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The year that was (plus, Buon Natale from Paul Bongiorno)
Scott Morrison started the year bruised by his response to the bushfire crisis. But the pandemic has seen a big bounce in his approval ratings. With an election predicted for next year, will it be enough to secure another term? Today, Paul Bongiorno on how federal politics played out in 2020, and what’s coming next.
Here come the vaccines
A huge, global effort to try and find a vaccine for coronavirus is showing growing signs of success. A number of possible candidates are moving into final stages of testing, and some are even hitting production lines. Today, Rick Morton on when Australians might see a coronavirus vaccine.
Yanis Varoufakis on making billionaires richer
The world is struggling to contain the fallout of the coronavirus, but has the pandemic exposed something more fundamentally broken about our economic system? Today, Yanis Varoufakis on where things went wrong, and how to envisage a fairer world.
How Australia will live with the virus
Australia has managed to effectively suppress Covid-19, but with more international arrivals experts predict that outbreaks will continue. Today, Amy Coopes on the measures that will keep Australia safe from here on.
Not by the Hehir of my political sin
Pressure has started to mount on the federal government following a string of scandals involving senior public officials. Today, Paul Bongiorno on the government’s attempts to use Covid-19 to deflect criticism.
Short back and emotional asides
After enduring one of the world’s longest lockdowns, Melbourne is slowly reopening and hairdressers are some of the first businesses allowed to welcome customers back. Today, Rick Morton on the return of hairdressers, and the intimate role they play in our lives.
The new path out of lockdown
After more than 100 days of strict lockdown, Victorians finally have a new path out of restrictions. It signals a more gradual easing than the government originally hoped. Today, Osman Faruqi on the story behind the slower path out of lockdown and where the risk now lies.
Australia’s medicine shortage
A reliance on imports has left Australia with dwindling supplies of some essential medicines and now experts are warning that manufacturing capabilities at home need to be boosted. Today, Margaret Simons on Australia’s pharmaceutical vulnerability.
Albanese draws the political battlelines
In his budget reply speech last night Opposition leader Anthony Albanese outlined his response to the economic crisis and criticised the federal government for spending in the wrong places. Today, Paul Bongiorno on how the political battlelines between the major parties are being drawn.
After the virus: Lidia Thorpe wants to change the system
Lidia Thorpe entered the Senate this week, becoming the first Aboriginal Senator representing Victoria. Today, she talks to Ruby Jones about rebuilding after the pandemic, and what we can learn from the communities that she represents.
“The most important budget since World War II”
As the Treasurer prepares the upcoming federal budget he’s facing pressure to spend big and keep the economy afloat. But can a government historically preoccupied with cutting spending invest more in economic stimulus? Today, Paul Bongiorno on the challenge facing Josh Frydenberg, and the country.
The new virus hotels
Victoria’s second wave has been attributed to an outbreak of Covid-19 amongst private contractors working in hotel quarantine, and now government documents reveal more contractors at quarantine hotels have tested positive for the virus. Today, Osman Faruqi on Melbourne’s ‘hot hotels’ and the risks they might still pose.
The truth about hospital transmission
Confidential documents leaked to The Saturday Paper show that hospitals remain a key area of coronavirus transmission, while doctors and nurses in Melbourne complain that they’re still not getting access to proper protective equipment. Today, Osman Faruqi on how healthcare worker infections are contributing to the length of Victoria’s second wave.
The grey pyramid scheme (part two)
A Royal Commission has heard hundreds of aged care centres are facing financial collapse, as the crisis in the sector takes its toll. In the second half of this special two part series, Rick Morton investigates what happened to the aged care sector under the leadership of Tony Abbott and Scott Morrison.
The grey pyramid scheme (part one)
For decades, we’ve been warned about a crisis in Australia’s aged care sector, and the coronavirus pandemic has exposed its failures. In the first half of a special two part series Rick Morton traces the problems in aged care to Howard-era reforms, demanded by private, for-profit providers.
The calm before the recession
Australia’s economy has taken its biggest hit since the Great Depression, but so far government stimulus measures have cushioned most people and businesses from the worst impacts. Those stimulus measures are about to dry up. Today, the upcoming danger zone for Australia’s economy, and how we can avoid it.
The politics of a coronavirus vaccine
A coronavirus vaccine is the best chance the world has of returning to some kind of normal, but the stalling of one of the most viable candidates last week was a reminder that nothing is guaranteed. Today, Karen Middleton on the Australian government’s plans and the likelihood of a vaccine in 2021.
