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Scott Morrison’s fortunate disaster
Coronavirus has provided Scott Morrison with an opportunity to re-establish his leadership credentials, but will it work? Today, Paul Bongiorno on how the prime minister is making the most of this crisis.
How coronavirus feeds Australian racism
The panic generated by coronavirus has reignited an older, deeper panic about Chinese migrants. Today, we look at what coronavirus can tell us about racism in Australia.
We need to talk about St Kevin’s
In today’s episode, we speak to former St Kevin’s student Luke Macaronas about what stops elite private schools and other powerful institutions from addressing issues of abuse.
The prison riot sparked by climate change
A prison riot sparked by an intense heat wave shows how vulnerable prisoners are to the impacts of extreme weather. Stella Maynard on how climate change is making prisons even more punitive.
How billions in government spending could be unlawful
In the past year, the government has directed nearly $5 billion to various schemes using a process lawyers say is likely unconstitutional.
Does Scott Morrison finally have a climate policy?
Scott Morrison is sandwiched between the climate deniers in his own government on one side and Russell Crowe on the other, as he tries to come up with a new climate policy.
The minister for nuclear power
Meet Keith Pitt - climate sceptic, coal evangelist and the parliament’s most strident nuclear advocate. He’s also the new minister for Water and Resources.
Suing over Howard’s camps
The government has spent more than a decade fighting compensation claims launched by more than 60 former asylum seekers detained in Australia’s notorious detention centres. Today, we ask why it’s taking so long.
Plants, mental health and an unrecognised humanitarian crisis
Asylum seekers who have been cut off from government support are finding solace in an unexpected place: their own community garden.
Zali Steggall’s climate breaker
How a British model to end climate dysfunction is being introduced in parliament and could work here.
Llew ‘Who’ O’Brien and the National Party turducken
Why the chaos that installed Llew O’Brien as deputy speaker is really about Queensland state politics - and how it’s set the clock on nine months of dysfunction from the Coalition.
The tiny town where Scott Morrison is building a nuclear dump
Australia’s first nuclear dump is set to be built in a small town in South Australia. The government has spent millions trying to win over locals – but the community is viciously divided.
The love story behind Australia’s biggest political donation
Scott Morrison received the biggest individual political donation in Australian history. Behind it was a love story – and a man who asked for nothing in return.
Did Clive Palmer buy an election for $84 million?
From the point of view of his failed candidates, Clive Palmer’s campaign was a success. So what does $84 million buy you at an election?
Profiting from Auschwitz: How 4 million books were sold on fabrications
Australian author Heather Morris has made millions selling books about the Holocaust, but the people in them are unrecognisable to their families.
Barnaby Joyce’s failed coup
Barnaby Joyce lost his leadership tilt but has reopened a schism in the Coalition on climate policy.
Australia’s secret emissions target
Every state and territory government in Australia has a target of net zero emissions by 2050. What are the benefits, and the risks, of the states defying the federal government?
What happens if we don’t stop coronavirus?
As coronavirus shuts borders and creates global panic, Rick Morton explains where the virus originated and looks at attempts to combat it.
Honouring Bettina Arndt, men’s rights activist
Controversial men’s rights activist Bettina Arndt has been appointed a Member of the Order of Australia. Feminist academic Eva Cox considered giving back her AO in protest – and says it’s more evidence the system needs to change.
The prime minister and the dung beetle
Don Watson on why Scott Morrison is not really a politician, and how meaning left politics.
Scott Morrison’s eternal present
As Scott Morrison pivots to the coronavirus evacuation and deploys the military to the fire zone, questions are being asked about the management of both responses.
Exclusive: Red Cross staff speak out
Current and former Red Cross staff have criticised the way the organisation is handling donations during Australia’s bushfire crisis.
Sports grants are the tip of the iceberg
As the government deals with the Bridget McKenzie scandal, questions are being asked about other larger grant programs.
Brendan Nelson’s gravy sandwich
As minister for defence, Brendan Nelson controversially spent $6.6 billion on Boeing fighter jets. Now he is running the company’s Australian division.
Fighting fire with... what?
The bushfire season still has months to run. The question is whether volunteers can make it through another crisis without radical changes to how they work.
A very Morrison Christmas
As fires continue on both sides of the continent, and the government succeeds in putting off commitments at the UN climate talks, Scott Morrison has gone on holidays.
