Australian politics, society & culture


Mungo MacCallum

Mungo MacCallum is a political journalist and commentator. His books include Run Johnny Run, Poll Dancing, and Punch and Judy. Visit his blog, The View from Billinudgel.

Articles by this author

Who will take the blame for the Commonwealth Bank’s latest scandal?
The buck stops here
Talking about inequality is not exactly new. Almost a century ago the writers F Scott Fitzgerald and Ernest Hemingway were musing about it in their short stories. “Let me tell...
What is Foxtel doing with $30 million of taxpayers’ money?
Bad sports
It was a week that featured the same-sex marriage imbroglio, the NBN disaster, the water-rorting in the Murray-Darling Basin endorsed by Barnaby Joyce, and now the accusations...
Section 44 of the Constitution is not an adequate way of gauging allegiance to Australia
It’s just the vibe of the thing
Another fine mess the Constitution has got us into. Section 44 – the bit that deals with the eligibility or otherwise of members of parliament – is archaic, confusing and...
It’s nice that Nick Greiner thinks a chat might end the Abbott–Turnbull war
On the bright side
The new Liberal Party federal president, Nick Greiner, is aiming for the Nobel Peace Prize, and he’s doing it the hard way. Eschewing simple conflicts such as solving the...
Turnbull isn’t the only Liberal avoiding mathematical reality
A simple case of arithmetic
The most remarkable thing our prime minister said last week was not his claim that the party founded by Sir Robert Menzies was not Conservative but Liberal – even liberal, a touch...
Turnbull cannot ignore Abbott and hope the problem magically disappears
He who must not be named
The philosopher Ludwig Wittgenstein once declared, “What we cannot speak about we must pass over in silence.” And Malcolm Turnbull could not agree more. The idea that if you...
Is the factional infighting just growing pains or symptomatic of an identity crisis?
The Greens’ colour wars
Lee Rhiannon is undoubtedly the disrupter, but in a sense the public fracturing of the Greens is largely the fault of her leader, Richard Di Natale. He was the one who decided...
What does the government think it will achieve with its proposed reforms?
The thin edge of the citizenship wedge
You might not know it, but Australia is in deadly peril. National security is endangered on all fronts, the most obvious indicator being the imminent arrival of fleets of boats...
The Trump impression is just another eggshell for the PM to walk on
All jokes aside
Let’s face it, it was hardly surprising to find Malcolm Turnbull taking the piss out of Donald Trump. For starters, just about everyone does it – indeed, for much of the time, The...
Theresa May and Malcolm Turnbull are both regretting their early elections
Malcolm Turnbull can hardly rejoice about the conservative debacle in the UK last week. But he must be feeling a perverse satisfaction that he is not the only mug who called an...
The opposition to the Uluru statement is dispiriting and frustrating but predictable
Foregone conclusions
The crusaders of the far right have delivered their sentence: the Uluru statement is to be dead, buried and cremated before it can infect the fairness and decency of the ignorant...
The anniversary of Menzies’ forgotten people speech is a plea by the conservatives to get back to their roots
The mythical Menzies
For much of last week the Liberal Party was creaming its well-tailored trousers over a speech made 75 years ago by the party’s founder. Actually he was not the party’s founder...
The rumours of Anthony Albanese’s leadership challenge have been greatly exaggerated
The non-existent coup
It was less than a week after the budget before febrile stories of a leadership coup started to surface. Not, specifically, about Malcolm Turnbull: the fact that he is on...
The government was brave to stand up to the banks but the battle has just begun
Take it to the banks
At last, a truly courageous decision from the government of Malcolm Turnbull. Even Sir Humphrey Appleby would be somewhat gobsmacked. It is still not entirely clear what...
The ban on gambling advertising during live sporting events is welcome and necessary policy
Regulate responsibly
Two cheers for the nanny state – or, if you prefer it, a regime attempting to enhance the physical, mental, economic and social wellbeing of the community. The big one was a...
John Coates’ 27-year AOC tenure must end before real change can take place
Marathon man
John Coates has been the Australian Olympic Committee’s unchallenged supremo for 27 years – that’s already ten years longer than the reign of Robert Menzies as prime minister –...
The government is more concerned about opinion polls than solving real problems
Housing divided
Scott Morrison says that Labor’s eight-point plan to help ease the housing crisis will make no real difference. Well, he should know. Barely a week ago Morrison cautioned that...
Turnbull’s trip to India produced very little except another PR boost for the Adani mine
A pointless passage to India
It has to be said that Malcolm Turnbull’s passage to India was a bit of a letdown. For starters, he played an almost inaudible second fiddle to the country’s wildly popular...