letters February 16, 2019

Bipartisan agreement on torture

Every time I see a picture of Treasurer Josh Frydenberg (on the cover of No. 239, Karen Middleton, “The pain in Hayne stays mainly...”, February 9-15) I also think of Tanya Plibersek, two parliamentarians of the major parties who have refugee family...

diary February 16, 2019

Gadfly: Justice married

In a week of political panic stations it was touching to see news of Michael Kirby’s marriage to Johan van Vloten, 50 years after their first meeting on Tuesday, February 11, 1969, at the Bottoms Up Bar of the Rex Hotel in Kings Cross. It’s been onwards ever since, with Kirby’s vaulting career as a lawyer and a judge and Johan moving for a time into the newsagency business. On AIDS, discrimination, equality and a fair go even if you don’t have a go, Kirby was unbending, which brought him into conflict with some pretty grisly fossils on the bench.

immigration February 16, 2019

Morrison doubles down on security

What a week for the Morrison minority government. It started with the prime minister promising to keep Australians safe and secure. It ended with him and his government looking less assured they will be around long enough to deliver. Tuesday’s...

editorial February 16, 2019

Our women

Scott Morrison says he will protect our women. Inherent in his choice of words is the paternalism of a prime minister who doesn’t think his party has a “women problem”, even as it sheds female MPs at record speed. Of a man who starts sentences that describe his concern about the harassment and abuse women face with the caveat, “As a father…”

immigration February 16, 2019

A bill of human rights

The Australian parliament has taken decisive action to ensure sick refugees held in indefinite detention on Manus Island and Nauru receive prompt and proper medical treatment. Prime Minister Scott Morrison lost the first government vote in the house...

letters January 26, 2019

Response on West Papua

The Saturday Paper ’s article titled “Chemical weapons dropped in Papua” (December 22, 2018–January 25, 2019) is a good example of misleading and false news, channelling baseless allegations against the Indonesian government and the real and...

politics January 26, 2019

Foolish Endeavours

The Morrison government this week did its best to relive the shipwreck that Captain James Cook suffered almost 250 years ago. The prime minister spent much of the week in the run-up to Australia Day trying to reignite the culture wars and restart an...

editorial January 26, 2019

Cartoon characters

Morrison is concerned children are being taught to despise our history, but what he really fears is they are being taught it at all. His politics is dependent on an ahistorical vision of colonisation. To him, it doesn’t matter where Cook sailed or what actually happened on January 26. What matters is that the story remains simple and the power structures built from it do not change.

indigenous affairs January 26, 2019

Bloody Australia Day

When I wrote my debut novel, Terra Nullius , back in 2015, I couldn’t have imagined it would lead to January becoming a month during which I cannot breathe. It is January when I am busiest. While kids are on school holidays, and their parents take...

diary December 22, 2018

Gadfly: St Brutes yearbook

It’s the annual speech day at St Brutes, the very private non-selective school and training ground for future Nasty Party boiler room operatives and their underlings in Cockies Corner at the other end of the dorm. The headmaster, Mr Morrison, was hoping for a speech day built around the theme of “fair dinkum” – to reflect the authenticity of Australia and its values. A cat was set among the pigeons, though, when it came to light that “fair dinkum” was actually an authentic Chinese expression from the goldfields of the 1890s.

letters December 22, 2018

Independent advice required

Anne Summers makes an important observation in stating “it is easy to forget just how recently policy and politics became unhitched – if not unhinged” (The dead policy scrolls”, December 15–21). Summers provides a long list of policy-free areas of...