What is Labor doing on coal?
Anthony Albanese says ending Australian coal exports won’t halt climate change. He says we need to cut emissions, but Adani should get on with it and start digging in the Galilee Basin.
Helen Garner’s diary
Helen Garner has been keeping a diary for as long as she has been a writer. She published extracts from last year’s in the latest issue of The Monthly.
Brian Houston, we have a problem
As the Hillsong Church booms internationally, its local arm is still dealing with the fallout from the royal commission into child sexual abuse.
Return to Stasiland
Thirty years after the fall of the Berlin Wall, Anna Funder on how understanding the Stasi can help us comprehend the age of surveillance in which we live.
Where there’s smoke, there’s climate change
As fires burn across the east coast and Sydney suffers catastrophic air pollution, the Coalition government is arguing to do less on climate change.
What happened to David Savage
Seven years ago, David Savage was injured while working for the Australian government in Afghanistan. He has fought since to have his compensation settled and the truth of what happened acknowledged.
The big wedge (Or: How Murdoch lobbies government)
Following an inquiry into digital platforms, the government finds itself wedged between News Corp and the tech giants. Both sides are lobbying heavily.
The man who didn’t kill Colin Winchester (part two)
Following his wrongful conviction for the murder of Canberra’s top police officer, David Eastman sought compensation. But bigger questions remain, about mental health and the law.
The man who didn’t kill Colin Winchester (part one)
David Eastman was thought of as a serial pest, until he was convicted of killing Australia’s police chief. The problem was, he didn’t do it.
Jacqui Lambie’s secret deal
Jacqui Lambie says she has a deal with the government to repeal medevac. She won’t say what it is, and the government says it never existed.
Angus Taylor’s hydrogen scandal
How the government – led by Angus Taylor and Matt Canavan – is ensuring Australia’s hydrogen industry is controlled by fossil fuels.
George Megalogenis on Australia’s next decade
As the first two decades of the 21st century come to an end, George Megalogenis considers Australia’s place as a middle power and the demographics that will change our parliament.
Andrew Bolt vs Dark Emu
Andrew Bolt has led a campaign against Bruce Pascoe and his book Dark Emu. But after reading the explorer journals on which the book is based, Rick Morton was unable to find any errors.
Inside the Westpac scandal
As the fallout from the Westpac scandal continues, attempts are already underway to limit corporate responsibility.
Defending Angus Taylor (the lone wolf and the albatross)
Scott Morrison has put himself in a difficult position, calling the NSW police commissioner to check on an investigation into his own minister.
Fascism and troll culture
According to Jeff Sparrow, a new fascism is emerging from the internet – one rooted in meme culture, but that harnesses mass shootings as a political tool.
The politicians fighting to bring Assange home
As Julian Assange fights against extradition to the United States, an unlikely group of politicians is working to have him returned to Australia.
Peter Ridd’s European adventure
A speaking tour of Europe has revealed the strategy behind Peter Ridd’s rejection of reef science: he believes that if people doubt the reef is dying, they will doubt climate change more broadly.
The red princeling
Xi Jinping’s ambitions for China are paranoid and expansionist. His mindset mirrors that of the guerrilla fighters in the Chinese Civil War.
Robo-debt and China (a week in two acts)
The Morrison government has halted its robo-debt program, finally confronting issues with the troubled scheme. Separately, the government has affirmed its reliance on Chinese trade – irrespective of human rights concerns.
The next fight on Uluru
Summary: Scott Morrison’s co-design process rules out the key aspirations of the Uluru Statement from the Heart. But there are signs that a new political fight is about to begin.
The cabinet maker
Since becoming prime minister, Scott Morrison has stamped himself on the cabinet process. There will be more PowerPoints, and less debate about issues he sees as being routine.
Changing consent law
A review of consent laws in New South Wales is recommending changes to how juries interpret sexual assaults and the onus that is placed on defendants. Bri Lee on the response from frontline organisations and the woman whose case triggered the inquiry.
Thoughts and prayers are not enough
Last week, a million hectares of eastern Australia was burnt in catastrophic bushfires. In the main, politicians refused to acknowledge the science that links these fires to climate change.
The burning truth
As fires burn through NSW and Queensland, a fundamental shift can be detected in Canberra: the politics of climate change have altered.
