Editor’s Note

Editor’s Note April 2014

“I believe this is an important grace note in our national life,” said the prime minister.

Ah, grace notes. It’s been quite a month for those. The immigration minister, Scott Morrison, continued to insist that the asylum seekers claiming mistreatment at the hands of the navy did not merit having their allegations investigated. After all, hadn’t the defence minister, David Johnston, already pointed out they were “not even Australian”? Just to be safe, the attorney-general, George Brandis, later trumpeted everyone’s “right to be bigots”. Meanwhile, the assistant health minister, Fiona Nash, got away with scrapping a health ratings system for retail foods even though her chief of staff held shares in a lobby group for food retailers. Then, just as the assistant treasurer, Arthur Sinodinos, was preparing to rush through regulations that would allow financial advisers to continue to rip off unwitting clients, he had to stand aside after allegations he’d been making easy money of his own. At the climax of all this, in a move that just happened to refresh front pages around the country, the prime minister announced his “grace note”: a revival of the imperial honours of knighthoods and damehoods for people he considered “pre-eminent”.

Remarkably, the opinion polls are unchanged.

That the hordes – marchers in March notwithstanding – don’t seem to care much about the government’s behaviour is one of the minor frustrations of the editor’s lot.

There are others, of course. The average stay of a Monthly editor is two and a quarter years. I won’t be affecting that statistic: this is my last issue. One factor is the pull of five young children. Another is the long commute: that pull comes from beyond the Great Dividing Range.

At the same time, it has been an immense privilege to work with the very best writers of non-fiction in this country. It’s also been a joy to work with the finest editorial team an editor could wish for; Michael Lucy, the deputy editor, especially, is indispensable. Another of the team, online editor Nick Feik, who will be familiar to many via his excellent daily PoliticOz editorials, will now step up. Welcome, Nick, and thank you, readers.

John van Tiggelen

John van Tiggelen is a freelance writer and the author of Mango Country.

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