This week, our INQ team examined the growing crisis in Australian teaching.
JULY 20, 2019

This week, our INQ team examined the growing crisis in Australian teaching. Kirsten Drysdale also painted us a rich portrait of the man described as Australia’s most powerful public servant, Home Affairs Secretary Mike Pezzullo.

Elsewhere, Michael Bradley and Bernard Keane tackled the thorny issue of wage theft and what the George Calombaris ruling means for exploited workers.

Jason Murphy wondered whether the increasingly popular notion of “flygskam” could ever work in Australia. And Amber Schultz explored the under-reported history of Indigenous innovation and invention.

As always, let us know what you thought of the week’s news. Write to [email protected]. Please include your full name to be considered for publication.

Have a great weekend,

Bhakthi Puvanenthiran
Managing Editor


This week from INQ

The real crisis in teaching


'School education in Australia is becoming an evermore bureaucratised system, which is asking more of teachers and getting less in return.'

How you become Australia’s most powerful bureaucrat

KIRSTEN DRYSDALE 13 minute read

What drives Mike Pezzullo — and how has he earned the title of Australia’s most powerful public servant?

A day in the life of a teacher

KIRSTEN DRYSDALE 11 minute read

'The raw energy of a grade one classroom on a Monday morning is like being inside a football locker room before a big match.'

Scott Morrison’s Hillsong sermon was a deeply political moment

KARA SCHLEGL 5 minute read

The Prime Minister insists he has no 'political agenda' when he speaks about his faith. But his recent appearance at church that's been accused of institutional homophobia is cause for concern.

Why I sued Malcolm Roberts (and won)

TONY MAGRATHEA 4 minute read

Why did an ordinary citizen take a One Nation senator to court over his breach of section 44? To prove that no politician is above the law.

The death of private healthcare can’t come soon enough

DAN HOGAN 3 minute read

A new report shows the private healthcare system may be on its last legs. Good.

Uluru is not yours to climb
I always try to understand, from an empathic positioning, what the hell motivates people’s actions. I kind of get the reflexive demand that Uluru isn’t “theirs”, it’s “ours”, and therefore cannot, should not, be excluded from our basic love of achieving altitude and celebrating our mastery of nature. The small-minded banality of that perspective, however, defeats me. — Michael Bradley

Even if you put aside basic cultural and spiritual respect, a look at the raw legal fact will tell you Uluru is as much public land as Pauline Hanson’s house is public land.

A horror week in Australian onshore detention

REBEKAH HOLT 4 minute read

A young man has died. Another has attempted self-harm. A toddler, who has spent her entire life in detention, was hospitalised. Here's the day-by-day account.

Private health insurance isn’t just a policy mess — it’s intergenerational war

BERNARD KEANE 4 minute read

Private health insurance is another front in our society’s widespread economic war on younger people.

Why are flights being delayed in Australia?

CHRIS WOODS 4 minute read

Yesterday's Border Force e-gate meltdown shows how one tech failure can hold up thousands at airports. But it's not even close to the most common reason flights are delayed around the country.

Crime isn’t crime if you have a white collar

MICHAEL BRADLEY 4 minute read

Rob a servo and you go to jail. Underpay your workers to the tune of nearly $8 million and you get a slap on a wrist. How is that fair?

It’s not just Calombaris: hospitality is a hot zone of wage theft

BERNARD KEANE 2 minute read

Hospitality is one of the worst sectors for worker exploitation in Australia — and it's foreign workers who are most exploited.

The immense problem with Australian political journalism
Another week, another issue of substance lost to political bickering. Australian media has a problem, and last week’s narrow focus on the political machinations behind the call for Indigenous recognition showed just how bad that problem has become. — Christopher Warren

Last week the media only took a few hours to switch from coverage of Indigenous recognition to instead focus on niche political responses to it. Unfortunately, this isn’t unusual.

Indigenous innovations and inventions you may not have heard about

AMBER SCHULTZ 4 minute read

Australia has a history of Indigenous innovation dating back millennia, much of which has been kept from the history books by institutionalised racism. Now, some are trying to change that.

Murdoch and mainstream media win big in funding handouts

GLENN DYER 3 minute read

The Judith Neilson Institute for Journalism and Ideas has awarded handouts to some of the richest media organisations in the country, including The Australian and AFR. It raises the question: what do they need the money for?

Labor’s failure goes far beyond the party itself

GUY RUNDLE 4 minute read

It's time for think tanks like Per Capita to get some brains, and step back from the ideological failure that's led us here.

Why I withdrew from the Bendigo Writers Festival


Controversy over her latest book has forced true crime author Maryrose Cuskelly to withdraw from the festival. But her belief in the importance of the written word is as strong as ever.

Could ‘flygskam’ take off in a country like Australia?

JASON MURPHY 4 minute read

We know that plane travel is terrible for the environment, but 'flight shame' probably won't bring us towards a real solution.

You want a financial services culture review? Start with the Liberal Party.

BERNARD KEANE 3 minute read

While the government wants us to focus on the regulatory failings of the Australian Prudential Regulation Authority, there's a need for another review — of why the Liberals worked so closely with the big banks.