diary July 20, 2019

Gadfly: Reinventing their spiel

“Cry Freedom” echoes through the wide, brown land as reptiles and hacks try to throw off the shackles of oppression. Some of them have been, or still are, Moloch employees whose newspapers cheered on the slate of overwrought post-September 11 national security laws that bit by bit tightened the noose around the reporting of politically sensitive matters that had received the green elephant stamp of “top secret”.

letters July 20, 2019

Preaching his values

Thanks to Tanya Levin (“Hillsong and a prayer”, July 13-19) for her analysis of Scott Morrison’s Pentecostalist affiliations. Australians have a right to know about their prime minister’s belief system, which is inseparable from the performance of...

editorial July 20, 2019

Serving justice

No dessert has entered the Australian public consciousness more aggressively than the towering croquembouche. George Calombaris called it one of the hardest challenges ever put to MasterChef contestants. Built on little more than air and sleight of hand, it foiled many an aspiring chef and seems to have inspired the Melbourne business operations of the celebrity chef’s sprawling restaurant empire.

immigration July 20, 2019

Scott Morrison faces Trump test

For 10 years the Rudd–Gillard–Rudd–Abbott–Turnbull wars roiled and now this week, suddenly, all was quiet. With parliament not sitting, Scott Morrison, unassailed at the top of his Liberal–National Coalition government, was serene in command. His...

law & crime July 20, 2019

Stopping coercive control and family violence

There is a deep underground in this country, invisible to the naked eye. More than two million women alive today have lived there, and countless children. Some have escaped. Some will never leave. Some won’t be allowed to leave. This is the world of...

ir June 22, 2019

The cost of Coalition tax cuts

The tax cuts impasse between the government and the opposition has opened the way for a familiar play from the senate crossbench. As Scott Morrison was basking in the warmth of a holiday in Fiji, it was the Centre Alliance senator Rex Patrick who...

editorial June 22, 2019

United we stand

Many at the time saw Australia’s response to the shooting down of MH17 as evidence of Tony Abbott’s potential statesmanship. History has shown it to be a triumph of Julie Bishop’s diplomacy. And it remains a vital reminder of the role organisations such as the United Nations can, and should, still play in our grand bargain.

religion June 22, 2019

Government services and religious freedom

It is a peculiar fact that during the same period the number of practising Christians went into sharp decline, the church grew to be larger than it has ever been. Proportionally fewer Australians now attend worship than at any other time in history...

letters June 15, 2019

Obfuscation over public interest

Thank you, Karen Middleton, for the next chapter in the history of Prime Minister Scott Morrison (“Fresh documents in Morrison’s sacking”, June 8-14). “The minutes of that meeting were provided under FOI, but mostly redacted…” This is yet another...

diary June 15, 2019

Gadfly: Security counsel

Senior members of the Commonwealth’s cop squad have been working overtime on coming up with fresh meanings for the phrase “national security”. To paraphrase Humpty Dumpty, it really means just what the government chooses it to mean, neither more nor less. Certainly it covers things such as bugging the Timor-Leste ministerial offices, or soldiers shooting the wrong people in Afghanistan, or plans by spooky public servants to spy on the entire population. All of that comes under the Humpty Dumpty definition, which really has nothing to do with national security at all, but more to do with government embarrassment.

law & crime June 15, 2019

Free speech, censorship and media raids

One of the first political books I bought was a faded copy of Australia’s Censorship Crisis , edited by Geoffrey Dutton and Max Harris. I picked it up more for its cover than its contents, and this turned out to be serendipitous. Though it was then...