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Lawyers and asylum seeker advocates are concerned that the Border Force Act will have a ‘chilling effect’ on whistleblowers working in detention centres. AAP/Eoin Blackwell

Border Force Act entrenches secrecy around Australia’s asylum seeker regime

The Australia Border Force Act further entrenches the culture of secrecy around our asylum seeker policy at the cost of open and transparent government. That is something we should be worried about.
Predicting the severity of the flu season based on one data set paints an unnecessarily scary picture. Sabbhat Sabacio Striges/Flickr

Have you noticed Australia’s flu seasons seem to be getting worse? Here’s why

Australia's in the middle of the annual flu season and once again, it's claimed to the worst on record. But why is it that every season seems to outdo previous ones and how bad is this year, really?
The determined avoidance of reference to human rights is a tactic, by both sides of politics, to avoid accountability. AAP/Mick Tsikas

Human rights don’t matter in our public debate – but they should

No-one is inclined to refer to human rights in public debate in Australia when its leaders either avoid the idea or attack it, and the news media are silent on it.
Michal Motycka’s Diamonds is one of the standout works at Sculpture by the Sea in Aarhus, Denmark. Photo: Clyde Yee. Sculpture by the Sea

Sculpture by the Sea is thriving – on the coast of Denmark

Bondi's highly popular Sculpture by the Sea has set up shop in Denmark – and the Aarhus event has proved to be an astonishing and very different success to its predecessor.
Diminishing returns: how long should experts be expected to search for health problems no one has proved are real? EPA/Horacio Villalobos/AAP Image

More research is good, but not if wind experts are told what to find

"More research needed" is a familiar cry in science. But in the case of the Senate's call for yet more scrutiny of wind farms, there are signs that experts are being ushered in a preconceived direction.
One of tens of thousands of homes and buildings blown over across Vanuatu by Cyclone Pam in March 2015. AAP Image/ Kris Paras

Rebuilding a safer and stronger Vanuatu after Cyclone Pam

One of the most hotly debated questions in Vanuatu has been about how communities can rebuild so that they are safer and more resilient to future cyclones. That's not as simple as you might think.
People in Vanuatu were quick to make the most of the resources they had after Cyclone Pam hit their homes – including these boys, Manu and Leo, photographed a week after the cyclone at a school housing residents evacuated from Teouma. AAP/NEWZULU/Jeff Tan

100 days since Cyclone Pam, people across Vanuatu pause to reflect on loss and resilience

This Sunday marks 100 days since Cyclone Pam hit Vanuatu, with ceremonies in villages across the nation to mourn the 11 people who died. Meanwhile, islands left brown in the aftermath are green again.
Woolworths chief Grant O'Brien will step down, but not before a replacement is found. Dan Peled/AAP

Woolworths forced to eat a slice of humble pie

The hubris on show at Woolworths was never sustainable, and as a result CEO Grant O'Brien will join more than 1,000 employees losing their job.
The sacrament of marriage that takes place in the eyes of God is a separate process from the state’s legal recognition of the coupling. Shutterstock/MNStudio

State view won’t change marriage in eyes of a man and woman’s God

The sacrament of marriage does not depend on the law, which exists only to regulate the rights and responsibilities arising from the practice. For religious believers, same-sex marriage won't change their union.
Ironically, meeting global targets to preserve a proportion of the world’s forest could weaken motivation to protect the rest of it. Jami Dwyer/Wikimedia Commons

Conservation parks are growing, so why are species still declining?

It’s now five years since the International Year of Biodiversity, and nearly 15% of Earth’s land surface is protected in parks and reserves. By 2020, we should reach the agreed global target of 17%. This…
Kate Grenville, with The Secret River, found herself in the middle of a debate at the heart of history. Chris Boland/Flickr

On the frontier: the intriguing dance of history and fiction

'History and fiction journey together and separately into the past; they are a tag team, sometimes taking turns, sometimes working in tandem.' Enjoy the second part of our series, Writing History.
Immigration Minister Peter Dutton will have the sole power to strip dual nationals of their Australia citizenship if they are believed to be involved in terrorist activities. AAP/Dave Hunt

Explainer: what is ‘judicial review’? How does it apply to citizenship?

Simply having judicial review for the contentious power to strip citizenship from dual nationals suspected of involvement with terrorism – without independent merits review – is far from reasonable.
It will take more than a major round of redundancies to save Malaysia Airlines. Fazray Ismail/EPA/AAP

The Terminator as boss: why mass sackings don’t work

Malaysia Airlines is letting go 6,000 staff as it seeks to turn around its fortunes. But research shows downsizing on this scale doesn't usually work.

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