Politics + Society – Analysis and Comment

The cover that trees provide transforms cities into much more hospitable places, especially in hot weather. AAP/Joe Castro

In a heatwave, the leafy suburbs are even more advantaged

Six years after Black Saturday, it's worth remembering that heatwaves kill more people than bushfires do, so shade can be a life-saver. But tree cover and shade are not evenly distributed in cities.
George Brandis says the government will adopt the proposed changes to anti-terror laws that criminalise disclosure. AAP/Lukas Coch

Despite changes, terror law will still curb press freedom

Until a public interest exemption is included in Section 35P, the offence will continue to impact press freedom and have a chilling effect on media organisations’ ability to report on ASIO’s activities.
Treasurer Scott Morrison had a bad first week of the new parliamentary year, as the idea of a possible GST increase came in for a barrage of negativity. Mick Tsikas/AAP

Grattan on Friday: Scott Morrison has been wounded in GST row

If the government eventually decides against embracing a 15% GST, we might look back and conclude that the mortal blow was delivered this week.
The housing problems experienced by low-income households are a symptom of entrenched inequality within Australia. AAP/Dan Peled

How policy success, not failure, has driven Australia’s housing crisis

Government policy has not, on the whole, failed. It has been a huge success insofar as protecting the opportunities for speculative investment and profit for homeowners and private landlords.
It may be accepted wisdom that Australians are disengaged from politics, but there are plenty of other indicators to suggest otherwise. AAP/Richard Wainwright

Australians couldn’t care less about politics? Really?

We may believe that Australians are disengaged from the political process, but that may be because we're not looking in the right places.
John Curtin and Ben Chifley were successful in expanding the power of the Commonwealth – and thus that of the prime minister. AAP/Alan Porritt

Lacking a script, individuals drove the evolution of prime ministerial power

Alfred Deakin and his contemporaries invented the Australian prime ministership. But it was not settled as a platform for national leadership until John Curtin and Ben Chifley's time.
Some voters in New South Wales may be forced to vote in a different electorate at the next federal election following a recent redistribution. AAP/Paul Miller

Explainer: how do seat redistributions work?

Any redistribution of electoral boundaries may significantly impact how parties are represented in the parliament. But how does Australia’s system of changing seat boundaries actually work?