for SAS murder charges”, March 21-27). One, Australian soldiers were frustrated at having to...

health March 14, 2020

Morrison announces ‘Team Australia’ stimulus

The coronavirus-induced panic that has caused the great run on toilet paper is not confined to the herd instinct of millions of shoppers. Fear of being the first government to preside over the end of 30 years of uninterrupted growth is gripping...

editorial March 14, 2020

World goes viral

This was the week the virus tipped over, morphing from the biggest story in the world to the only story in the world. There was only the virus. And the fear and the panic, which have begun to take on a life of their own. The gap is troublesome – the vast chasm between the health threat posed by COVID-19 and the intense response provoked, so far beyond anything seen before.

diary March 14, 2020

Gadfly: Bench warning

Those north Queensland beaks sure know how to dish out justice to anti-coal protesters chaining themselves to cattle grids or concrete drums to hamper workers turning up for fossil fuel duties.

letters March 14, 2020

Rage against the PM

Thank you, Rick Morton, for your insightful summary of the prime minister’s “world of truth”: “Morrison’s dislike [of answering questions] is more intense, more seething. It is barely controlled contempt.” (“A fraction too much fiction”, March 7-13...

politics March 7, 2020

A fraction too much fiction

The truth, in Scott Morrison’s world, is like light. With the right forces, it can be fractured or bent out of shape. Sometimes it changes of its own accord, as the sun charts a course across the sky. As a reporter, I have followed Morrison’s...

editorial March 7, 2020

Waiting for bad news

The government will next week announce the details of a stimulus package it hopes can blunt the effects of COVID-19 on the Australian economy. But long before the first coronavirus case was confirmed in Wuhan, the Australian economy was giving off warning signs. And, for months, the government ignored these gasps and sputters.