Dam busters 

Only determined investigative journalism could burst through Grantham’s wall of lies


Leading article Australia

Same old, same old

If there’s one thing Labor always does better than the Liberals, it’s party conferences. Even in Government, Liberal snoozefests attract barely a handful of press gallery journalists, but last weekend… Read more

Don’t raise taxes, cut them

While the media’s attention is distracted by Madam Speaker’s and other politician’s curious choices in executive travel, this week is pivotal in the battle of ideas that will decide the… Read more

Shorten’s mensis horribilis

One problem of being Opposition leader is getting air time. They yearn for cut-through moments when the full focus of media and public attention is on them. Labor leader Bill… Read more

Greek disease

This week, Greeks voted to reject a tough debt deal imposed by the European Union and the German-dominated European Central Bank. The overwhelming ‘Oxi’ vote was sought by hard-Left Syriza… Read more

Gotcha in reverse

The ABC, through its glamour couple Sarah Ferguson and Tony Jones, did Tony Abbott two huge favours this past month. Its brilliantly ruthless documentary The Killing Season has shown not… Read more

Constitutional smoking ceremony

The push for changing our Constitution to recognise explicitly the special status in Australia of Aborigines and Torres Strait Islanders is well and truly on, but misguided. Tony Abbott is… Read more

Diary Australia


Dallas McInerney

1 August 2015

Ridiculously premature talk of Prime Ministerial succession, commentary by John Howard on the need to… Read more

Michael Easson

25 July 2015

Visiting accountant turned property investor Kate Braybrook and building tradie husband Mark, who have relocated… Read more

Rowan Callick

18 July 2015

The first time I met the Queen, I was eight years old and she was… Read more

Australian Notes

1 August 2015 Aus

The Prime Minister and the journalist Greg Sheridan go back a long way. The other… Read more

4 July 2015 Aus

Who won the wooden spoon for obtuseness among the swarm of the ABC’s apologists for… Read more

27 June 2015 Aus

I had occasion the other day to dig up a piece I had written 50… Read more

20 June 2015 Aus

It was back in the mists of time but I easily recall the day in… Read more

Business/Robbery etc

1 August 2015

At last Australia’s beleaguered coal industry has something going for it. After being labelled unethical by Sydney’s Anglican church and a couple of equally precious universities that have decided to… Read more

Bandana republic

1 August 2015

When the Australian nation comes together, it’s a rare emotional moment. This happened on 6 November 1999, when, dramatically, John Howard ‘broke the heart of the nation’. At least that’s… Read more

Sledging takes its toll

In 1947 a black man named Jackie Robinson took the field for the Brooklyn Dodgers, ending segregation in Major League Baseball. Dodgers president Branch Rickey chose their first black player… Read more


Dam busters

1 August 2015

Mostly journalists pick their stories. Occasionally the story picks you. Ever since Lisa Spierling described how she ran for her life with seven children along a railway track to escape… Read more

Rumble in the jungle

1 August 2015

In the surreal tropical politics of contemporary Malaysia it is good business sense to use government funds to make loss-making property investments in order to enrich personal bank accounts. Recent… Read more

Abbott, part II

25 July 2015

Last summer, few commentators were predicting that Tony Abbott − dismissed as a ‘dead man walking’ − would lead the government to the next election. This column not only predicted… Read more

Guest Notes


Peter Costello

11 July 2015

It’s a small but devoted group, the Friends of the 15th Brigade. Each year it… Read more

Robert Skeffington

20 June 2015

Like Oscar Wilde’s demand that ‘the man who could call a spade a spade should… Read more

Michael Danby

30 May 2015

Paris this spring was still beautiful, but tense. Post-Charlie Hebdo, 8,000 smart, almost chic, soldiers… Read more

