letters August 1, 2020

Morrison’s choice

Let me get this straight. Neville Power is one of the least narcissistic chief executives, but it’s his way or the highway. He speaks respectfully to Aboriginal people, but doesn’t want to pay royalties to them. He is poor at consultation and can’t...

politics August 1, 2020

The Canberra–Washington bubble

Amid a once-in-a-century pandemic that has closed borders and deflated economies, two of Australia’s most senior cabinet ministers flew to Washington this week for talks with their American counterparts. The day they arrived, Washington, DC,...

economy August 1, 2020

The true cost of a traumatised nation

There is a famous thought experiment, known as “the trolley problem”, that asks us to imagine ourselves driving a trolley – or a tram, for Australians – and having to choose between staying on the current track and running over five innocent people...

editorial August 1, 2020

The turning point

It is difficult to better Tom Calma’s original formulation. In 2005, as Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander social justice commissioner, he said this: “It is not credible to suggest that one of the wealthiest nations in the world cannot solve a health crisis affecting less than 3 per cent of its citizens.” Calma was pushing for targets to Close the Gap. Three years later, he would have them. Fifteen years later, none of the targets would be met. This is not credible. It cannot be.

health August 1, 2020

Aged-care failings hurt Morrison

Scott Morrison went into disaster management mode this week as the coronavirus pandemic came awfully close to home, both personally and politically. The “catastrophe”, as his political opponents described it, was the Covid-19 outbreak spreading...

diary August 1, 2020

Gadfly: Kiwis flying high

As went to bed on Friday, 649 new Covid-19 cases were confirmed in Australia in the previous 24 hours, bringing the total for the past seven days to 3513. The majority of those were in Victoria, with new hotspots in some restaurants and gyms in Sydney’s Potts Pointless, which looks like the Nile Delta in terms of population density. The total confirmed cases in the Wide Brown Land stood at 16,904, and the death toll at 196. Over the way in New Zealand, the numbers look miles better. On Friday the number of active cases fell by four, to 20, with the total at 1560 and 22 deaths.

diary July 25, 2020

Gadfly: Knock on Woodside

The deep state’s spidery fingers are here, there and everywhere. Bernard Collaery would be all too familiar with their reach. As part of his defence in the secret prosecution that the Commonwealth has brought against him for allegedly revealing the bugging of Timor-Leste’s ministerial offices, his lawyers subpoenaed documents from Woodside, the oil and gas producer with a hefty stake in the Timor Sea’s Greater Sunrise gas field.

letters July 25, 2020

Catching a break on Covid-19

Rick Morton’s “How the second wave broke” (July 18-24) references a feeling any keen surfer knows all too well when surfing waves outside their comfort zone. Without warning, the first wave of the set always looms frighteningly large, spurring...

law & crime July 25, 2020

Speaking out for criminalised women

Tabitha Lean When I came out of prison, I noticed there was a concerted censoring of my voice every single time I wanted to speak out about my experiences within the criminal punishment system. This came at me in many ways – aggressively, subtly and...

economy July 25, 2020

Economy in the deep freeze

Treasurer Josh Frydenberg’s hands were blue as he stood behind his lectern, physically distanced from Scott Morrison in the prime minister’s courtyard on Tuesday. The pair were holding an outdoor news conference on an icy Canberra morning, and...

editorial July 25, 2020

A hostile environment

When the government tapped businessman Graeme Samuel to undertake a year-long review of the nation’s foremost environmental law, it may not have foreseen such a candid appraisal. The task set for the former Australian Competition and Consumer Commission chairman was clear: “tackle green tape and deliver greater certainty to business groups, farmers and environmental organisations”, in that order. But Samuel’s interim review, released this week, is scathing. The Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation (EPBC) Act, he found, is not fit for purpose.