ASIO officers broke law on warrant
We don’t know what exactly happened or what ASIO was investigating; those details are secret. We do know that early last year the spy agency broke the law while conducting an operation.
Sums in a notepad: mental health and work
The federal government spends twice as much on income support for people affected by mental illness as it does on treatment. Rick Morton on living inside these figures – and the “arithmetic of existence”.
Morrison’s darkest speech yet
Scott Morrison’s speech to the Queensland Resources Council has been called a defining moment in his leadership. Mike Seccombe on what it says about his “ordinary bloke” mask.
What’s happening in Queensland?
Lech Blaine grew up in country Queensland. After the 2019 federal election, he spent several weeks driving around the state, trying to understand what makes it different.
The sniff, the scent of victory
As Labor responds to an internal review of its election defeat, some in the party feel they have already lost the next election.
The death toll of inequality
In Australia, the gap in life expectancy between the rich and poor has reached 10 years – the outcome of “savage capitalism”.
Ross Garnaut – the man who wrote the Rudd government’s response to climate change – says Australia has more to gain from a zero-carbon future than any other developed country.
Looking for Albanese
Anthony Albanese was shaped by the circumstances of his childhood. The question now is if his working-class background can help Labor reconnect to its working-class base.
The surplus disease
The Morrison government is committed to a budget surplus above all else. But as Paul Keating points out, this commitment can be a kind of sickness.
Rosie Batty’s next fight
Rosie Batty on Pauline Hanson’s family law inquiry, and why governments won’t do more to stop domestic violence.
Strip-searched in Newtown
As the number of police strip-searches rises in NSW, a law enforcement commission considers whether many of them are actually legal.
Swallowed by the sea (part two)
How the American anti-climate-science lobby hijacked local councils in Australia, changing sea-level benchmarks as it went.
Swallowed by the sea (part one)
A decision to hand planning about sea-level rise to local council has opened up a war around science, property values and influence.
To Howard with love
Paul Bongiorno on how the Liberal Party celebrates and how the National Party brawls.
Lock ’em up
Australia is almost alone its willingness to lock up primary-school-age children for criminal offences, but “tough on crime” politics means there is little will to change this.
Out of office
As Labor waits for a review of its election loss, and another into the operations of its NSW branch, Anthony Albanese is wrestling with divisions inside the party.
An error at the Department of Human Services caused the original robo-debt algorithm to restart, issuing thousands of unchecked debt notices.
A classroom full of dollars
The boom in international education has seen students become commodities. It has also changed the way universities operate - chasing rankings and casualising teaching staff.
That won’t feed one cow
As Scott Morrison attempts to control the message on handling the drought, there is bad news for his claims to strong economic management.
Cash and the black economy
New legislation will restrict the way Australians use cash. But there are concerns the laws could jail people for using legal tender.
Peter Dutton’s war on dissent
From anti-protest legislation to funding cuts, this government has waged war on dissent. In recent weeks, its rhetoric has intensified.
Exclusive: Forfeited to state care
A dispute over funding and the NDIS has forced 500 families to forfeit their children into state care.
Spies and Chinese money
Australia’s relationship with Chinese investment has been remade in the past six years. David Uren on how ASIO helped transform the Foreign Investment Review Board.
The luck and the chutzpah
As the Liberal Party slides further on climate change, the Labor Party fights an internal push to abandon its platform.
The Monthly Awards 2019
Each year, The Monthly assembles a panel of critics and artists to decide The Monthly Awards. This episode showcases the winners.
Carbon, beef and the underground economy
The latest IPCC report says current farming practices are unsustainable. But there are solutions, if farmers want to change.
Growing old in a pyramid scheme
The aged-care sector is on the brink of collapse. The major providers have been propped up by a government bailout, but without reform they cannot keep operating.
Who is Scott Morrison?
Scott Morrison shares a rhetorical lineage with Robert Menzies and a suburban one with John Howard. But what worked then might not work now.
Trump, Morrison, money and the drought
As Scott Morrison tried to shift Australia’s focus to the drought, and the cash rate fell below 1 per cent, Donald Trump’s paranoia followed the prime minister home.
What drives Penny Wong
Penny Wong is the intellectual leader of the Labor Party. Now the subject of a major biography, her politics is shaped by her experiences of difference and her belief in compassion.
