Vol 26 No 10

22 May 2016


Lonely lament of a stay-at-home mum

31 May 2016 | Suvi Mahonen

Mother embracing daughter'Hi,' the text began. 'Just letting you know there's no pilates tonight. We're all going to The Hub to C an indie music jam. C U next week?' I put my phone down and stared numbly around my kitchen. Dirty dishes jammed the sink. My toddler's banana was smeared all over the fridge door, but I couldn't gather the energy to wipe it clean. I knew I was lucky to have everything I'd worked for - family, a new apartment, financial stability - but I also knew I had never felt so lonely. 'C U next week.'


A closer look at the AFP's shady Labor raid

31 May 2016 | Justin Glyn

Australian Federal PoliceIt has puzzled me that the constitutional implications of the AFP's raid on the offices of the official opposition and one of its senators two weeks ago has not been explored in more detail. The uncomfortable fact is that the leaks about which NBN Co is complaining are not damaging because they relate to competition nor to national security, but because they expose cost overruns and reflect badly on the government of the day - the same government which holds all the shares in NBN Co.


View from the bleachers

31 May 2016 | Fiona Katauskas

Greg Hunt tells tourists he's recolouring the bleached Great Barrier Reef brown with coal. Cartoon by Fiona Katauskas

This week's offering from Eureka Street's award winning political cartoonist.


There's no shame in minority government

30 May 2016 | John Warhurst

Julia Gillard graffitiWhen the big parties condemn the idea of a hung parliament it is just self-interest, as when both Malcolm Turnbull and Bill Shorten expressed their horror at the prospect of any sort of alliance with the Greens. It was surprising that Shorten missed the opportunity to defend the legacy of the Gillard government, a successful minority government which executed a considerable legislative program. If he allows 2007-13 to be portrayed as disaster years it will hurt his chances of becoming prime minister.


Nuns in love

30 May 2016 | Brian Doyle

NunO, I had a sweetheart, sure I did, says a tiny stooped nun to me this morning. Long tall handsome man he was too. Did you think I signed up to be a nun before I could fall In love? No. I never met a nun yet wasn't in love before. It's good for you as a nun to have had your heart broken, seems to me, or to break someone else's heart. It's a way of the world. Better to know it so you can be tender when you see it later.


Positivity key to the new Shorten's rise

29 May 2016 | J. R. Hennessy

Bill ShortenLabor has built a small poll lead over the Coalition as led by the eminently more marketable Malcolm Turnbull, and in this case the commentariat are willing to give Shorten and Labor the credit. They're the ones controlling the policy conversation and setting the agenda, and it feels like the government are just responding in turn. Who is this Bill Shorten? This is someone who even a few months ago would be largely inconceivable in the top job, but now seems at the very least plausible.


Laughing in the face of climate change despair

29 May 2016 | Fatima Measham

Drying cityPeople understand that some of the solutions for the problems faced by current and coming generations are likely rooted in decisions made now. Future-proofing is not merely anticipation, but intervention on a scale that goes beyond households. It involves design and culture. It demands an international rather than insular outlook. Perhaps this is why gallows humour has seeped into my conversations about the future. I no longer expect our leaders to do something worthwhile about it.


Calculated risks, incalculable rewards in India

26 May 2016 | Catherine Marshall

Maha Kumbh MelaIn 2013 I attended an event so exclusive, so unique, it wouldn't happen again for another 144 years. It was the Maha Kumbh Mela in Allahabad, Uttar Pradesh, where, over a six-week period, an estimated 120 million Hindu pilgrims converged on the banks of the Ganges, Yamuna and mythical Sarasweti Rivers in order to perform puja, or the cleansing of their sins. If we're open to what travel seeks to teach us, we'll gain from it the most superior of educations, and the most profound lessons in humility.


We need a grassroots revival to save the reef

26 May 2016 | Jeff Sparrow

Franklin dam protestMany people have hoped that when global warming manifested itself as a concrete threat, politicians would be forced into action. Yet it's becoming horrifyingly clear that the political class is quite willing to let the Great Barrier Reef, one of the natural wonders of the world, slowly die. If we want to save the reef, we're going to have to do it ourselves. The Franklin dam blockade of 1982-1983 transformed the political climate and preserved an iconic river. We need to recapture that energy.