Exclusive: Brett Sutton's leaked call
A leaked briefing from Victoria’s chief health officer has contradicted public statements on contact tracing, and highlighted flaws with the privatised response to coronavirus in the state. Today, Osman Faruqi details the extraordinary call, and what it means for Victoria’s roadmap out of the pandemic.
Scott Morrison’s shattered cabinet
Scott Morrison is waging a war on two fronts this week. He’s locked in a battle with state governments to reopen borders, and he’s increasingly blaming the Victorian government for the severity of the state’s second wave. Today, Paul Bongiorno on the growing political divide across the country.
How to collect coronavirus
Cultural institutions in Australia have begun to collect evidence of how coronavirus is changing the country in real time, as part of a movement to collect ‘social histories’. But how difficult is the task, especially when there’s no national vision for collecting culture in our country.
Here comes the recession
The Treasurer Josh Frydenberg started this week by launching an extraordinary attack on Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews, and ended it by presiding over the biggest fall in economic activity in decades. Today, Paul Bongiorno on Australia’s economic predicament and who’s really to blame.
Profiting off the unemployment boom
As Australia grapples with an unemployment crisis corporate job agencies are benefiting from a boom in government payments. Some are being accused of pressuring those looking for work. Today, Rick Morton on who is profiting from Australia’s unemployment industry.
Snapback: Scott Morrison's pandemic optimism
For months the prime minister has been projecting a return to normality, but what kind of Australia is waiting for us on the other side of the pandemic? Today, Sean Kelly on the type of society Scott Morrison envisions, and what might lie ahead.
The minister for not caring
In a week where the minister for aged care was unable to answer questions about the crisis in his portfolio, and details emerged about a branch stacking scandal in his own party, the Prime Minister is finding himself under increasing pressure. Today, Paul Bongiorno on whether we should be expecting more from our politicians.
The phone call that caused the aged-care crisis
The ongoing crisis in aged care has become one of the defining elements of Australia’s second wave. There are currently over 1500 active cases linked to aged care in Victoria, and hundreds have died. Today, Rick Morton on the new details that explain what went so wrong, and what the government could have done to save lives.
Why coronavirus could mean fewer nurses
As our hospitals face pressure from coronavirus outbreaks, we’re relying on nurses more than ever. But at the same time, the pandemic means many nursing students may not be able to graduate. Today, Santilla Chingaipe on the looming shortfall in our health workforce.
Spying in the age of coronavirus
The coronavirus is ushering in a new era of international relations, and intelligence agencies and spycraft are a key part of that change. Today, former intelligence officer Andrew Davies on the world of spies during and after the pandemic.
Look over there! A vaccine!
As a number of inquiries interrogate how prepared state and federal governments were for the coronavirus pandemic, the Prime Minister has evaded criticism by changing the topic to a potential coronavirus vaccine. Today, Paul Bongiorno on Scott Morrison’s attempt at distraction.
Inside the Ruby Princess: What went wrong
An inquiry examining the Ruby Princess saga has delivered its findings, six months after the ship docked. The cruise ship remains Australia’s largest coronavirus cluster. Today, Malcolm Knox, on who was responsible and what the inquiry found.
Inside the race for a coronavirus vaccine
The federal government has announced that Australia is in “advanced discussions” with a number of companies over acquiring a potential coronavirus vaccine. But how close are scientists to actually making one, and does it matter who gets there first? Today, Rick Morton on the global race for a vaccine.
Australia’s love of cops
This is a story about Australia’s psyche and the way our connection to policing makes us unique. During this pandemic, police have been handed unprecedented new powers, in stark contrast to the response elsewhere in the world. Today, Osman Faruqi on the nexus between police, politicians and the media.
Scott Morrison, a man of inaction?
At the beginning of the pandemic Prime Minister Scott Morrison was keen to project himself as a unifying leader. But as the crisis has stretched on he’s adopted a much more reserved approach. Today, Paul Bongiorno on Morrison’s strategy of inaction and if it will work.
Supercharging the generational wealth gap
The federal government’s decision to give workers access to their superannuation accounts risks dramatically increasing Australia’s generational wealth gap. Today, Mike Seccombe on how the government is reshaping the fundamental purpose of superannuation.
