It's been a week of questions...
JULY 25, 2020

It’s been a week of big, frightening numbers — and one big, frightening question: how close are we to going back into COVID-19 lockdown across the country? The answer to that, of course, depends on where you live and to what extent you trust your friends, colleagues, neighbours, authorities… and yourself.

Crikey’s Kishor Napier-Raman put such questions into context, with a great weekend read in yesterday’s edition, and throughout the week the team has been addressing all manner of coronavirus issues. Chief among them has been the extent to which government will play a role in all our lives for the foreseeable future. Bernard Keane addressed that and related questions; Janine Perrett made the issues that much more personal, in her own irascible way.

Of course, there are plenty of other things to report about and analyse. Chris Warren has been looking at the ongoing challenges faced by the news media, conflicts of interest reporter Georgia Wilkins continues to use her investigative powers to great effect (covering such diverse topics as Phil Gaetjens, new environmental laws, and the campaign for Perth’s lord mayor), and David Hardaker returned to his analysis of Australia’s honours system — where are the indigenous members on the Council of the Order of Australia? Elsewhere, Michael Bradley considered academic freedom and the Peter Ridd case, and Stephen Mayne offered up a way of looking at next week’s corporate reporting season.

Here’s a selection of the week’s best.


Peter Fray
Editor-In-Chief of Crikey

Victoria’s new outbreak marks the limits of finger-pointing


Rather than ask why so many Victorians ignored the tickle in their throats and went to work, we need to ask how we've built a society where so many people had no other choice.

We are living in an historic, radical transformation. What are we learning?

GUY RUNDLE 4 minute read

The COVID-19 lockdowns represent one of the most radical transformations of everyday life by the state in human history. Can it be kept up?

Conflict Of Interest

Conflict of Interest: The West backs a winner for Perth

GEORGIA WILKINS 3 minute read

Seven's support of its own network's Basil Zempilas in his run for lord mayor is any candidate's dream.

Phil Gaetjens’ admissions are shocking. But his role has always been conflicted

GEORGIA WILKINS 3 minute read

The PM&C secretary didn't investigate Bridget McKenzie's legal authority in the sports rorts scandal. But that's hardly surprising, given there's no notion of independence in his role.

Conflict of Interest: Will environmental protections be kept out of states’ hands?

GEORGIA WILKINS 3 minute read

State governments have a history of rolling over to powerful developers' demands, often turning a blind eye to environmental concerns.

Face masks are big news, but for they’re also a money spinner


Just hours after the Victorian government announced its new face mask rule, appeared to be ready to make some money off it.

Why is the Order of Australia ignoring Indigenous Australians?

DAVID HARDAKER 4 minute read

The Council of the Order of Australia is meant to reflect the makeup of Australian culture. So why has it been years since there's been any Indigenous representation?

The Crikey guide to reporting season: look out for handouts to the rich

STEPHEN MAYNE 3 minute read

This business reporting season shapes up as the most intriguing since the global financial crisis. Here's what you should watch out for.

Reef sceptic proves a poor poster boy for intellectual martyrdom

MICHAEL BRADLEY 4 minute read

A decision by the full Federal Court has reaffirmed the rights of employers to visit consequences on those who too viciously bite the hand that feeds them.

Government moralising delayed help for the economy, but we finally got there

BERNARD KEANE 3 minute read

The government has sensibly extended JobKeeper but it's been guided by ideology in curbing payments for Australia's army of unemployed.

Profitless in the desert: John Kerr and the Australia he made
A country without history? Just look at it! John Kerr, nothing other than a top-hatted buffoon? No, he was Australia and the 20th century — all the squalor and hope and absurdity of the times in one life. He got his reward and his punishment, stumbling around a racetrack, jeered at by stadiums of people, the fool to his own Lear, profitless in the desert he helped make.
— Guy Rundle

John Kerr was more than a top-hatted buffoon — he represented all the absurdity and squalor of Australia and the 20th century.

New regional papers pop up to challenge the News Corp footprint


As new, community-owned print newspapers launch in regional Australia, News Corp will do what it can to hold onto that space.

A guide to how (and when) the governor-general terminates an Order of Australia honour

DAVID HARDAKER 5 minute read

The governor-general has enormous scope for stripping Order of Australia honours. So when should he? And perhaps more importantly, why hasn't he?

Pandemic police officer Perrett revels in the joys of being a COVID cop

JANINE PERRETT 3 minute read

In these COVID times, Janine Perrett is relishing her role as a protector of the pandemic peace.

The real threat to democracy is right under the government’s nose

DAVID LATHAM 3 minute read

Not only has our former treasurer turned an ambassadorial stint into a new role as a lobbyist, he's recruiting his former diplomatic staff.

Gamekeeper turns poacher: Joe Hockey cherrypicks our diplomatic talent for his lobbying shop


Not only has our former treasurer turned an ambassadorial stint into a new role as a lobbyist, he's recruiting his former diplomatic staff.

One person’s face mask is another’s face covering — the double standard is irrational

MICHAEL BRADLEY 4 minute read

Victoria's decision to make face masks mandatory has, for some, been a declaration of war. But is it about human rights or bigotry?

Thinking of giving your DNA to a genealogy company? You might want to think again


Familial DNA searches have been a boon in solving cold cases, but are they contravening the rights of the accused?

Life in wartime: Frydenberg unveils COVID’s economic damage — and a double-dip recession?

BERNARD KEANE 2 minute read

The government has revealed the expected damage to the budget from the pandemic, with colossal deficits now dominating the Australian economy.