Bottom Drawer

Bottom drawer

11 July 2015

I’m sure I wasn’t the only one panting over the… Read more

Bottom Drawer

27 June 2015

Nick Jensen threatens to divorce in protest of gay marriage… Read more

Bottom Drawer

13 June 2015

Oliver Cromwell was, apparently, not a fan of Magna Carta.… Read more

Bottom Drawer

30 May 2015

To be fair to the Hon. Dame Quentin Bryce AD,… Read more

Culture Buff

Donald McDonald

1 August 2015

It is an out and out masterpiece so any new production of The Marriage of… Read more

Donald McDonald

25 July 2015

It’s the play with no name, literally. Chekhov’s first play, written in 1878, was never… Read more

Donald McDonald

18 July 2015

It was a sparkling winter morning when the Art Gallery of NSW revealed the 47… Read more

Donald McDonald

11 July 2015

My 18-year old consultant can’t understand why I haven’t written a column about games –… Read more

For your own good

1 August 2015
Liberty, Equality & Democracy Chris Berg

Connor Court, 2015, pp.206, $24.95, ISBN: 9781925138566

I grew up queer in Bjelke-Petersen’s Queensland. Bjelke-Petersen was populist, racist, and religious: he hated socialism, but the Queensland of my youth also had Australia’s only free hospitals. You couldn’t… Read more

Steyin’ alive

18 July 2015
The (Un)documented Mark Steyn Mark Steyn

Regnery Publishing, 2014, pp.448pp, $29.95, ISBN: 978-1621573180

What are the odds that one of the world’s best political commentators happens to be an expert on the songs of Cole Porter? Or that he knows more about Frank… Read more

The first Clive Palmer

20 June 2015
Joh for PM Paul Davey

NewSouth, pp.328, $29.99, ISBN: 9781742234335

When former Liberal Prime Minister, John Howard, was finishing off his autobiography Lazarus Rising in 2010 I asked him whether it would contain any political bile. ‘Yes. But just one… Read more


Winning the Cold War, losing the culture wars

23 May 2015
Memoirs of a Slow Learner Peter Coleman

Connor Court, pp.190, $29.95, ISBN: 9781925138269

On the 70th anniversary of Victory in Europe day, many Eastern Europeans boycotted celebrations in Moscow, marking the day with a sombre ceremony in Gdansk, Poland instead. It is a… Read more

Crank Case

16 May 2015
The Case for Palestine. The Perspective of an Australian Observer Paul Heywood-Smith

Wakefield Press, pp.160, $24.95, ISBN: 9781743053300

Paul Heywood-Smith QC has written a weak case for Palestine. A much stronger book was there to be written, but the author’s cranky perspective mars his ability to present it.… Read more

Local hero

2 May 2015
The Real Archbishop Mannix: From the Sources James Franklin, G.O. Nolan, Michael Gilchrist

Connor Court, pp.300, $29.95, ISBN: 9781925138344

Mannix Brenda Niall

Text Publishing, Melbourne, pp.464, £50.00, ISBN: 97819221821

Some of us habitually quote Orwell’s correct comparison of producing first-person prose to ‘dosing yourself with some … very deleterious and very habit-forming drug.’ But concerning Daniel Mannix, first-person prose… Read more

War and jealousy

25 April 2015
Maestro John Monash: Australia’s Greatest Citizen General Tim Fischer

Monash University Publishing; Melbourne, pp.241, $29.95, ISBN: 9781922235596

Le Hamel was the site of an extraordinary triumph of allied arms early on the morning of July 4, 1918. Appropriately it was America’s Independence Day. Under the command of… Read more

In the bunker

25 April 2015
Bearing Witness: The remarkable life of Charles Bean, Australia’s greatest war correspondent Peter Rees

Allen & Unwin, pp.568, $33, ISBN: 9781742379548

Defending Gallipoli: The Turkish Story Harvey Broadbent

Melbourne University Press, pp.306, $33, ISBN: 9780522864562

Wars make myths; probably no-one understood that better than Charles Bean, Australia’s first true war writer and a person who did more than most to create our national identity. So… Read more