Almonds are the devil’s nut
The Murray–Darling Basin is being ruined by cronyism and incompetence. But there is a new problem, too: high-yield almond crops.
Part two: The sentencing of Jaymes Todd
The judge who sentenced Jaymes Todd for the rape and murder of Eurydice Dixon was asked to consider Todd’s age, autism diagnosis and early guilty plea.
Part one: The murder of Eurydice Dixon
One of the terrible facts about the day Jaymes Todd killed Eurydice Dixon is that for him it was almost all very ordinary.
Convicting a Newcastle priest
When former Anglican dean Graeme Lawrence was found guilty of child sexual abuse, his victim, Ben Giggins, made the unusual decision to request that the court name him publicly.
Running the NDIS
As a royal commission into disability care begins, it emerges that key emails relating to the NDIS are held on a private bank server and cannot be accessed.
Death of the speech
Don Watson on the end of speech making in politics, and how the loss of narrative undermines bold policy.
Inside the Tanya Day inquest
Tanya Day died after being arrested for drunkenness. A coroner is now asking whether systemic racism contributed to her death.
Scott goes to Washington
Tomorrow, Scott Morrison will be received in Washington on a state visit. It highlights his special relationship with Donald Trump and his difficulty with Beijing.
What’s eating Philip Lowe
Philip Lowe is the governor of the Reserve Bank. He is a conventional person who’s been pushed by the economy to make unconventional choices.
Return to Timor-Leste
Twenty years after Timor-Leste’s vote for independence, the country’s relationship with Australia remains fraught.
Scott Morrison’s poverty fix
As Scott Morrison announces punitive welfare plans, Rick Morton asks what happens when you treat poverty as a moral problem.
Inside the meat disco
When the impresario behind Earthcore died last year, he left behind a legacy of paranoia, intimidation and financial mismanagement.
Holding onto Gladys Liu
As some backbenchers express doubt that Gladys Liu can stay in parliament, Scott Morrison is digging in behind his MP.
The Daddy Quota
When Annabel Crabb decided to find out what happens to men’s work habits when they have children, she discovered a huge store of gendered norms and inequality.
Christian Porter’s integrity commission
As ICAC exposes apparent corruption in NSW, focus is drawn on the government’s integrity commission, which, among other things, could not make findings of corruption.
Inside the Adani blockade
There is fresh momentum behind the Adani mine in central Queensland. What happens next could define Australia’s relationship to climate change both here and globally.
The revolving door
Inside the Royal Commission into Victoria’s Mental Health System, a place that is dysfunctional, inflexible and underfunded.
What Morrison didn’t expect in Biloela
How support for a Tamil family in Biloela blindsided the government and caused the prime minister to panic.
The truth about wages
The reality of the wage debate in Australia is that companies are geared to pay dividends rather than to invest in growth – and the treasurer’s intervention does nothing to change that.
As Brian Toohey releases his major book on national security in Australia, he reveals that American spies have been working here without detection.
Reporting the Panama Papers
The reporter behind the Panama Papers, Bastian Obermayer, on how he handled the leak and what he has found in Australia.
Badiucao, Chinese dissident
Months before the latest protests in Hong Kong, the Chinese government shut down an art exhibition by Chinese-Australian dissident Badiucao. This is his story.
Timor bug, China spy
While Australia remains belligerent over the Witness K case, Canberra is standing up to Beijing over the imprisonment of Yang Hengjun.
Home Affairs’ propaganda machine
When a communications agency started contacting Muslim Australians for social media training, no one realised they were being pulled into Home Affairs’ propaganda machine.
Inside the Greens
The Greens is a party with a leader who many think is too mainstream, struggling with the growing pains of infighting and factionalism. It is also on the cusp of another step change.
Scott Morrison’s middle class
Scott Morrison says the middle class doesn’t trust the public service. The problem is available research says the opposite.
Grief, anger and climate change
Joelle Gergis is one of Australia’s leading climate scientists. She says there is resistance to talking about emotions around science, but she feels grief and anger.
Scott Morrison vs. the World
As he arrives for talks in Vietnam, Scott Morrison is struggling to match his attempts at diplomacy with his position on climate change.
Drugs in swimming
The furore over Australian swimmer Mack Horton’s stand against long-time rival Sun Yang underscores confusion about how drug testing in sport actually works.