Not-so-nice guys have sexist cake and eat it too

25 May 2016 | Tim Kroenert

As is the time-honoured tradition of Hollywood PIs, Holland has long bound the wounds of some unresolved grief in alcohol and cynicism. Notwithstanding individual tastes that are by no means aligned with gender, this is the kind of movie that can tend to appeal to puerile male interests while diminishing respect for women. In this regard Shane Black, a mainstream filmmaker who is more self-aware than most, tries to have his cake and eat it too, by both drawing and subverting the objectifying male gaze.


SA Premier coopts democracy for nuclear nefariousness

25 May 2016 | Michele Madigan

Maralinga Painting, by artists Mima Smart, Tjunkuna Rita Bryant and othersJust how strictly controlled the process is becomes obvious when it emerges that the task of the 50 member Citizens' Jury will be to produce 'a short independent guide to help every South Australian understand the recommendations raised' by the report. ABC news has dubbed this whole process the Premier's 'public relations exercise', and surely they're not wrong. He is urging all South Australians to remain 'open' about the proposal. But are they, including the Citizens' Jury, allowed to be open to refusal?


Banking royal commission is popular, not populist

25 May 2016 | Andrew Hamilton

Australian banks logosThe evidence of misbehaviour by banks has become public at a time when the underlying ideology has also been criticised. The inherent unlikelihood that an economy based on individual greed will benefit the whole of society is now patent. It is seen as much more likely that unregulated competition for material gain will lead to the concentration of wealth in the hands of the wealthy and powerful. Evidence now suggests that inequality hinders the economic growth it was presumed to nurture.

Setting subeditors' slights to rights

24 May 2016 | Brian Matthews

Newspaper with Correction headlineUnder election campaign pressure, some names have been misprinted. Mr Malcolm Ternble of Naracoorte wishes to point out that he has not made any public statements on negative gearing and is unsure what negative gearing means. The error was made by a Gen Y subeditor and should have read 'Prime Minister Malcolm Ternbull'. The Foreign Minister was cited as Ms Julia Bishop. The correct nomenclature is Ms Julia Bronwyn. Ms Bronwyn was inaccurately described as a part-time helicopter pilot.


Reading, writing and rhetoric

1 Comment
24 May 2016 | Fiona Katauskas

Young girl walks away from Peter Dutton dressed as a teacher, telling her mother he told her 'refugee' spelt 'trouble'. Cartoon by Fiona Katauskas

This week's offering from Eureka Street's award winning political cartoonist.


Rumours of thylacines and distant barbarians

23 May 2016 | Shane McCauley

Perth skylineHere in this weather-beleaguered outpost there are so many rumours - thylacines, panthers, wagyls even that in the distant east are barbarians ... But separating deserts might as well be galaxies, and we are self-contained, and even like those theoretical others have our contentments - blue sky, blue sea, and even now the sun's great wintery eye. Hidden as we are however we hold our heads high, perhaps would not be ashamed one day to be discovered ...


Good leaders need the confidence to listen

23 May 2016 | Esther Anatolitis

Expert offering adviceUniversities and the CSIRO are attacked and funds cut while the government promotes an 'ideas boom'. Creative industries and the Australia Council are diminished and investment slashed while the government talks of an 'innovation agenda'. It takes confidence in your own skill as a decision-maker to recognise the expertise of others as something you don't share but can benefit from. Instead we see nervous leadership, too anxious to trust in those who can build that future.

Conversations with homeless protesters

22 May 2016 | Tim Robertson

Site of the homeless protest campI asked John, a tall, articulate man with long hair and well-maintained hipster beard, if he'd had a chance to read the most recently published Herald Sun think-piece arguing that what they are doing is not a demand for help, but a political protest. He smiled wryly, expelled a couple of bursts of laughter and said that that may be their most accurate reporting of the unfolding situation to-date: 'This has always been a political protest ... that's always been our intention.'


A righteous sermon about the haves and have-nots

22 May 2016 | Gillian Bouras

Man in suit holding cashIn America, Rex Tillerson, CEO of Exxon, received a salary of more than $40 million in 2012. He is apparently a devout Christian, so I wonder whether he ever worries about Matthew chapter 19, verse 24: it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than it is for a rich man to enter into the Kingdom of God. The 400 richest Americans own more wealth than the GDP of India. In contrast, vast numbers of their fellow citizens have less than $1000 in their savings and cheque accounts combined.