Anatomy of a state of disaster
Ten days ago, Melbourne entered the strictest shutdown the country has seen so far. Today, senior reporter for The Saturday Paper Rick Morton on the extraordinary powers a state of disaster bestows on the government, and how we got here.
Morrison’s coronavirus backdowns
While most of the focus has been on Victoria, behind the scenes the federal government has been sending mixed-messages on economic policy and state border closures. Today, Paul Bongiorno on whether Scott Morrison is accurately reading the mood of the electorate during this phase of the crisis.
What happens if you survive coronavirus
Today, we look at the people who call themselves coronavirus ‘long-haulers’ and the emerging research into their long lasting symptoms.
Reaganomics is back, baby
As Treasurer Josh Frydenburg praises Margaret Thatcher and Ronald Reagan’s economic policies, a controversial recovery plan is gaining traction. In today’s episode, Mike Seccombe discusses whether Australia can spend its way out of the crisis.
The Covid crisis in aged care
Aged care has been one of the hardest hit sectors during this phase of the Covid pandemic, with residents and their carers making up a large proportion of those catching the virus. Today, Rick Morton on the crisis in our aged care facilities, and why we should have seen it coming.
How Morrison is using coronavirus to destroy his critics
What drives Scott Morrison? And what can we learn about his ideology from the way he’s governing during this moment? Today, Richard Cooke on how the Prime Minister is using the pandemic to fulfil his political objectives.
Pandemic politics: Morrison vs. Andrews
Throughout the Covid pandemic traditional political hostilities have been dialled back, and governments have tried to project a sense of national unity. But that’s starting to fray. Today, Paul Bongiorno on the growing political stoush over the crisis in Victoria’s aged care system.
Coronavirus and the rise of "zombie charities"
With volunteers staying at home due to Covid and donations drying up, there are serious concerns about the viability of Australia’s charity sector. Today, Mike Seccombe on the challenges charities are facing, and what we might lose if they collapse.
Who is Neville Power, the man leading Australia's coronavirus recovery?
The Prime Minister has revamped the National Covid Coordination Commission, the body he tasked with leading Australia’s pandemic recovery. But what do we really know about Neville Power, the man in charge? Today, Margaret Simons on Power’s background, and what the Commission is actually doing.
Penny Wong on what happens after coronavirus
Penny Wong warns that coronavirus could unravel the rules-based system on which the modern world is founded. The shadow foreign minister says we must guard against trends towards nationalism and xenophobia.
The broke and the brittle
As the government reveals the extent of the budget deficit, Scott Morrison has become increasingly short in answering questions.
Scott Morrison and the invisible woman
The decision to pull subsidies from childcare has caused alarm in the sector - especially because it is the only industry where this has happened.
The moment Australia almost beat coronavirus
In the middle of last month, Australia had its last chance to contain the coronavirus pandemic. One strain of the virus was all but defeated, but then a second broke out.
The Prime Minister for NSW
As the pandemic worsens in Victoria, Scott Morrison has been careful to distance himself from bad news.
Setting up for the second wave
With Victoria one week into its second shutdown, and NSW on high alert, there are new fears about what a second wave could mean for Australia’s coronavirus recovery.
Morrison to the virus: ‘Ich bin ein Melburnian’
As Victoria enters a second lockdown, Scott Morrison has offered an apolitical response to the Labor state.
Locked in the nine blocks
Five days ago, the Andrews government used police to lock down nine public housing towers. We spoke to one resident, Hulya, about what is happening inside.
Does Scott Morrison want an early election?
As Scott Morrison looks at a bleak five years economically, some in his own party think he’s gearing up for an early election.
When is a bushfire like a coronavirus?
Instead of making us forget the bushfires, evidence suggests coronavirus will make us more conscious of the need for change. The urgent response to the pandemic makes political arguments against climate action less credible.
Morrison’s economy (unplugged)
Scott Morrison is strongly against further economic stimulus. But as a $60 billion hole shows up in the JobKeeper program, questions are being asked about whether enough is being spent.
The crisis universities should have seen coming
Almost overnight, Australian universities lost billions of dollars in international student fees. Some are asking how they could have been so reckless in depending on this money in the first place.
Don’t mention the trade war
The Morrison government’s excitement about a coronavirus inquiry cannot cover over the trade war opening up with China.
Who is really planning Australia’s economic comeback?
The Prime Minister has appointed a panel of business leaders to develop a blueprint for the country’s economic recovery, but there are serious questions over how they were picked. Today, Mike Seccombe on the vested interests leading this panel and what they’re pushing for.
