In the first Quarterly Essay of 2014, Paul Toohey searches for the solution our politicians have been unwilling or unable to find, and asks whether, amid the diplomatic turmoil, we’ve now missed our chance. Tony Abbott promised to stop the boats. With the help of Kevin Rudd’s "PNG solution", he has. But at what cost? Visiting the Indonesian departure points, Toohey tells the dramatic stories of asylum seekers heading from Java to Australia, investigates people-smuggling and witnesses the aftermath of a sinking at sea.
When Mal Brough and John Howard announced the Northern Territory intervention in mid-2007, they proclaimed a child abuse emergency. In this riveting piece of reportage and analysis, Paul Toohey unpicks the rhetoric of emergency and tracks progress. One year on, have children been saved? Will Labor continue with the intervention? What are the reasons for the social crisis and how might things be different? Toohey argues that the real issue is not sexual abuse, but rather a more general neglect of children.