Politics + Society – Analysis and Comment

Barnaby Joyce will replace Warren Truss as Nationals leader and deputy prime minister. AAP/Mick Tsikas

Truss out, Joyce in – what next for the Nationals?

Under new leader Barnaby Joyce, the Nationals – the most-successful minor party in Australia’s political history – will pretty much continue to be treated as the Akubra wing of the Liberals.
Researchers are divided about the nature of love, and whether it is universal or changeable. Shutterstock

What is this thing called love?

Researchers have tried for many years to understand the nature of romantic love. But it remains a mystery.
Labor has accused Stuart Robert of breaching ministerial guidelines by misusing public office. AAP/Mick Tsikas

Will heads roll? Ministerial standards and Stuart Robert

The principle underlying the ministerial standards is that ministers should uphold the public's trust as they wield a great deal of power deriving from their public office.
Philip Ruddock attracted the ire of human rights activists for his actions as a minister in the Howard government. AAP/Dean Lewins

Ruddock as human rights envoy? Don’t scoff too soon

As Australia’s special envoy for human rights, Philip Ruddock will have the chance to change the world instead of listening to other people make suggestions about how it might be done.
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.