Australian Catholic University

Australian Catholic University (ACU) engages the Catholic Intellectual Tradition to bring a distinct perspective to higher education. We explore cultural, social, ethical and religious issues through the lens of the Catholic Intellectual Tradition in our teaching, research and service.

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Chris Bowen’s new policy on bridging visas takes the Pacific Solution further in the wrong direction. AAP/Dean Lewins

Bridging visas send refugee policy further down the wrong track

It is clear enough that the Gillard government’s revived Pacific Solution has not stopped the boats: it has not even slowed them. In 2002, the boats stopped, some months after the Pacific Solution was…
A royal commission into institutionalised sexual abuse in the Catholic Church in Australia has been announced. AAP/Dave Hunt

Royal commissions: how do they work?

Prime Minister Julia Gillard has announced a royal commission into child abuse in churches, schools and foster homes. The inquiry will include, but not be limited to, allegations of abuse in the Catholic…
The currently accepted blood lead goal – 10 micrograms per decilitre – needs updating. Tony Bibbs

Time to rethink blood lead goals to reduce risk to children’s health

Lead exposure continues to be an important public health issue for Australian children, with as many as 100,000 children under five years of age estimated to have blood lead levels high enough to cause…
Single mothers such as Michelle Daly have high aspirations for their children. Reducing their payments won’t help achieve them. AAP/Lukas Coch

Taking the big stick to single parents is not the answer

New legislation was passed last week to move single parents off the parenting payment, and onto the Newstart Allowance once their youngest child turns eight. Advocates for this change suggest that the…
There was absolutely no evidence that reading bad news led to immediate increases in stress responses for either sex. Dani/Flickr

Forgettable study sparks sexist headlines about women remembering

Attention women of the world: according to a flood of recent news headlines (78 at last count), it’s time to stop watching the news because negative news stories stress you out more than they do men. These…
State governments are looking at changing the way they deliver education. AAP Image/Mick Tsikas

The policy and politics of education cuts

At a time when the Commonwealth sponsored Gonski Review of School Funding is recommending an increase of $5 billion a year plus for schools around Australia, it may seem odd that some state governments…
Social impact bonds - like other outcome-based contracts between governments and social services - can only work if the incentives are well defined. Image from www.shutterstock.com

Without the right incentives, social benefit bonds can leave us in a bind

The NSW Treasury’s current trial of social benefit bonds is attracting a lot of attention, including a session devoted to bonds and other social enterprise innovations at the Economic Society of Australia’s…
The Pope’s decision to allow Anglicans into the Catholic Church may be the first step on the way to a unified church. EPA/Alessandro Di Meo

A unified Church? Pope gives hope to Anglo-Catholics

In his first message on becoming Pope, Benedict XVI said the impelling duty of the successor of Peter was “to work tirelessly to rebuild the full and visible unity of all Christ’s followers”. “Concrete…
Julia Gillard espouses “evidence-based” policy and Bob Hawke set up a Future Commission, but policy-making is necessarily subject to all manner of short-term pressures. AAP/Tracey Nearmy

Challenge 5: The trouble with policy-makers thinking ahead

In part five of our multi-disciplinary Millennium Project series, Scott Prasser questions easy sloganeering about the importance of “long-term” policy-making. Global challenge 5: How can policymaking be…
Different people can interpret facial expressions differently. Rishi S

Surprise! Facial expressions aren’t necessarily universal

You can tell a lot about a person’s emotional state by looking at their face. A quick glance can give you an idea of whether a person is, say, happy or angry, allowing you to modify your behaviour accordingly…
Sharing advances in knowledge is a universal human desire, whether you see the light or not. Aristocrats-hat

God, why do scientists have such a hang-up with religion?

A recent post by The Conversation columnist Rob Brooks, Analytic thinking erodes religious belief, is just another in a long line of articles, books and opinion pieces seeking to perpetuate the myth that…
Clive Palmer should probably stick to what he’s good at. AAP Image/Dan Peled

Forget contesting Lilley, Clive Palmer should stick to his day job

Mining magnate Clive Palmer has put his name forward to run for the Liberal National Party (LNP) against Treasurer Wayne Swan in the Queensland seat of Lilley at the next election. Palmer has been a vocal…
While the wheels of bureaucracy turn, schools wait for more funding. Andreas Ebling

Gonski review: public inquiry on school funding needs more work

A two-year process of research, consultation, public input and expert consideration and analysis is a reasonable route to follow for a government-appointed independent inquiry into a major policy issue…
Our academic experts crunch the numbers on school funding. Pink Sherbet Photography

Gonski review: full coverage

The biggest review of school funding in decades has been handed to the government. The report recommends an injection of A$5 billion to the education sector, three-quarters of which would go to public…
We may not be a “Christian country” but we’re certainly not secular. AAP/Paul Miller

This Christmas, the real myth is that Australia isn’t religious

It’s a debate we have every year. A school changes the words of a Christmas carol, or a council puts up a banner saying “Happy Holidays” instead of “Merry Christmas”, sparking debate on all sides. Are…
Hesitation might be our crowning achievement. nana untel

Looking backwards and forwards – is that what makes us human?

Understanding what is special, if anything, about the human brain is a scientific problem of such magnitude it has defied all manner of investigation for centuries. And human consciousness, our experience…

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