Immigration June 19, 2021

Behrouz Boochani
The Murugappan family and immigration detention

The decision to transfer one of the daughters of the Murugappan family to Perth Children’s Hospital sent shock waves across Australia and abroad. Growing public pressure forced the Australian government to release the whole family into Perth community …

Law & Crime June 12, 2021

Richard Ackland
Bernard Collaery and Witness K

In Franz Kafka’s book The Trial the accused, Josef K, manages to arouse the court’s anger by loudly complaining about the absurdity of the proceedings and the accusation itself, if he could only understand it. The book is alternatively macabre …

Indigenous Affairs June 5, 2021

Richard Bell
The white business of Aboriginal art

It’s been almost 20 years since I wrote “Bell’s Theorem”, an essay about Aboriginal art and the Western systems that make it a white business. The essay finished with a simple observation: “There is no hope.” Well, have a look around us. …

Indigenous Affairs May 29, 2021

Megan Davis
The Uluru statement, four years on

This year marks the beginning of the second decade of constitutional recognition. Who could’ve known when Julia Gillard created the expert panel, at the urging of the Greens and independents Rob Oakeshott and Tony Windsor, that 10 years, seven processes …

Law & Crime May 15, 2021

Richard Ackland
Defamation actions by politicians

Had Christian Porter carefully considered the sorry history of defamation actions brought by politicians against the media, he may have paused and pondered for longer. While few things are certain in life, in defamation actions all bets are off. Porter …

Environment May 22, 2021

Chris Wallace
Labor’s election chances

It is two years this week since Labor’s shock federal election loss, and the consequences are increasingly serious. Falling wages for Australian workers are a conscious part of the Morrison government’s 2021 budget strategy – quite a feat given …

Religion May 8, 2021

James Boyce
Scott Morrison and Pentecostalism

The release of an unauthorised video of the prime minister preaching at his church’s national conference last month has given Australians a glimpse of an unknown man in another world. Here was a leader clearly at home with his people, using mysterious …

paul bongiorno

Media June 19, 2021

Scott Morrison and QAnon

The relationship between the Australian prime minister and the country’s highest-profile devotee of the QAnon conspiracy cult became even more problematic this week for the absent Scott Morrison. The Labor opposition seized on revelations in the much …

Immigration June 12, 2021

The human toll of border protection

A picture is worth a thousand words and can dramatically influence public opinion. That realisation has been a motivating factor in the way the Morrison government and its predecessors have sought to shield from public gaze the cruelty of Australia’s …

Environment June 5, 2021

PM hits spin cycle again on rollout

At the Liberal Party’s recent annual gabfest in Canberra, the prime minister morphed into one of recent history’s more comical figures as he waxed lyrical about his government’s amazing successes. The figure that sprung to mind was “Baghdad Bob”. …


Editorial June 19, 2021

Guilty of bravery

It is an absurd situation. Witness K has pleaded guilty for his role in exposing wrongdoing by the government. He is being sentenced over a crime Australia committed. In a little room in Canberra, behind black panels to conceal his identity, he spoke his first words in open court: “Guilty, your honour.”

Editorial June 12, 2021

Inward bound

Some have tried to suggest Scott Morrison has turned away from the fearful “negative globalism” mindset that shaped his foreign policy while Donald Trump was in office. But the Australian prime minister arrives in Britain for this weekend’s G7 meeting very much a man whose first instinct remains to turn inward in a world that is reopening.

Editorial June 5, 2021

An exit with no plan

Few gestures could better symbolise Australia’s capricious, feckless and ultimately pointless war in Afghanistan than the decision to close our embassy there with three days’ notice. If there were one, it would be the callousness of abandoning the many hundreds of Afghans who have worked with Australia in the country – and who now face the likely and murderous repercussions of the Taliban we failed to defeat.


Diary June 19, 2021

First they
came for Friendlyjordies…

A test of one’s commitment to free speech isn’t fighting for the speech you like but the speech you don’t like. It is inevitable that censorship encroaches from the latter to the former. Never has that maxim been tested more, though, than in the case of Friendlyjordies v the State of New South Wales.

Diary June 12, 2021

Paterson Twitters on

Electing a political representative is neither a power lightly given nor one that should be casually accepted. Yet too often the personal indulgences of politicians are overlooked. A combination of apathy and lethargy seemingly dictates our lack of response to such leadership failures. As such, it is understandable so few politicians even bother pretending to care for the needs of their electorate. Every now and then though, a politician remembers their duty. Driven by a sense of purpose, or perhaps a deep-seated respect for public office, they stand up and make the moral choice: they trawl through the tweets of ABC journalists to see what they’ve liked or retweeted.

Diary June 5, 2021

Most cursed city

Remember that sound you heard on Wednesday, the one the seismologists registered, which startled flocks of birds into flight and shattered spectacles and wine glasses? That was Melbourne. That was five million people cursing aloud when they were told that lockdown would be extended for another week.


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Letters June 19, 2021

A fair go for Murugappan family

Rebekah Holt does us a service in elaborating the plight of the Biloela family and the suffering of their young daughters (“Sick, trapped, scared: Priya speaks from Perth hospital”, June 12-18). Discomfiting as it is, it says something about the country …

Letters June 12, 2021

Failing Afghanistan

The Morrison government is sliding out of Afghanistan with its tail between its legs (Karen Middleton, “Exclusive: US warned Australia on Kabul closure”, June 5-11). In so doing it is leaving Afghan families who worked with and for Australia in terrifying …

Letters June 5, 2021

Standard of proof

John Kunkel, the prime minister’s chief of staff, wrote that prime ministerial staff must “hold themselves to the highest standards” in regard to an allegation of backgrounding of Brittany Higgins’ partner by Scott Morrison’s staff (Karen Middleton, …