Saving the birthing trees
As the Andrews government attempts to negotiate treaty with First Nations people in Victoria, it is proceeding with a plan to bulldoze hundreds of sacred Djab Wurrung trees.
Is China a threat?
As Xi Jinping increases his power and ambition, there is tension over the influence China has in Australia. Progressive critics finds themselves aligned with right-wing voices.
Booing Adam Goodes
Adam Goodes’s AFL career was played at the intersection of race and politics. Stan Grant on what his story says about white Australia.
Hastie and Morrison
As the Morrison government begins its inquiry into press freedom, there is concern about the bipartisanship of the committee hearing it. At the centre is Andrew Hastie.
Sperm in the time of Facebook
A strict legal framework means there is a shortage of sperm donors across Australia. But online there is a huge and unregulated market of people willing to donate.
In the past decade, reports of teachers and principals being abused by parents have increased. Jane Caro on accounts that range from intimidation to stalking.
On politics and gambling
The refusal of the major parties to hold a parliamentary inquiry into Crown Casino speaks to a larger relationship between politics and the gambling lobby. It’s not just donations: Labor draws millions in profits from poker machines it owns.
Murdoch and the far-right
For the first time ever, individual articles can be linked to far-right recruitment drives. High on the list is reporting from The Australian, in stories about Safe Schools as well as about race.
Rodney Rude diplomacy
A visit from US ministers gives a clearer picture of what America wants. But as Trump’s trade war with China escalates, it also sets the stakes for Scott Morrison’s visit to Washington.
A question of dignity
After Kate O’Halloran’s grandmother was placed in residential care, her family complained about her treatment. The centre responded by threatening to withdraw her place.
Racism and the judge
As a judge’s comments about Aboriginal people cause outrage, lawyers in the Northern Territory wonder why a key body hasn’t made a complaint.
Game, Setka, match
As the Morrison government pushes for legislation to more easily deregister unions, there are questions over timing and the new laws’ real intent.
The Latham Moment
Just on 15 years ago, almost half the country voted for Mark Latham. Now, the former Labor leader is a One Nation representative who could play a significant role in the new right.
Betting against integrity
Amid claims of misconduct against Crown Casino, Labor and the Coalition voted down a parliamentary inquiry into the affair.
The case for raising Newstart
As the campaign to raise Newstart intensifies, details emerge of who is actually living on the payment and for how long.
Cooling in the Pacific
Climate change is now the defining issue for the Pacific. It is also one of the factors undermining Australia’s relationship with the region.
Cyber spy powers
Home Affairs is pushing for new powers to allow the Australian Signals Directorate to embed in corporate computer systems – transforming the body into one that disrupts crime and other attacks onshore.
Ending domestic violence
Australia is ahead of the world in some of its responses to domestic violence, but its national plan has no measurable targets.
Labor strategy and ‘the secret agenda’
The Labor Party has come back to parliament with a plan to ignore Scott Morrison, making the most of an ill-disciplined backbench.
The march of the older voter
As older voters become a larger and more powerful voting bloc, they are also becoming more organised.
A softening in the housing market has shown up defects and flaws that were being hidden by demand.
Despite hopes that were placed in Ken Wyatt as minister, Scott Morrison says there will be no constitutional enshrinement of an Indigenous Voice to parliament. Karen Middleton on the campaign to keep the Voice alive.
China’s military and the plan for dominance
As China seeks to assert dominance, Australia finds itself upping the stakes in a game it doesn’t want to play.
The ballad of Trump and ScoMo
With Scott Morrison emerging as a Donald Trump favourite, there are questions to ask about the meaning of their association.
Understanding Scott Morrison’s Pentecostalism
To understand Scott Morrison, it helps to understand his faith. Tanya Levin is a former Pentecostal who argues that the church informs every aspect of his politics.
Guarding the henhouse
Almost two years since changes were implemented following a royal commission into youth detention, tear gas is again being used on children in the Northern Territory.
The truth about small government
Scott Morrison’s signature achievement could be the tax cuts he legislated earlier this month – although not for the reasons he believes.
The extinction rebellion
Extinction Rebellion is not focusing on one project; it’s focusing on the system as a whole. And change can come from just a small segment of society participating in sustained non-compliance.
