Australian politics, society & culture


Richard Cooke

Richard Cooke is a writer, broadcaster and contributing editor to the Monthly.


Articles by this author

Image of Pauline Hanson
The Australian right is startling for its incoherence
My words appear to leave you cold; Poor babes, I will not be your scolder: Reflect, the Devil, he is old, To understand him, best grow older. – Goethe, Faust Part 2, lines...
Image of James Packer
James Packer has been down, but he’s not out
Arrested development
“Ladies and gentlemen, I have made many, many mistakes in my life, but investing in China is not one of them.” – James Packer, speech to the Asia Society, 14 March 2013....
Centuries of failed migration policy must not be repeated
Letting Catholic priests into Australia was a mistake
Warning: you are now entering a politically incorrect zone. Australia is in the middle of an honest discussion, fuelled by Immigration Minister Peter Dutton. Previously, Australia...
Image of Donald Trump
How did American democracy come to this?
Bonfire of  the narratives
“Novelties”, bookmakers call them. That’s where you can wager on an Elvis sighting or alien contact event, usually at long odds. “Donald Trump is elected president” was once a...
James Lovatt
Lovatts Crosswords gave its profits to employees. What went wrong?
A game theory
“The most fundamental fact about the ideas of the political left,” wrote the libertarian conservative economist Thomas Sowell, “is that they do not work.” Before writing this off...
Media heat obscures weak support for the played-out Pauline Hanson
One Nation under Pauline
In the aftermath of the Brexit vote, a Financial Times journalist noted that it was a “rather strange day. The Prime Minister resigning is only our third most important story”. By...
Using money to shape messaging is being cemented as a permanent feature of conservative budgets
Spending discipline
Ultimately, it was $4.90 that did for Al Qaeda. In the thick of the War on Terror in 2002, George W Bush’s officials were still deciding how to deal with captured members of the...
Jonathan Franzen
An interview with Jonathan Franzen
Canon fodder
There’s something a little old-fashioned about Jonathan Franzen. I don’t mean old-fashioned in the bird-watching, fist-shaking at the internet and wearing thick black-rimmed...
The dominance of baby boomers is becoming total
The boomer supremacy
Mike Baird, the premier of New South Wales, can’t have been prepared for this. Two months ago he was probably the most popular politician in Australia, presenting a wet Liberal...
The most perfunctory of checks would have shown Paul Sheehan’s allegations were almost certainly untrue. But he couldn’t help himself.
A tissue of lies: Paul Sheehan and “Louise”
“When she gave me verifiable facts, they were verified,” wrote Paul Sheehan, in the article that was teased on the front page of the Sydney Morning Herald on Monday morning....
Panic about drugs has little to do with safety and a lot to do with moral prejudice
Drugs are bad (part 2)
This is the second part of two-part article about the causes of our war on drugs. Read the first part here. It’s not about risk. We know it’s not about risk, or harm, or...
The war on drugs can’t be ended by logic, statistics or facts, because it’s not about drugs
Echolalia (part 1)
At the beginning of the 20th century, there were only a handful of hallucinogenic psychoactive substances known to humankind. By the end of the millennium there were hundreds....
Australia should have a long, hard think about the kind of people we prioritise
The cult of the arsehole
I re-watched Whiplash the other day. If you haven’t seen it, it’s a terrific, morally indefensible movie about a music teacher who pushes a young jazz drummer to greatness. Its...
Making sense of the adult colouring craze
Between the lines
“Do you sell the pencils as well?” I asked the woman in the bookstore. She had already recommended her favourite colouring books for adults. They didn’t sell the art supplies,...
Andrew Bolt’s anti-racism campaign isn’t going so well
Bolted down
“How could I have failed so completely to convince so many people that I am actually fighting exactly what I’m accused of?” That’s the question Andrew Bolt asked his readers...
The ISIS attack on Paris can’t be shoehorned into existing narratives
Ne plus ultra
“And it’s absolutely incumbent on all decent people, but particularly on religious leaders, Muslim religious leaders, to say, ‘This is not part of our faith’. It never should have...
A failure to differentiate itself from the Liberals has left the ALP with little to sell
Making progress
“My fellow progressive Australians, it seems most of us have fallen in love with a guy who is going to break our hearts.” That’s former New South Wales Premier Kristina Keneally,...
Any argument will do when it comes to raising the GST
A mature debate
As the season changed, so too did the tone. The prime minister tried to strike a moderated note on the GST. “What I am proposing is that we have a mature and rational debate about...