law & crime

law & crime July 17, 2021

Saving Tasmania’s Tarkine rainforest

What has happened to the Bob Hawke standard of prime ministerial courage, the one that saw him safeguard Australia’s environment and Indigenous heritage? Hawke’s first act as prime minister in 1983 was to save the Franklin River in Tasmania. In 1987...

law & crime July 10, 2021

The growth of digital surveillance

When Prime Minister Scott Morrison fronted up to the press conference to announce the outcome of Operation Ironside last month, he seemed even more pleased with himself than usual. Hundreds of alleged offenders had been charged and millions of...

defence July 3, 2021

Investigative reporting and defamation

The Ben Roberts-Smith case may be the greatest show in town, yet the consequences for the media defendants cannot be overstated. The future of investigative reporting is held in the balance. It may not yet have sunk in how significant the case is to...

immigration June 19, 2021

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...

law & crime June 12, 2021

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 and...

indigenous affairs June 5, 2021

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. The planet...

law & crime May 15, 2021

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...

law & crime April 24, 2021

Teaching young people about consent

Content warning: This article includes discussion and depiction of sexual violence. Australia faces a reality where porn has become young people’s choice for sex education – not because it’s a good educator, but because it’s better than what else is...

indigenous affairs April 10, 2021

Lessons from a decade as an Aboriginal cop

Content warning: this piece contains the names of Aboriginal people who are deceased. I spent 10 years as a police officer, working in Queensland. My book, Black and Blue , recounts my time in the police as an Aboriginal woman, and my life as a...

law & crime April 3, 2021

Government reset on women

All governments have horror stretches; the Morrison government is certainly no exception, as the past six weeks attest. But it is how governments deal with these political crises that can seal or save their fate. The Americans have a colourful turn...

law & crime March 27, 2021

Government’s bailout scuppered

The Morrison government resembles a sinking ship in one of those pirate movies where practically everything, including the cannons, is thrown overboard in an attempt to stay afloat. And there has been a good deal of ballast unloaded in this sitting...