Sections

Services

Information

AU Australia

Home — Analysis and Comment

Spoiler alert: the Easter Bunny isn’t real. So how does it affect children when they find out their parents have been lying to them for years? Cordey/Flickr

The Easter Bunny tale: fun fiction or harmful myth?

All around the world many parents are preparing for Easter – possibly thinking of how Easter eggs will be hidden, how they will explain their delivery and perhaps bracing themselves for some challenging…
In a continuing dispute over the annulled 2013 election, the voters of the Maldives are demanding to be heard. Dying Regime

Voting in Asia: not meaningless charades, but public wants more

Is it possible to opine about “the state of democracy in Asia”? Although some studies credibly do so, such a task seems challenging to say the least. This is due to the region’s proverbial diversity. And…
Paternity doubts are a source of gossip and emotional trauma – with a man, woman and child caught in between. SBS (resized)

Who’s your Daddy? seeks answers in all the wrong places

How often is a person’s biological father someone other than the man they call dad? Paternity doubts are a source of gossip, on the one hand, and emotional trauma, on the other. But our assumptions about…
Women are often left behind in the super stakes. Kicki/Flickr

Superannuation sharing can help bridge the gender divide

Anyone who has been married knows there is a lot of compromise involved. Each party gives up something in order to get the benefits which can arise from sharing. Nobody get exactly what he or she wants…
Paper and pencil NAPLAN testing will go online in 2016, but will schools be ready? bibiphoto / Shutterstock.com

NAPLAN online: will Australian schools and students be ready?

The Australian Government plans to conduct the National Assessment Program – Literacy and Numeracy (NAPLAN) online from 2016. This presents a significant challenge for Australia’s 9,500 schools. Conducting…
Researchers using the Design and Art Australia Online database no longer need to trek across the country to examine works such as Jean Goldberg’s “Wheels”. Powerhouse Museum

How the internet liberated Australia’s art history

In 2014 it is hard to remember how isolated research on art in Australia used to be. Before the web, when we were all in hard copy, it used to be almost impossible to find information on Australian art…
The Largetooth Sawfish is one of the world’s largest fishes, growing to more than 6 metres. Miguel Clavero

Australian endangered species: Largetooth Sawfish

Sharks and rays are some of the world’s most threatened animals, with a quarter of all species at risk of extinction. Among the sharks and rays, sawfish are some of the most threatened, with all five species…
Narendra Modi won’t back away from border disputes with China if he wins the Indian election. Al Jazeera English/Flickr

Modi won’t be soft on China if he wins Indian election

Considering India’s aspirations to be a global power, foreign policy has played but a minor role in the current election campaign. The manifestos of the major parties also say little on the subject, so…
Mike Baird is the man chosen by the Liberal Party to replace Barry O'Farrell as premier. Who is he, and what challenges does he now face? AAP/Tracey Nearmy

From O'Farrell to Baird: a new start for NSW politics?

Mike Baird has been elected unopposed as the new NSW Liberal Party leader, and will soon become the state’s 44th premier after the shock resignation of Barry O'Farrell yesterday. But what are the prospects…
Distilling serious health issues – such as inflammatory proteins (in purple) in type 2 diabetes – into easy-to-understand concepts is made easier using animation. WEHI.TV/screenshot

Animating life: bringing science to the YouTube generation

Telling science stories often involves explaining complex interactions between a cast of molecular “actors”, on a set smaller than the wavelength of light, so scientists are increasingly using animation…
Homeopathic medicines are not drugs and homeopathy involves much more than the use of a particular therapy. Oonagh Taeger/Flickr

Does the weight of evidence signal the end of homeopathy?

