rural

rural July 3, 2021

Barnaby Joyce divides again

The Morrison government was brought to the brink of collapse this week in a confrontation between the prime minister and reinstalled Nationals leader Barnaby Joyce. And while Scott Morrison emerged the undisputed winner after bruising negotiations...

rural May 29, 2021

Joel Fitzgibbon and Victoria’s virus crisis

Scott Morrison has found a very useful ally in an unlikely place. His name is Joel Fitzgibbon, opposition member for the New South Wales seat of Hunter, and the prime minister is certainly grateful for his contribution. The veteran Labor member,...

rural May 22, 2021

Jumping on the campaign trail

A government doesn’t spend $100 billion in a budget addressing every political problem, either of its own making or imposed on it, and leave anything to chance. Scott Morrison certainly didn’t this week. No sooner had parliament adjourned than he...

rural May 23, 2020

China blunders and the fallout

Just at the moment the government claimed vindication for a big win on the world stage, China ridiculed its grandstanding. A terse, one-paragraph statement from its Canberra embassy called Australia’s response “a joke”. If anything encapsulates how...

rural February 1, 2020

Scott Morrison’s rebranding mission

Scott Morrison hates the pejorative nickname that has taken hold on social media. “Scotty from Marketing” was conferred on him by the satirical magazine The Betoota Advocate . The moniker has gained currency because it captures the growing gap...

rural October 5, 2019

Coalition flailing on drought

Prime ministers do their best to hide it, but the fact is governing involves mostly flying by the seat of your pants. And this is particularly true for the Morrison administration, now into its sixth month after its surprise election win. It is...

rural March 16, 2019

Joyce’s war on metropolitan Liberals

“Stare the bastards down, Malcolm, they have nowhere to go.” This was the advice from two of Malcolm Turnbull’s closest allies given to the newly installed Liberal leader immediately after the September 2015 coup. The Nationals were holding out for...

rural October 13, 2018

How climate change policy helps farmers

Drought is ravaging the land. Large swaths of eastern Australia are experiencing some of the worst seasons on record. Frosts have wiped out large areas of crops in Western Australia, southern New South Wales and Victoria. Hail has beaten crops into...

rural June 9, 2018

The latest Barnaby Joyce fallout

This past week marks a watershed in Australian politics. Politicians’ private lives are no longer off limits. We have arrived at the same place as the United States. But unlike the Americans, it isn’t coming from a puritan tradition; it’s coming...

rural December 9, 2017

Fighting the Santos pipeline

Last week I was working with my son Andrew on our farm 25 kilometres north of Coonamble when he received a message that there were trespassers on the neighbouring farm. A digital alert system had been put in place for such an event. Within minutes,...

rural September 2, 2017

Malcolm Turnbull caves in to Tasmanian loggers

Last weekend, Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull flew to Launceston for the Tasmanian Liberals’ yearly conference. Accompanied by Premier Will Hodgman, Turnbull’s first stop was the timber yard of logging company Neville-Smith Forest Products, once a...