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Does Tony Abbott’s justification for Australian involvement in Iraq amount to a legal basis for our commitment? AAP/Dave Hunt

Australia’s military involvement in Iraq is legal – for now

The humanitarian missions by the Royal Australian Air Force in Iraq are in accordance with international law, despite a confusing statement by Iraq’s ambassador to Australia, Mouayed Saleh. But continued…
The picture of Australia’s economy right now is murky. PSJeremy/Flickr

Economic outlook in Australia remains murky

The CAMA RBA Shadow Board is a project by the Centre for Applied Macroeconomic Analysis, based at the ANU, which asks industry and academic economists what interest rate the Reserve Bank of Australia should…
Yobarnie at North Richmond in the 1960s. The area is the subject of a disputed development that featured at ICAC last week. P.A. Yeomans, Water for Every Farm, a practical irrigation plan for every Australian property, 1973

A heritage vision for sustainable housing goes to ICAC

Last week the New South Wales Independent Commission Against Corruption (ICAC) began investigating a political donation of A$18,000 made by Nathan Tinkler’s Buildev corporation. The 2010 donation helped…
Andrew Wilkie argues that parliamentary debate and authorisation should be necessary for Australia to go to war. AAP/Gary Schafer

Explainer: Australia’s war powers and the role of parliament

With the announcement of Australia’s involvement in dropping aid to Kurdish fighters engaged against Islamic State extremists in northern Iraq, questions have again arisen about who should control Australia’s…
You can join in the discussion from 11.30am AEST. Alessandro Valli/Flickr

LIVE STREAM: Smart Science symposium with Chief Scientist

Please note: the live stream has now finished. A video of the the live stream will be available soon. Australia in 2025 will be strong, prosperous, healthy and secure and positioned to benefit all Australians…
Australian jihadist Khaled Sharrouf spent time in prison for terrorist activities, but he clearly did not abandon his radical beliefs there. Twitter

When foreign fighters return: managing terrorists behind bars

The government’s mooted legislation to tackle returning foreign fighters will undoubtedly make it easier to detect and prosecute those involved in terrorism overseas. This means many returned fighters…
Most hospitals in Norway and Sweden are government-owned. Ariadna De Raadt/Shutterstock

Creating a better health system: lessons from Norway and Sweden

Australia has a relatively strong health system by international standards, but it needs a makeover. To generate fresh ideas, The Conversation is profiling five international health systems that have important…
How can students be sure their high distinction would be a high distinction at any other university? Flickr/Alan Rampton Photography

Comparing uni grades: is a distinction always a distinction?

Perhaps the biggest concern for students in higher education aside from the cost is their grades. Grades influence retention and attrition rates, scholarships, future employability and a sense of identity…
OpenOffice.org helped make Open Document Format popular. Flickr/Josep Puigdemont

Sharing work is easier with an Open Document Format

We often wish to share electronic documents with friends, colleagues, business or government, and the software application we use to prepare these documents will save them in a particular format. Any application…
A lack of intent may be at the heart of everyday racism. shutterstock

Explainer: what is casual racism?

There is nothing casual about racism. But the term “casual racism” has emerged over the last couple of years in media coverage reporting on more extreme forms of interpersonal racism, such as racist slang…
The 798 Factory in Beijing has been developed into the 798 Art Zone. dominiqueb

Industrial sites of old can be the cities of the future

The buildings from our recent industrial past can offer some exciting new places for the future, with a heritage character and sense of place. With some creative thinking and ambition, these sites can…
Timing matters. Stacey Newman/Shutterstock

Health Check: how to get pregnant

For couples trying to conceive, the chance of this happening within a year depends on their age. The monthly chance of pregnancy for couples where the woman is 35 years or younger is about 20% and 80-90…
Commentators have clamoured for the head of Alan Joyce after Qantas posted a $2.8 billion statutory loss. AAP/Paul Miller

Qantas turn-around: is Alan Joyce the right leader for the job?

Since becoming CEO in November 2008, Alan Joyce has led Qantas through one crisis after another: the global shut-down of operations in the 2011 industrial dispute; a major downgrade of Qantas credit rating…
Questions are being asked of the Qantas board over fleet decisions made years ago. Halans/Flickr

Did Qantas bet the house on the wrong planes?

When Qantas posted a A$2.8 billion loss - the highest in the airline’s history - last week, one critical point was that $2.6 billion came from a write-down of the value of the aircraft in the Qantas international…
Maria Alyokhina (L) and Nadya Tolokonnikova of Pussy Riot – part of a long Russian tradition. Michael Reynolds/EPA

Reviewing Pussy Riot’s aesthetic disobedience as Russian art

In the heart of Moscow, a group of young artists prepares to stage a new kind of artistic performance. They paint their faces and don flamboyant outfits of lurid colour. Their performance will be a march…
New Zealand prime minister John Key is accused of attack politics by proxy. AAP/Daniel Munoz

Dirty politics across the ditch may cost Key the election

Since its publication in August, Nicky Hager’s Dirty Politics: How attack politics is poisoning New Zealand’s political environment has dominated the political agenda in the lead-up to the September 20…
Social reading in book clubs helps readers make sense of big ideas through personal experience. Susana Fernandez

Book Week is good for kids – and book clubs are great for adults

If my Facebook feed is anything to go by, last month parents scrabbled to make costumes of popular characters from children’s books. They were preparing for the Children’s Book Council of Australia’s annual…
Our life expectancy improvements essentially mirrored other comparable countries. Kristo-Gothard Hunor/Shutterstock

Australian health care: where do we stand internationally?

There is an old joke about one fish asking another about the state of the water and the other answering “what’s water?” When you’re immersed in something and that is your daily experience, you are not…
The US is the international outlier on returns on investments in health care. Andy Dean Photography/Shutterstock

Creating a better health system: lessons from the United States

Australia has a relatively strong health system by international standards, but it needs a makeover. To generate fresh ideas, The Conversation is profiling five international health systems that have important…
Australia’s weather records need careful analysis to correct any introduced errors. Photographic Collection from Australia/Wikimedia Commons

No, the Bureau of Meteorology is not fiddling its weather data

Over the past week or so, the Bureau of Meteorology has stood accused of fudging its temperature data records to emphasise warming, in a series of articles in The Australian. The accusation hinges on the…