Cutting through the noise of the pandemic
AUGUST 1, 2020

Like everyone else, we at Crikey are trying to make sense of the COVID-19 pandemic as we live (and often stumble) through it.

That’s a hard and imperfect way of going about our business. But we thought the articles in today’s Crikey Weekender go some way to fulfilling our mandate to shed light, not heat — and to cut through the noise and rubbish.

I was recently asked what made Crikey different than other news media. I hope these three pieces alone answer the question: Kishor Napier-Raman on how the pandemic is changing our relationship with death, Bernard Keane on the new rise of the ‘other’, and Guy Rundle on Melbourne’s grim postcard from the future.

Crikey is also exploring some of less-discussed consequences of the virus, from its impact on foreign aid, to the conflicts of interest in the National COVID-19 Coordination Commission and the reasons behind the tragic loss of life in aged care homes. Yes, other media will tell you how many died, but how many other news organisations tell you why?

But Crikey isn’t only about COVID-19: we reported on attempts to curb the power and influence of big tech, examined fresh media collapses, and took aim at two corporate heavy weights — Clive Palmer and Kerry Stokes.

Yes, it’s been a good week at Crikey as we, like you, try to make sense of the mess we are all in.

Thanks for reading,

Peter Fray
Editor-In-Chief of Crikey

The virus is robbing many people of a ‘good’ death. How do we change that?


COVID-19 has taken away our ability as a society to avoid the topic of death. But we've needed to improve our 'death literacy' since well before the pandemic hit.

Beware of the Other — a virus that is everywhere, and when it suits, everyone

BERNARD KEANE 4 minute read

The pandemic has reinforced a growing enthusiasm for closing borders against external threats — and business is unwilling to provide any incentive to stop it.

Postcard from Melbourne: we are the masked travellers from your future
Otherwise we get the perfect storm of a great depression — rents sucking money out of the circulating economy at one end, ever-lower wages crushing demand at the other, while the ideological right rub their Thatcher statues and hope that a genie will pop out and pull a trillion “entrepreneur” bucks out of its smoky ass and shout everyone a billion coffees. — Guy Rundle

If those of you outside of Melbourne aren’t thinking about the catastrophe ahead, you soon will be.

Can nothing keep a bad man down? Virulent Mr Palmer just keeps on coming

JANINE PERRETT 3 minute read

Whether he's interfering in state politics or dismissing the pandemic as a media 'beat-up', Clive Palmer is on a roll of the worst possible kind.

Conflict of Interest: Morrison’s COVID Commission just got a whole lot more secretive

GEORGIA WILKINS 4 minute read

The powerful COVID-19 commission has been made even less transparent, in changes that move it to work as an advisory board to cabinet.

Memo to ‘Karens’: you have the right to be deluded, but here are the facts

MICHAEL BRADLEY 3 minute read

Thank God for the freedom warriors among us, preserving our non-existent rights in the cause of their grand delusions.

The humanitarian hole: China steps up to fill Australia’s foreign aid shortfall

AMBER SCHULTZ 5 minute read

Australia usually prides itself on its aid in the Pacific. But the pandemic has put everything on pause.

Government moves on big tech but money looks a fair way off (and no love for the ABC or SBS)


The government has unveiled its new code of conduct that will force tech companies to pay news organisations for their content. But there'll be no money for the public broadcasters.

‘Mr Yates is suffering a significant disease, but…’ How workers comp fails

DEAN YATES 5 minute read

The experts agreed that Dean Yates' PTSD was 'significant'. So why couldn't he get workers' compensation?

Seven fails to disclose Stokes’ near $100m aged care share. We’re not shocked

STEPHEN MAYNE 4 minute read

Seven Group Holdings owns a huge piece of a company at the centre of a COVID-19 outbreak — just don't expect Seven to tell you about it.

Aged care in crisis

Aged care crisis shows a disaster waiting in workplace ‘flexibility’

BERNARD KEANE 3 minute read

The Coalition wants to allow employers to impose short-hour contracts — precisely the cause of the tragic aged care sector scandal.

Policy on the run and regulation on the fly — what’s the aged care regulator doing?

BERNARD KEANE 3 minute read

As recently as the end of June, the aged care regulator was untroubled by staff working across multiple sites in Victoria. Now the sector is in crisis as deaths and infections soar.

Sign of the times: mortgage defaults will happen if the recession creates a perfect storm

JASON MURPHY 4 minute read

How safe are Australia’s banks? What will happen to the 800,000 loans they have deferred? Will the recession create a tidal wave of mortgage defaults that sends banks to the wall?

The glossy mags have lost their shine. What’s left in the femme-facing market?

GINA RUSHTON 3 minute read

'There’s something to be said about what will be lost when the trusted mastheads go. I don’t want Facebook’s take on fashion.'

Ethics of a Bunnings bully: you don’t always have to give the people what they want

SIMON LONGSTAFF 3 minute read

Some people have perfectly good reasons to not conform, others shouldn't have their ideas — or conspiracy theories — given any oxygen. The media must learn which is which.

Mishandling of SA’s comedy of errors results in a full-blown rorts investigation

ANDREW P STREET 4 minute read

Handled well, the scandal could have been knocked on the head. But avoidance tactics and rumours led to a domino effect, knocking down three MPs.