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Who is this bloke Rick Morton and what makes him tick?

We must put more creativity and life experience into the material written about politics and life today with more knowledge, truth and emotion so that the reader understands our sincerity. Today’s writers often display an ability to use words that carry facts with a bite of actuality, but the urgency and drama they demand must be more full-bodied.

This does not apply to the very gifted author of the following:

“It is difficult to attach a coda to a years-long abuse that will linger for decades in the minds of welfare recipients past and present. If this inquiry does nothing else, it has furnished the bones of the worst abuse of Australian citizens committed deliberately and with legal and personal impunity over five years.

There were multiple moments where documents were wilfully disappeared or left in the apparently inert state of “draft”; where ignorance was installed as a default operating system; where dozens of public servants from the middle ranks all the way to the top either knew or should have known, who, in their commitment to each other but not the people who suffered under their arrogance, sought to cover up an extraordinary act of cruelty.

Their ministers demanded fealty and got it. They argued that poor people never did anything for the country and then sought to burnish their already fraudulent money management credentials off the misery of those same poor people. What has been examined only slightly in this inquiry is an inconvenient fact: even if it were legal, robo-debt would still have killed people. It would still have crushed people.

Robo-debt’s architects didn’t even have the faux-decency to try for legal justification: they had long since given up the moral argument.

Whatever Commissioner Holmes finds in her final report, due in June, the key witnesses will have been provided with more procedural fairness and due consideration of law than any of the 460,000 robo-debt customers were ever given.

Justice, like income, is also uneven.”

Rick Morton (author of the above) is the bloke we all need in our life to show us it is going to be okay.

Morton’s entire piece was first published in the print edition of The Saturday Paper on March 11, 2023.

Rick Morton is a senior writer for The Saturday Paper and a regular on ABC’s The Drum. He is only a young man, but his answers to many questions are articulated with all the wisdom of an old sage. The paragraphs (above) I refer to summarise his views in an article he wrote for The Saturday Paper titled; Robo-debt final week: ‘It served them right, did it?

Such was the public response that the Saturday Paper is giving a free read to those who wish to avail themselves of the opportunity.

On television, he appears almost slovenly but explains away his character traits with sculptured words that describe his upbringing, his journey through depression and his sexual orientation.

Chris Gordon of Readings bookstore says of him that:

“Morton’s journalism has marked him out as a writer of rare compassion and forensic curiosity, and across his memoirs, he’s applied that to questions of his own capacity and incapacity, and his 2019 diagnosis of complex post-traumatic stress …”

High praise indeed.

Rick has attended many sitting days at the Royal Commission into Robodebt and has undoubtedly sat through many hours of highly demonstrative evidence some days and on others words that would tremor the heart. Both, no doubt, would have been exceedingly frustrating. He was, I believe, taken aback by the Conservative’s treatment of those they victimized and, in so doing, caused multiple suicides.

Reading Rick Morton’s words and listening to him speak gives me some reassurance that my own work contains a few of Ricks’s human characteristics.

I can only conclude by making mention of the Royal Commissioner, Ms Catherine Holmes AC SC. She is a woman very experienced in law and life. Her questions to the witnesses (when required) were laden with common sense. Unafraid to put witnesses in their place, she intervened with authority and respectfully asked questions.

Her comments about the Fourth Estate were with merit because they carried the essence of truth. The right-wing of Australian media needs to pay more attention to what is arguably the worst policy decision ever by an Australian Government.

The left media, including Facebook and Twitter, have been rightly alarmed and forcibly so. The Commissioner was right to point this out and to give them credit.

My thought for the day

Question everything. What you see, what you feel, what you hear and what you are told until you understand the truth of it. Admitting that you are wrong is an absolute prerequisite to discernment and knowledge.


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  1. Phil Pryor

    Stuart Robber, Snot Moron, and B Joyce-Pistagain, Susspectan LLLEEEYYY (for luck) , the conservative cast of clods, clappedouts, cruds, clowns, clag and clumpsonstyfloors, are a DISGRACE, seem to be clearly criminal, deserve investigation, charges, sentences, the wall, the squad, the anonymous plot, the exclusion from conversation, expunging from records, removal from memory…

  2. Kerri

    My goodness Mr Lord I started this article with all of my defensive hackles up.
    Your opening paragraph worked.
    Ricl Morton is by far one of Australia’s leading journalists. Easily on par with David Marr for not just empathy but a mind-boggling ability to understand and thoughtfully dissect a situation to break it down until all can be understood.
    Rick’s autobiographies are heartbreaking and very human in places. Uplifting and heartwarming in others.
    I have a secret bet with myself every time I see the Saturday Paper headlines as to which article comes from his fine wit and it is nearly always the article that most defends those who are mistreated or simply forgotten by various levels of government.
    He has seen enough,of life to understand the pain of others.
    I thoroughly recommend his writings to anyone who has not experienced them.

  3. John Lord

    Thanks Kerri. My sentiments exactly.

  4. Steve Davis

    “They argued that poor people never did anything for the country…”

    That elitist mind-set, that liberal mind-set, can be traced back to the Norman conquest of Britain, where the English were seen by their Norman overlords merely as a resource, (hence the Domesday Book) and as a lesser species.

    This contempt for the working class came through in the works of the 19th Cent. economists such as Ricardo. It continues to this day in liberal circles, but has been kept hidden, because…elections.

    We should not be surprised by this. After all, John Locke, one of the leading lights of liberalism who sits atop the liberal pantheon, was involved in an attempt to establish a feudal colony in the Carolinas in which workers were to be the property of the landowners.

    Locke was also a huge influence on the framers of the US Constitution, which explains the utter ruthlessness of US foreign policy.

  5. 2353NM

    You are right Kerri – Morton is a wonderful writer with a highly developed sense of fairness and equity. Hopefully we will be in a position to benefit from his input for years to come.

  6. Terence Mills

    I have long been a fan of Rick Morton’s writing.

    The observation “a writer of rare compassion and forensic curiosity” sums up well this talented bloke from the bush.

    After leaving Newscorp his first piece for The Saturday Paper, titled Murdoch media fuels far-right recruitment, sparked backlash from Newscorp, with columnist Nick Cater calling it a “vile anti-Murdoch hate speech dog whistle”. Rick noted Cater’s perceptive accuracy and attention to detail.

  7. Jaq

    Rick Morton is a rarity nowadays, when all we have left of our ‘illustrious ‘ 4th estate, is a bunch of liberal spoon fed hacks, who don’t report the news at all.

  8. Paul Smith

    “Such was the public response that the Saturday Paper is giving a free read to those who wish to avail themselves of the opportunity.”

    This is not a complaint. AIMN obviously has no control over what The Saturday Paper website does. I am merely reporting my experience of trying to link to the free read. I tried several times. Each time what looked like the whole article was blocked after a few seconds. Just sayin…

  9. John Lord

    Sorry if l have misled you Paul. At the time l wrote the article it was free. Perhaps there was a time limit. It was an exceptional read.

  10. Paul Smith

    All good, John. I have a friend who gets the print version. I’ll get it from her. Cheers.

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