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...

editorial July 11, 2020

A second chance

Re-entering lockdown, Victoria has an opportunity to correct the errors and overreach that marked its first failed attempt to contain Covid-19. The state was unlucky, no doubt, but its leaders were also unwilling to countenance any criticism. There was little patience for communities confused by mixed messaging, or the concerns of those who saw a law-and-order response when they hoped for one led by public health. Vital information was not shared in languages other than English until far too late, while Victoria Police issued fines in far higher numbers than any other state. It is not hard to imagine there was a relationship between the two.

health July 11, 2020

Labor scrapes through in Eden-Monaro

Four days after the voters of Eden-Monaro kept the marginal seat in opposition hands, the Reserve Bank governor summed up the nation’s predicament: we are all flying by the seat of our pants. Scott Morrison, too, put it succinctly: “This is a global...

diary July 11, 2020

Gadfly: Just squawk away, Renee

The Australian Federal Police has sent to the prosecutors its brief of evidence about the ABC’s reporting on the Afghan Files, the big story about alleged killings of unarmed civilians by Australian soldiers. It looks as though reporter Dan Oakes could be in the frame for bringing us the news, but not so his colleague Sam Clark. Anyway, it was the first big AFP announcement, following its raid on the ABC’s HQ, since former Bowen Hills Bugle political reporter Renee Viellaris took over as the federal plod’s director of strategic communications.

letters July 11, 2020

Sydney council to consult on statues

For many people in our city and across Australia, James Cook symbolises the lie of terra nullius, and the onset of violence against First Nations peoples, and centuries of dispossession (Open letter, “Relocate Cook statue”, July 4-10). This has been...

diary July 4, 2020

Gadfly: Jackson thrives

Where’s Kathy Jackson when you need her during a pandemic? It’s a cry Gadfly hears frequently as he gallivants around a boarded-up nation, so it’s timely to present a handy updated guide to events. Kathy was the national secretary of the Health Services Union of Australia, the outfit that represents a massive number of people who work in and around hospitals and nursing homes. As far back as August 2015, the Federal Court found Jackson had misappropriated union funds and ordered her to repay $1.4 million. Regrettably, she had been declared bankrupt two months earlier.

letters July 4, 2020

Aunty stands alone

Rick Morton analyses the problems of the ABC with clarity (“Exclusive: New govt report targets ABC”, June 27–July 3). Why should a report into the ABC, owned by the people, be written by a recent News Corp executive and have sections redacted? The...