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Telstra is seeking a new type of connection with its customers. Joel Carrett/AAP

Telstra gets serious about health, but will the public trust it?

Australian telecommunications company Telstra has this week announced its intentions to significantly develop its health business. The latest addition to its portfolio of health services will come through…
Is our car culture soon to come to an end? Jes/Flickr

Self-driving cars will not help the drinking driver

There is an unexpected revolution underway in road safety. True, the highly visible community-wide programs continue, but behind the scenes there are major changes underway in how safety will be managed…
New Indonesian president Joko Widodo’s still unsure about attending the G20 Summit in Brisbane. AAP Image/Eka Nickmatulhuda

To G or Not to G(20): that’s the question for Indonesia’s new president

Australian prime minister Tony Abbott met with newly sworn Indonesian president Joko Widodo after his inauguration in Jakarta, inviting him to attend the G20 Summit in Brisbane. But Jokowi, as the new…
The Abbott governments rush to sign bilateral trade deals with countries including Japan has meant quality has been sacrificed. Alan Porritt/AAP

Australia’s trade negotiating strategy fundamentally flawed

Ten years on from the Australia-US Free Trade Agreement, Australia is entering another round of negotiations towards the new and controversial Trans-Pacific Partnership. In this Free Trade Scorecard series…
Before the Asian Century, it was Gough Whitlam that gave Australians the confidence to enhance their place in the world. Alan Porritt/AAP

Thanks for the confidence, Gough

“Where were you when Gough was sacked?” This of course refers to Remembrance Day, 11 November, 1975, when the elected prime minister Gough Whitlam was sacked by Governor-General Sir John Kerr in cahoots…
Reforming prime ministers don’t always have the luxury of choice. Julian Smith/AAP

Whitlam made the case for reform: an enduring economic legacy

“Men make history,” Karl Marx wrote in 1859 in his Critique of Political Economy, “but not always in circumstances of their own choosing". Whitlam himself would have chosen a different year to be his time…
From Adam Smith to the Australian classroom: a leap too far? angus mcdiarmid/Flickr

How economics lost its identity in Australia, and how to get it back

I will never forget the late summer day on which Johnny Smith (not his real name) came to my office at UNSW full of excitement about his incipient undergraduate career. “I want to work as an investment…
China needs to adopt a productivity reform agenda to avoid falling living standards. AAP

Look to China’s productivity gains, not headline growth figures

China’s economy grew by 7.3% during the third quarter of 2014, meeting market expectations. Polling by Reuters and the Wall Street Journal put the consensus forecast at 7.2-7.3%, the slowest pace in more…
With the progressive delegation of human decisions to machines we need to consider the impact on human autonomy. phloxii/shutterstock

Data mining the new black box of self-driving cars

Autonomous vehicles, or self-driving cars, are likely to be seen more widely on roads in 2015. Already, legislation authorising the use of autonomous vehicles has been introduced in the US states of Nevada…
The sale of Medibank private is unlikely to compensate taxpayers for the loss of future revenue. AAP

Undervaluing Medibank Private: taxpayers face a raw deal

The IPO of Medibank Private is set to take place on November 25, and the indicative share price range in the prospectus released today suggests a market capitalisation of between A$4.3 billion and A$5.5…
Patents have exploded in number in recent years, thanks largely to our lax standards for issuing them. www.shutterstock.com

How trade agreements are locking in a broken patent system

Ten years on from the Australia-US Free Trade Agreement, Australia is entering another round of negotiations towards the new and controversial Trans-Pacific Partnership. In this Free Trade Scorecard series…
The G20’s impressive declaratory record on energy cooperation hides serious practical shortcomings. www.shutterstock.com

Global commitment issues on display at the G20

With the Brisbane G20 Leaders Summit only a matter of weeks away, Australia is increasingly succumbing to G20 fever. Rarely does a self-declared middle power such as Australia get to play host to such…
We’ve all experienced the frustration of waiting for public transport, but would we pay more tax for improvements? Purple Wyrm/Flickr

Six ways to boost funding for better public transport

Although Australia’s tax-to-GDP ratio is low by international standards, no-one wants to discuss how we might pay for the improvements needed to public transport, and even less the need for taxation to…
Many Australian exporters find it difficult to crack the US government procurement market, while our policy leaves the door more open to US firms. Shutterstock

Australia’s procurement policy leaves our exporters behind

Ten years on from the Australia-US Free Trade Agreement, Australia is entering another round of negotiations towards the new and controversial Trans-Pacific Partnership. In this Free Trade Scorecard series…
A new culture is required for Australian manufacturing to be reinvented. Shutterstock

Entrepreneurs can help bring new thinking to manufacturing

With major employers heading offshore and employment numbers decimated, what will emerge from the ashes of Australia’s manufacturing industry? And what role should manufacturing play in the federal government’s…
Opening a mine in Queensland this week, Prime Minister Tony Abbott said coal was “good for humanity”. Dan Peled/AAP

Abbott’s G20 agenda: climate still the elephant in the room

News emerging from Washington last week suggests climate change may amount to more than an FAQ in the appendices of this November’s G20 leaders' summit agenda. President Obama’s deputy national security…
Australian manufacturing outliers demonstrate the need to invest in technology and management. www.shutterstock.com

Australian industry can learn from its manufacturing ‘outliers’

Australia’s manufacturing industry is in decline. Yet some businesses are managing to buck the trend. The question is what do these “outliers” do differently from their competitors? And what does each…
Job swapping: his for hers. Gaye Dell

Shared inequalities: at work and at home

Just as women face challenges in participating in the work domain, so men face challenges participating in the home domain. Emma Watson in her much-discussed UN speech observed that inequalities faced…