Back on the tinnies
Pubs, restaurants and other businesses across the country are reopening and the government is predicting an economic comeback. But will the recovery be fast as hoped? Today, what one territory’s reopening can tell us about the path ahead.
How Covid-19 united conspiracy theorists
Conspiracy theorists have been energised by Covid-19, with misinformation on everything from 5G to vaccinations spreading online. Today, Rick Morton on where these theories really begin and the groups actively encouraging them.
Back in black. Cough, cough.
As the federal government struggles to rebuild Australia’s battered economy, the threat of a trade war with China risks hampering our recovery. Today, Paul Bongiorno on the twin challenges of rebuilding the economy, and managing our relationship with our largest trading partner.
The ABC’s funding crisis
ABC staff are revealing the pressure they are under as the public broadcaster absorbs huge budget cuts. Today, Mike Seccombe on the role the ABC plays during a national crisis and the future of the national broadcaster.
Australia’s worst coronavirus cluster
The decision to allow passengers on the Ruby Princess to disembark led to Australia’s biggest coronavirus cluster, and it’s now being investigated by a number of inquiries. Today, Karen Middleton on what happened in the hours leading up to the ship’s docking.
Inside the Newmarch cluster
An aged care facility in NSW is the site of one of Australia’s biggest clusters of Covid-19. Now, with 16 dead, the centre’s owners have been threatened with sanctions and the loss of their licence. Today, Rick Morton on what went wrong at Newmarch House.
Jane Caro on reopening schools
The Prime Minister is arguing that school closures are leaving the most disadvantaged students behind, and he’s calling for schools to reopen. Today, Jane Caro on how the political debate over coronavirus is reframing the inequality in education funding.
Making sense of the Black Summer
Thousands of Australians had their homes and lives destroyed by last summer’s bushfires, and now Covid-19 is shattering their plans to rebuild. Today, Rick Morton on what happens when a pandemic follows a natural disaster.
The 160,000 jobs lost while the government waited
Serious questions are being asked about whether the timing of the government’s economic relief packages may have actually led to job losses. Today, Mike Seccombe on the flaws in our rescue package that could have cost 160,000 jobs.
The real reason supermarket shelves were empty
When the pandemic hit Australia stores across the country were stripped of food and other essential items. The situation revealed deep vulnerabilities in our food supply system. Today, Margaret Simons on why our supermarkets weren’t prepared for this crisis.
How Scott Morrison sparked a new war with China
Scott Morrison’s push for an inquiry into the coronavirus outbreak has further strained Australia’s relationship with China. The Chinese government has expressed concern and threatened retaliation. Today, Paul Bongiorno on a new low in Chinese–Australian relations.
Evangelical Christianity in the age of coronavirus
The Prime Minister’s relationship to the founder of Hillsong has focused attention on the church. But what does evangelical Christianity look like in an age of climate change and coronavirus? Today, Lech Blaine on the appeal of Hillsong and how it influences the most powerful politician in the country.
The generation “done over” by coronavirus
Younger workers are bearing the brunt of the current economic downturn, just like they did during the GFC. Today, Mike Seccombe on how the pandemic is fuelling generational inequality.
Anthony Albanese’s pandemic response
Labor leader Anthony Albanese is juggling the need to appear constructive while holding the government to account. But what does the public actually want from their opposition during this crisis? Today, Karen Middleton on the Opposition’s tactics in a pandemic.
The inside story of Australia’s coronavirus supercluster
Tasmania’s Covid-19 supercluster has forced hospitals to close and lead to thousands of residents being quarantined. Today, we investigate how a severe shortage of protective equipment and the encouragement of dubious practices preceded the deadly outbreak.
The truth about coronavirus fines
Analysis of the fines for the Covid-19 public health orders reveals a disproportionate number have been issued in places where Indigenous Australians and those from migrant backgrounds live. Today, what the pandemic is revealing about racial bias in policing.
The coronavirus endgame
As the number of coronavirus infections in Australia stabilises, talk has turned to how and when this crisis might end. Today, Mike Seccombe weighs up the different exit-strategies and analyses the coronavirus end game.
“I can survive until the end of May, maximum.”
There are over 1 million migrant workers in Australia who aren’t eligible for any financial support from the government as they try to navigate their way through this crisis. Some face destitution and homelessness. Today, we speak to one migrant worker negotiating this new reality.
