Because their votes may be open to negotiation, crossbench senators often have the final say on the form, and passage, of legislation.
Instead of treating crossbenchers in parliament as a source of chaos and an aberration, we should recognise that they play a crucial role in shaping legislation as the constitution provides.
We don’t send as many letters these days but, as historians know, there’s nothing quite as resilient.
Australians might now prefer to send emails over private letters but let's not overlook the letter’s unique, tactile role, particularly in its most intimate expressions.
Given Australia’s involvement in Iraq, Tony Abbott cannot dismiss human rights abuses by Iraqi security forces fighting Islamic State militants.
Australia has a clear obligation under international law to take action to stop abuses of human rights and international humanitarian law by the ISF and Shi’a militia.
Is Bill Gates' desire to help tackle the world’s problems compatible with his foundation’s huge fossil fuel investments?
The Gates Foundation is being urged to dump its sizeable fossil fuel assets. Bill Gates cares deeply about world health and development, both of which are affected by climate, but will his charity divest?
Malcolm Fraser has passed away at the age of 84.
In his time in office, Malcolm Fraser oversaw the acceptance of southeast Asian refugees and led economic and social welfare reforms.
Unless community concerns are heard and responded to, the NSW coal seam gas industry will keep running into road blocks.
Stop CSG Illawarra/AAP
Whether you're a supporter or opponent of coal seam gas, the looming New South Wales election will decide the industry's future in the state. So what are the three key issues to watch?
The Kepler satellite discovers exoplanets by measuring the light drop from a star when a planet moves in front of it. Maths can uncover many more exoplanets.
Australian National University and the Niels Bohr Institute
The search for life on other planets gets a boost thanks to an old calculation that found Uranus in our solar system.
One of the paintings that Brett Whiteley’s ex-wife Wendy insists is a forgery.
AAP Image/Genevieve Gannon
The current furore over a set of Brett Whiteley paintings has put art fraud back in the headlines. The bad news is that in Australia, the conditions are very favourable for art fakers.
The University of California is the world’s leading university on dealing with climate risk to its investments - most others have a long way to go.
Do universities deserve praise for pledging to drop fossil-fuel investments, or for actually doing it? Former Liberal leader John Hewson, who leads the Asset Owners Disclosure Project, says only the latter.
What’s the point of being a great musician if it comes at the cost of a life well lived?
Like the medical profession, classical music is being forced publicly to confront an endemic culture of sexual harassment. Self-regulation has failed young musicians and action is long overdue.
The story of Jake Bilardi (centre) has distorted the characterisation of what most people think of as a radicalised individual.
There will be more Jake Bilardis to come, and Australia must realise that no two cases will be entirely the same. Radicalised individuals will come from all areas of society.
The capacity for compassion is with us from birth, but as a community we have lost sight of the value of treating all others as we wish to be treated ourselves.
A global movement aims to let compassion guide political and community life. This has obvious relevance for a competition-driven nation with a troubling capacity for harsh attitudes and policy.
Fewer than one in three surgical trainees are women and the numbers fall as doctors reach advanced training.
In a high-pressure surgical environment, where older male consultants dominate, and there is great competition for training positions and jobs, women are vulnerable to sexual harassment.
Indigenous rangers like Yugul Mangi senior women (from left to right) Edna Nelson, Cherry Daniels and Julie Roy, are crucial guardians of the outback environment.
Remote Indigenous communities aren't just places to live - they are also crucial for supporting ranger programs and other projects that protect the environment in areas that might otherwise go untended.
Australia’s waterside cities and towns are under threat from rising sea levels unless more is done to stop CO2 emissions.
The 2015 Intergenerational Report underestimated the threat of climate change. An open letter from environmental and climate scientists.
Fans admire a Formula 1 in Melbourne ahead of the season opening Australian Grand Prix.
AAP Image/Tracey Nearmy
The Formula 1 season begins in Melbourne this week and a number of changes have been made following the tragic accident last year which has left one driver still in a coma.
Not everyone being paid the minimum wage will move beyond these conditions.
Image sourced from www.shutterstock.com
The Productivity Commission appears to want to steer public debate on the minimum wage in a particular direction.
Not all science demonstrations will appeal to all people.
Most science communication appeals to those who already love science. It's harder, but important, to reach out to the disengaged too.
The three scenarios in Joe Hockey’s Intergenerational Report present very different pictures of the future budget situation.
The Intergenerational Report may actually be underestimating the scale of the budgetary challenges ahead.
Women and older people form two ‘armies’ Treasurer Joe Hockey is hoping will help protect Australia’s future prosperity.
Experts question where the jobs for older Australians will come from.