Sections

Services

Information

AU Australia

Home — Analysis and Comment

The system that allowed Lance Armstrong to cheat and dope successfully for years should share the responsibility for his behaviour. EPA/Olivier Hoslet

More than one bad apple: a systems view on the Lance Armstrong doping saga

There are again questions over Lance Armstrong’s admissions and apologies following a BBC interview in which the former cyclist and confessed drug cheat admitted he would take performance-enhancing substances…
Queensland’s drought conditions have been worsened by persistent high temperatures. AAP Image/Dan Peled

Who’s been affected by Australia’s extreme heat? Everyone

Australia has been hit by two years of heat: 2013 was the hottest ever recorded and 2014 wasn’t far behind, taking third place. The country has also sweltered through several significant heatwaves, and…
Cannibalistic crabs are hard to hatch and rear, but researchers in Indonesia are finding ways to stop them from eating each other. alexsvirid/Shutterstock

How to raise tasty cannibal crabs

Do you like eating crabs? In Jakarta, enjoying the tasty crustaceans has become a hot trend, as more restaurants with names like The Holy Crab and Cut the Crab open up. Crabs are delicious delicacies…
The US plans to arm and train ‘moderate’ rebels in Syria in addition to air strikes to defeat Islamic State forces. EPA/US Air Force

US plan to train ‘moderate’ Syrian rebels raises troubling questions

The United States' reluctance to become decisively committed to the complex quagmire in Syria is understandable. However, its plan to insert a US-trained-and-equipped “moderate rebel” force into the mix…
Artist Ben Quilty at last night’s I Stand For Mercy vigil for Myuran Sukumaran and Andrew Chan. AAP Image/Dan Himbrechts

Why is Ben Quilty supporting two convicted drug smugglers?

The prospect of the execution of Andrew Chan and Myuran Sukumaran has polarised Australians. While some argue the young men should suffer the consequeneces of importing heroin, others take a different…
Queensland Premier Campbell Newman and Opposition Leader Annastacia Palaszczuk will face off for their final leaders' debate on Friday lunchtime, as the clock ticks down to Saturday’s election. AAP/David Kapernick

Ten things to watch on and after election night in Queensland

You know it’s an extraordinary election when a party holds 73 of the 89 seats in parliament thanks to a record-breaking victory just three years earlier – yet there’s talk of that party losing government…
Prime Minister Tony Abbott has become a national laughing stock after knighting Prince Philip. AAP/Wayne King

Grattan on Friday: Tony Abbott faces battle to avoid self-destruction

If Tony Abbott were risk-averse, he wouldn’t have scheduled a National Press Club appearance for Monday. Or perhaps it was just another Abbott blind spot. Of course when Abbott signed up to turning up…
The first day of school can be tough for the parents as well as the kids, but it’s important it’s a good experience. AAP

The first day of school sets the tone for academic achievement

There are many transitions in life (starting school, moving house, changing jobs) and how well we cope depends largely on our perceptions of the event as well as the level of support we receive. The transition…
Compared to other antisocial people, psychopaths lack empathy and are less able to understand punishment. Viktor Gladkov/Shutterstock

Why violent psychopaths don’t ‘get’ punishment

The psychologist David Lykken once wrote that most violent crime could be prevented by cryogenically freezing all males aged 12 to 28. Although this option might be appealing at times for high school teachers…
During an outbreak, crown-of-thorns starfish can number in the millions and decimate coral reefs. Australian Institute of Marine Science/AAP

How scaring starfish could help to save the Great Barrier Reef

Crown-of-thorns starfish are one of the biggest threats to the Great Barrier Reef. Since 1985, the Great Barrier Reef has lost half its coral cover, with almost half of this coral loss due to the crown-of-thorns…
Socceroos all-time leading goal scorer Tim Cahill shows some of his ball skills to some young fans. AAP/Newzulu/Adam Marsters

The football skills needed for victory in the Asian Cup final

Watch out for some clever footwork and ball skills in this weekend’s Asian Cup final when the Socceroos face South Korea at Stadium Australia in Sydney on Saturday. The championship – played on Australian…
When airlines fill up, it’s not always easy to work out the cost. Patrick Lauke/Flickr

Explainer: fuel hedging and its impact on airlines and airfares

With oil prices on the decline, and analysts predicting record profits for the 2014/15 financial year, Qantas and Virgin Australia are under increasing pressure to abolish fuel surcharges and lower their…
Pressure is growing on Apple to pay more tax in Australia. Justin Lane/EPA/AAP

Without US support, multinational tax crackdowns will fail

It’s no secret that companies including Apple, Google, Amazon, Uber, Airbnb and Ikea seem to pay less than their fair share of tax in Australia. Despite booking huge revenues from sales to Australian customers…
Tertiary education is of both private and significant public benefit. AAP Image/Julian Smith

FactCheck: is tertiary education of private benefit?

I’ve always argued that tertiary education is a private benefit, I’m happy for taxpayer funding of primary and secondary education but tertiary education results in a higher salary. - Senator David Leyonhjelm…
Recognition is a super-human process that requires sacrifice …. and a bit of flying. Atsushi Nishijima/Twentieth Century Fox

Is it a Birdman? Is it a play? It’s super meta-textuality!

What do Shakespeare’s Hamlet, The Simpsons, and Alejandro G. Iñárritu’s film Birdman have in common? All three utilise the concept of meta-theatre. The concept of meta-theatre, or meta-text, in its crudest…
Queensland Premier Campbell Newman is widely tipped to lose his seat in the January 31 election – yet there are ways he could still be premier. AAP/John Pryke

Can Newman still be Queensland premier if he loses his seat?

If the Liberal National Party wins the Queensland election on Saturday, but its leader, Campbell Newman, loses his seat of Ashgrove, can he remain premier? This may be the question vexing minds on Sunday…
The potential rezoning of Tasmania’s Wilderness World Heritage Area for tourism development begs the question: just what is wilderness, and what is it good for? The Wilderness Society/AAP

Explainer: wilderness, and why it matters

The Tasmanian government this month released a draft of the revised management plan for the Tasmanian Wilderness World Heritage Area, which proposes rezoning certain areas from “wilderness zones” to “remote…
Australia has had a consistently high voter turnout thanks to compulsory voting. Niyazz/Shutterstock

Compulsory voting, much like democracy, beats the alternatives

Queenslanders will soon head to the voting booths to either oust or re-elect the Newman government and no doubt some will be wondering why. “Why must I vote or be fined? Why must I be forced to choose…
Precision medicine delivers treatment based on the particular variant of the disease by taking the genetic make-up of the ill person into account. Micah Baldwin/Flickr

Precision medicine offers the hope of cures made just for you

Hidden among all the other announcements in last week’s State of the Union address by US President Barack Obama was a promise to fund a new “precision medicine initiative”. The president said it would…
Stéphane Charbonnier’s Charlie Hebdo offended people of all religions, but when does causing offence become unethical? EPA/Yoan Valat

How do we decide if offending someone is unethical or not?

Causing offence to others often causes hurt. Such actions have been condemned as unethical, even immoral behaviour in a civilised society. There have been many examples. The Bill Henson photographs of…
The advent of digital media allows anyone to be a social commentator. ra2studio/Shutterstock

Everyone’s an expert: in the digital era, fakes need to be exposed

In the public eye, an expert, writing for newspapers and magazines or speaking on television, used to be considered almost infallible. The public rarely challenged their words and considered their analysis…