A Voice and a prayer
Scott Morrison began the week praying in front of 21,000 people. He closed it promising a referendum on an Indigenous Voice to Parliament.
Surviving Australia’s biggest cult, The Family
Following the death of cult leader Anne Hamilton-Byrne, surviving members of The Family reckon with judgement.
Scott Morrison and the Laffer napkin
Scott Morrison’s tax cuts are based on an American theory of economics trialled in the 1970s, but the evidence since suggests it does not work.
As the government produces legislation to temporarily ban foreign fighters from returning to Australia, there is growing concern over whether existing citizenship legislation is unconstitutional.
The broken pendulum
The pendulum that is used to predict outcomes in elections is broken. One unexpected consequence is for the role of money in politics.
Faith and taxes
As Scott Morrison’s tax cuts make their way through the parliament, there are fresh questions over religious freedoms.
As the government pushes to repeal the medivac legislation, lawyers and doctors contradict the arguments put against it.
The sperm donor question
The high court has found that sperm donors can have fathers’ rights, but the ruling is inherently conservative.
Mine on the moon
The discovery of water ice on the moon has started a new space race – and opened a legal frontier in which Australia has a unique role.
Morrison’s inner circle
Scott Morrison’s inner circle is a group linked by faith and friendship – and now, the front bench. Their ties were confirmed during the leadership spill last year.
Condemned to interesting times
As Labor loses party discipline over tax cuts, the Coalition enters into an ugly post-mortem of its leadership change.
Israel Folau’s cycle of sin
Following the sacking of Israel Folau by Rugby Australia, a fissure has opened up in the debate over equality and freedoms.
Protest in Hong Kong
As millions protest on the streets of Hong Kong, the democratic freedoms promised in the handover to China are being tested.
Rosie Batty’s private grief
Rosie Batty talks to Martin McKenzie-Murray about grief and healing.
The insecurity machine
The election was shaped by the character of two men. Its outcome shows us how the country reacts to insecurity, and what that means for change.
Double bluffs and Cory Bernardi
As Labor and the Coalition explore a double bluff on tax cuts, Cory Bernardi wants back into the Liberal Party.
Gaming the gaming industry
Australia records higher gambling losses than any country in the world, while the sector uses faulty research to avoid regulation.
Turnbull’s stray dog
The election result has put faith back on the national agenda. But the issue is dogged by a review Malcolm Turnbull commissioned and never had the chance to answer.
Looking for Mike Cannon-Brookes
As Al Gore continues his fight against climate change, Mike Cannon-Brookes has become the movement’s Australian face.
A shooting in Darwin
The mass shooting in Darwin was the worst in Australia since Port Arthur, but it received little attention. What happens to the people left behind?
The Morrison vacuum
As Scott Morrison searches for a path to legislate his tax cuts, concerns over press freedom continue to trouble his government.
Trade war now
As the trade war escalates between China and the United States, it’s the US that has become the radical actor.
Breaking up big tech
Once a radical thought, the idea of breaking up tech giants to help regulate them is gaining traction with politicians and tech entrepreneurs.
Sacking Scott Morrison
Before entering parliament, Scott Morrison ran Tourism Australia. He was sacked by the minister, but the details of what happened have never been made public.
Rates, raids and meeting the Queen
Scott Morrison flies back from meeting the Queen to a flagging economy and concern over raids on the ABC and other reporters.
Charlie Teo, virtuosic rebel
Charlie Teo is Australia’s best-known surgeon. His career asks difficult questions about the balance between hope and orthodoxy.
A mistake of fact
How “Mistake of Fact” makes drunkenness a legal defence for serious crimes, and the campaign to change that.
Morrison’s broad church
Scott Morrison’s cabinet is a careful balance between those who backed him during last year’s leadership spill, and those who backed Peter Dutton.
Anthony Albanese didn’t always expect to be Labor leader but now he’s in the job, he’s not going anywhere.
What Morrison did next
Two weeks after the election, Scott Morrison has identified 10 seats the Coalition wants to win.
From the Heart
Having once been rejected by government, the Uluru Statement from the Heart is readying for referendum.
Death of a president
Before his death, the former president of Nauru explained how a deal with Australia to open a detention centre destroyed democracy in his country.
The Mothers’ Resistance
Since its introduction, ParentsNext has been a controversial welfare program – but there is a mothers’ resistance mounting against it.