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Communications Minister Malcolm Turnbull outlines his metadata plans. AAP Image/Alan Porritt

Turnbull outlines the plans for new laws on metadata retention

Communications Minister Malcolm Turnbull has finally presented proposed legislation to the Australian Parliament regarding the Abbott Government’s plans for the retention of metadata. The proposed legislation…
Over half of Australia’s imported goods come from the Asia Pacific, which has 78 million child labourers, including these three in a Bangladesh balloon factory. EPA/Abir Abdhullah

Global supply chains link us all to shame of child and forced labour

The fragmentation of global production has dramatically increased the length and complexity of supply chains. The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) estimates that more than…
Activists have a range of options available to them to voice their anger at a company’s decisions. Dan Peled/AAP

The 100-member rule may be gone, but shareholder activism is here to stay

As part of its program to cut red tape and bureaucracy, the Australian government is set to repeal the 100-member rule. The rule contained in the Corporations Act forces a company to hold a general meeting…
Where the rainforest meets the plantation: there are probably a lot more insects. Ryan Woo for Center for International Forestry Research (CIFOR)

Palm oil plantations are bad for wildlife great and small: study

Palm oil plantations have an overall negative impact on biodiversity, according to research released this week. The study, published in Nature Communications, found palm oil plantations are home to fewer…
How do you know if your fish supper is sustainable? Mw12310/Wikimedia Commons

Like eating fish? It’s time to start caring where it comes from

Australians love seafood. Whether it’s fish and chips by the seaside or prawns on the barbie at Christmas, it’s integral to many of our traditions and social gatherings. Yet very little of the seafood…
Mining has become an industrial actor central to many of the most compelling political and social debates of our time. AAP/Dan Peled

Anthropology exposes how miners shape our world and our views of it

Miners do much more than extract minerals and make profits. All over the world mining corporations are collaborating with governments, local populations and NGOs. Their logos, mottoes and CEOs seem to…
Study the form guide all you like – on big race days, your money’s probably safer in your pocket. AAP/Joe Castro

How betting works – and why the Melbourne Cup skews the odds

Australia’s iconic sporting event – the Melbourne Cup – will see more than 100,000 punters pack into Flemington Racecourse this Tuesday, while those at work around the country pause to tune in to The Race…
The facts about mining revenues and taxation in Australia aren’t as clear as they should be under global transparency benchmarks. AAP/Rebecca Le May

Why isn’t Australia signing up to mining revenue transparency?

It’s a far-from-perfect instrument of global governance. But as the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI) coalition celebrates its 12th birthday, it can point to steadily increasing membership…
Five years on, the bush and people are recovering well from the Black Saturday fires. AAP Image/Joe Castro

Five years on from Black Saturday, most survivors are doing OK

Five years on from the devastating Black Saturday fires that swept through central Victoria in February 2009, research shows that people and communities are largely recovering well. In the first major…
Elon Musk has invested heavily in artificial intelligence – and yet he’s warning of its dangers. JD Lasica

Elon Musk is right: we need to talk about artificial intelligence

Last week, Elon Musk warned an audience at MIT that: we should be very careful about artificial intelligence. If I had to guess at what our biggest existential threat is, it’s probably that. Musk is the…
The performance of ASIC in regulating financial fraud remains under question, despite Chairman Greg Medcraft’s recanted statement that Australia is a “paradise” for white-collar criminals. Britta Campion/AAP

Do the crime, do the time? Not if you’re a banker in Australia

Recently, the head of the Australian Securities and Investments Commission, Greg Medcraft, called Australia a “paradise” for white-collar criminals. Soon after he recanted, claiming he didn’t want the…
In the lead-up to the London G20 summit in 2009, many businesses were boarded up, and some removed company logos from their premises. Scott Burnham/Flickr

When the G20 rolls into Brisbane, what are businesses insured for?

When the G20/G8 summits moved on from Toronto in 2010, they left an US$11 million bill in business compensation claims. To minimise the effect of preparations on businesses preparing for next month’s G20…
The Earth is finite - so are there limits to growth? NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center/Flickr

Why uncontrolled climate change may be an ultimate limit to growth

“But who do you think’s right, Prof? The optimists or the pessimists?” At the end of my sustainability economics course in 2007, students were challenging me to end 20 years of professional fence-sitting…
Season of contrasts: while Melburnians were deluged this week, Sydneysiders spent last weekend sunbathing. AAP Image/Tracey Nearmy

Stormy or sweltering, Australia’s spring arrives with a vengeance

Spring in southern and eastern Australia is a bit like an annual game of weather tug-of-war, with summer and winter pulling at each end of the rope. While Melbourne has been lashed by stormy weather this…
Twenty years on, Paul Keating’s Creative Nation remains a vital reference point in the history of Australian cultural policy. AAP Image/Julian Smith

Paul Keating’s Creative Nation: a policy document that changed us

Today marks 20 years since the publication of Creative Nation. An ambitious and expansive project by Paul Keating’s Labor Government, it was the first Commonwealth cultural policy document in Australia’s…
Positive portrayals of people with mental illness exist in the media but these are the exception rather than the norm. Network Ten

Homeland, Carrie Mathison and mental illness on television

When Homeland first aired in 2011 starring a CIA agent with bipolar disorder, Carrie Mathison (played by Claire Danes), it was commended for its realistic portrayals of people with mental illness. Courtney…
To see off challenges to its dominance, Malaysia’s government exploits Muslim sentiment at every turn. This has been a factor in sodomy charges against opposition figurehead Anwar Ibrahim. EPA/Azhar Rahim

Malaysia reaches a critical crossroad over state Islamisation

Fuelled by the rise of Islamic State (IS) in Iraq and Syria, debate about Islam and violence has flared again in Australia. In a predictable cycle of provocation and reaction, governments launch a wide-ranging…
Research shows children in early learning benefit from having a stable relationship with one teacher, but with 180 qualified early learning teachers leaving every week, that can be difficult to maintain. Shutterstock

Will the Productivity Commission deliver for the childcare sector?

Last year in an open letter to the prime minister and the leader of the opposition, early childhood employers and peak bodies joined forces to ask for a commitment to early learning. They warned the political…
A galloping horse puts four tonnes of pressure on lower limb joints with each stride. AAP/Hamish Blair

How trainers keep horses in winning form – and injury-free

In elite racehorses, biology is pushed to the limit – about four tonnes is placed on the joint surfaces in a galloping horse’s lower limb with every stride, and these repeated loads have the potential…
Thomas Sutikna holds the skull of LB1, the type specimen of the ‘Hobbit’, Homo floresiensis. Indonesian National Centre for Archaeology (ARKENAS)/University of Wollongong

A decade on and the Hobbit still holds secrets

Ten years ago today in Australia and Indonesia the scientific world was turned on its head. By a very small head, as it happens. We were part of the original joint Australian-Indonesian research team involved…
The amount of sun exposure and associated vitamin D production is believed to underlie the geographical gradient in multiple sclerosis prevalance. Thomas Abbs/Flickr

Explainer: multiple sclerosis

Multiple sclerosis is a neurological disease affecting almost 25,000 Australians and more than 2.4 million people worldwide. It’s one of the leading causes of disability in young adults. Typically, the…
Prize winners together – Ingrid Scheffer and Samuel Berkovic. WildBear

The genetics of epilepsy: bringing hope to families

The Prime Minister’s Prizes for Science – awarded at Parliament House in Canberra tonight – recognise excellence in science and science teaching. This year, we asked four prizewinners to reflect on their…