Transparency isn’t a silver bullet, but increasing it would go some way to changing the secrecy around who has access – and how much – to the government of the day. AAP/Lukas Coch

Influence in Australian politics needs an urgent overhaul – here’s how to do it

A new report from Grattan Institute argues the secrecy and inequality surrounding who has "say" and "sway" in Canberra can be remedied – if politicians can just find the will to do it.
Most people never have the chance to see how animals live in laboratories. from www.shutterstock.com

Is it time for Australia to be more open about research involving animals?

Since 2012, more than 120 of Britain’s universities, research institutions and pharmaceutical companies have signed a public pledge committing them to greater openness in their animal research programs.
Prosecution rates of sexual assault cases remain low, with fewer than 50% of cases brought to court in NSW resulting in conviction. Shutterstock

New laws help juries understand why victims of sexual violence struggle to recall their assaults

The change in law is part of broader reforms that came out of the Royal Commission into Child Sexual Abuse in both NSW and Victoria.
Liberal women such as those in the Morrison ministry, pictured here, should organise to achieve structural change - the only kind that ever sticks. AAP/Lukas Coch

Quotas are not pretty but they work – Liberal women should insist on them

The Liberal Party is at a crossroad in its history. It must take bold steps to ensure better representation in its ranks by introducing gender quotas.
Everyone was up in arms about a lack of privacy with My Health Records, but the privacy is the same for other types of patient data. from www.shutterstock.com

If privacy is increasing for My Health Record data, it should apply to all medical records

New laws mean My Health Record data is more protected than other patient data. Privacy policies should be the same across the board.
Morrison’s brush strokes on his own portrait are designed to create the image of a leader tuned to the voters’ concerns, rather than the “Canberra bubble”. Lukas Coch/AAP

Grattan on Friday: Morrison aims to make agility his prime ministerial trademark

Morrison is tactically quicker than Turnbull, just as in his messaging he can cut through more sharply. He's more attuned to the emotional and knee-jerk drivers of today's politics.
It’s just a tiny part of the Y chromosome that kickstarts the development of testes. Kelly Searle/Unsplash

What makes you a man or a woman? Geneticist Jenny Graves explains

There are many cultural and social factors involved in making a baby into a man or a woman. But biologically speaking, sex starts when you're just a tiny group of cells in your mother's uterus.
Government MPs raise their hands in response to a question from Scott Morrison: our PM emulates a Pentecostal preacher, engaging in the call and response that features in that tradition. Mick Tsikas/AAP

Friday essay: what do we want to be when we grow up?

We need a new national narrative, for reasons of diplomacy, trade and social cohesion and to grapple with many global challenges. The humanities and social sciences will be vital in shaping it.
A postage stamp printed in Norway showing an image of Alfred Nobel, circa 2001. catwalker/Shutterstock.com

Should all Nobel Prizes be canceled for a year?

This year's Nobel Prize for literature was nixed because of a sex scandal. Other Nobels have neglected key contributors. Should all prizes be cancelled while criteria for winning is reassessed?
Electric scooters could solve the ‘last mile’ problem of urban transport if operators learn from the mistakes that plagued the introduction of dockless bikes. CrowdSpark/AAP

Can e-scooters solve the ‘last mile’ problem? They’ll need to avoid the fate of dockless bikes

Shared electric scooters appeal as a way to cover that awkward distance between public transport stops and your destination. But first e-scooter operators must solve the littering and dumping problem.

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