Virus economics: you and whose numbers
With the global economy facing its biggest downturn since the Great Depression, the Treasury and the IMF are at odds on the extent of the damage in Australia. Today, Paul Bongiorno on the competing economic forecasts for the country, and the way forward.
What governments are hiding behind coronavirus
While the country’s attention has been focused on the fight against coronavirus, Energy Minister Angus Taylor has forged ahead with a plan to prop up a coal-fired power generator. Today, Mike Seccombe on the push to undermine environmental protections during this crisis.
Taking back control of our super
Australian superannuation accounts are tumbling because of the coronavirus pandemic. Today, Richard Dennis on how our secretive $2 trillion super industry is spending our money and what needs to change.
The other holes in Australia’s quarantine
Confusion between different levels of government has exposed flaws in Australia’s strict quarantine measures, and they go beyond the case of the Ruby Princess. Today, Karen Middleton on the other holes in Australia’s quarantine.
Spotlight: Tracing the source of coronavirus
As coronavirus shuts borders and creates global panic, Rick Morton explains where the virus originated and looks at attempts to combat it.
How coronavirus could break the NBN
The NBN is facing it’s most crucial test yet, and there are serious questions over whether the network will handle the unprecedented demand. Today, Paddy Manning on our virtual lifeline, and how it’s holding up.
The women and children at risk in a lockdown (plus, the Pell verdict)
The coronavirus lockdown has led to an increase in domestic violence reports, but many victims aren’t able to access support services. Today, Rick Morton on how life has become even more dangerous for some women and children.
Policing a pandemic
In response to the coronavirus pandemic, police have been granted extensive new powers to crack down on public association, private gatherings and travel. Today, Mike Seccombe on how Australia is policing a pandemic.
How Scott Morrison became an accidental socialist
The past week has completely changed the way politics works in Australia, with a right-wing government introducing the most radical economic measures in a generation. Today, Paul Bongiorno on the political earthquake that rocked Parliament House.
A Nobel prize winner explains coronavirus
Professor Peter Doherty won the Nobel prize for his research on how our bodies fight off viruses. Today, we ask him what makes Covid-19 different from other infections, and what we should be doing now to prepare for the next pandemic.
Should we bail out the airlines?
Australia’s airlines have been hit hard by coronavirus, and they’re asking the government for billions of dollars in financial support. Today, Royce Kurmelovs, on whether it’s time the government nationalised the airline industry.
Hoaxes, lies and coronavirus
With misinformation about coronavirus rampant, we look at what the spread of the virus is telling us about news, social media, and who we trust.
Coronavirus, part five: One month in
Scott Morrison’s first national address on coronavirus was one month ago. Today, Paul Bongiorno on the decisions his government has made since then and how they stack up.
Coronavirus, part four: the Australian scientists who could beat it
A team of Australian scientists are working around the clock to find a vaccine against coronavirus, and they’re on the verge of a breakthrough. Today, Rick Morton on the race to find a vaccine.
Coronavirus, part three: the economics of a shutdown
With hundreds of thousands of Australians losing their jobs, the economic cost of coronavirus is becoming clear. Today, chief economist at The Australia Institute Richard Dennis on how we can get through the next 18 months.
Coronavirus, part two: How the government failed
Medical experts say that the government’s slow response to the coronavirus outbreak has left Australia exposed. In part two of our series on COVID-19, Mike Seccombe on the challenge our country and health system is facing.
Coronavirus, part one: The frontline
As the number of confirmed coronavirus cases grows in Australia, Dr Nenad Macesic describes how doctors are handling the pandemic and what the future holds. This is part one of a five-part special.
The day coronavirus swallowed Scott Morrison
With the cost of coronavirus growing everyday, will Scott Morrison’s stimulus be big enough and fast enough? Today, Paul Bongiorno, on the future of the economy, and the Prime Minister.
Ten questions about coronavirus
What are the symptoms of coronavirus? What can people do to stay safe? What kind of responses will be the most effective? Today, Rick Morton answers some of our basic questions about coronavirus.
Trust in the time of coronavirus
Public trust in government is at an all time low, just as we’re turning to our political leaders to tackle the coronavirus outbreak.
Can Team Australia beat the coronavirus?
With economic and social effects of the coronavirus outbreak accelerating, the government has finally released the details of a $17.6 billion stimulus package. Today, Paul Bongiorno on whether the government’s actions will be enough to stave off a recession.
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.
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.