The National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) recently completed a review of the evidence for homeopathy’s effectiveness and, after analysing systematic reviews of clinical trials, concluded…
Committing to new infrastructure is dangerous when political motivations are the driver. AAP/AAP Image/Alan Porritt)

Trains, planes and automobiles: how our cities get the mix wrong

It’s hard to get past the feeling that we are stuck in 1970s thinking when it comes to planning infrastructure such as airports. The Federal government has finally announced Badgerys Creek in Sydney’s…
Beef sales in Japan involve tightly controlled captive supply chains. Andy Rain/AAP

Japan-Australia deal leaves beef trade in the 20th century

The Japan-Australia Economic Partnership Agreement (JAEPA) signed last week is a bilateral trade deal in the old-fashioned mould. In the twenty-first century, global economic negotiations tend to be preoccupied…
The hanging of Masha. Bruskina on October 26 1941 was the first of the Nazis' many public executions in occupied Russia. http://www.capitalpunishmentuk.org/masha.html

Academics and ‘barbarians’: why one article aroused Russian ire

It’s not easy for Australians to become famous in Russia. It would seem harder still to become a figure of loathing in Russian print and online media. But Associate Professor Timothy Lynch, who teaches…
With the quirkiness of Comic Sans gone, what are we left with? comicneue.com

Is Comic Neue the new Comic Sans – sans the comedy?

A new font called Comic Neue, by Sydney-born designer Craig Rozynski, has been trending online in the past few weeks. The font was developed, in the designer’s words, “to save Comic Sans”, one of the most…
Self-interest and greed drive the decision-making of too many of the professional classes who most influential global policies. www.shutterstock.com

Want ethical responses to a world of trouble? Focus on character

We read a lot these days about corruption, self-interest and personal tragedies. The latest report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change for the first time explicitly considers climate change…
An unmanned Bluefin-21 of the type used in the underwater search for MH370. EPA/Leut Kelli Lunt/Australian Department of Defense

Searching underwater for MH370 is a shot in the dark

The ongoing search for missing flight MH370 has shown how finding objects such as debris on the ocean is difficult, but finding them underwater in the deep ocean is much more challenging. As of Tuesday…
US multinationals, through a network of lobby groups, are pushing back against attempts to reform international corporate taxation. EPA/Michael Reynolds

G20 tax reform mired in shadowy world of lobbying

Researchers estimate the US loses more than US$90 billion annually in corporate income tax revenues from tax loopholes and tax havens, also known as base erosion and profit shifting (BEPS). With a growing…
The tiny Pacific nation of the Marshall Islands could avoid being swamped entirely, although it will still suffer profoundly from sea-level rise. Christopher Johnson/Wikimedia Commons

Dynamic atolls give hope that Pacific Islands can defy sea rise

It is widely predicted that low-lying coral reef islands will drown as a result of sea-level rise, leaving their populations as environmental refugees. But new evidence now suggests that these small islands…
The Australian Labor Party is constantly faced with an expectation to be true to traditional ‘Labor values’ but to then adapt them to a changing Australia. AAP/Daniel Munoz

Identity crisis: who does the Australian Labor Party represent?

In the wake of the ALP’s poor result in the recent Western Australia Senate election, The Conversation is publishing a series of articles looking at the party’s brand, organisation and future prospects…
The university was worried the student would not practice medicine safely even if she completed her degree. Jack Hynes/ Flickr

A fine balance: disability, discrimination and public safety

A recent discrimination case has highlighted the difficulty of balancing the rights of disabled medical students with the rights of the community to safe medical and health care. In the BKY v The University…
Mark Scott has apologised to Chris Kenny for The Chaser skit – but how comfortable should satirists get with good taste? Norsi Stall

Kenny’s dog days are over – but is satire’s bark worse than its bite?

Hear ye, hear ye across the land! Chris Kenny is definitely NOT a Fido fiddler! Remember, he is definitely NOT a Fido fiddler. So sayeth – sort of – Justice Robert Beech-Jones in his judgment this week…
Why was this novel, completed in 1971, withdrawn from publication at the last moment? scrappy annie

Review: In Certain Circles by Elizabeth Harrower

It is nearly 50 years since Australian writer Elizabeth Harrower’s previous novel The Watch Tower appeared. Why, after producing four novels between 1957 and 1966, did she stop writing? Or at least stop…
NSW premier Barry O'Farrell has fallen victim to the state’s ICAC, resigning his post earlier today over a ‘memory fail’ in the evidence he gave before it. AAP/Dan Himbrechts

History repeats: how O'Farrell and Greiner fell foul of ICAC

Today, the New South Wales Independent Commission into Corruption (ICAC), claimed its biggest political scalp in two decades. Liberal state premier Barry O’Farrell resigned after what he has described…