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Gas infrastructure and exploration attracted the lion’s share of new energy announcements in the 2017 federal budget. Sean Heatley/Shutterstock.com

Budget 2017: government goes hard on gas and hydro in bid for energy security

The federal budget will pump A$90 million into boosting domestic gas production, as well as investing in pumped hydro and measures to monitor energy prices.
The Australian Federal Police will receive $321.4 million over four years for a range of measures. AAP/Lukas Coch

Budget 2017-18 brings welfare crackdown and increased defence and security funding: experts respond

The Conversation’s political experts react to the 2017-18 budget's key measures in the areas of welfare, foreign aid, defence spending and more.
Brett Whiteley: his colourful biography frequently obscures the seriousness of his work. Transmission films

Whiteley: a seductive cinematic portrait of a serious artist

Brett Whiteley's output was uneven but at his best, his work was brilliant. A new film offers an unusual insight into the life and art of this creative and troubled maverick.
Part of Charles Blackman’s The Exchange, 1952, oil on plywood on composition board. 91.7 x 91.7 cm National Gallery of Victoria © Charles Blackman

The schoolgirls of Charles Blackman – haunting works from a politically innocent age

Today, the idea of a male artist making a major series of paintings about schoolgirls, or any sort of children, sits uncomfortably with the public. But these were memorable and original works when painted in the 1950s.
With the right power policies, gas can have a brighter future. Steven Bradley

Want to boost the domestic gas industry? Put a price on carbon

The current domestic gas crisis will pass. But if the industry wants to surpass coal and fulfil its role as a 'transition fuel', it should lobby for a carbon price to help it on its way.
Humans have burned 420 billion tonnes of carbon since the start of the industrial revolution. Half of it is still in the atmosphere. Reuters/Stringer

We need to get rid of carbon in the atmosphere, not just reduce emissions

Global warming and carbon emissions, left unchecked, could cause rising sea levels and displace almost 200 million people. But we can still prevent the worst case scenario if we act now.
With the 457 visa scrapped, the new visa work program will have tightened work experience and English language requirements. Bernadett Szabo/Reuters

Australian government axes 457 work visa: experts react

The Turnbull government is axing the 457 visa program and replacing it with a new Temporary Skill Shortage Visa but it might not have the desired affect on the labour market.
Wollemia pine pollen cone. Wollemia pines (found in the wild only in Australia) are one of the most ancient tree species in the world, dating back 200 million years. Velela/Wikipedia

Where the old things are: Australia’s most ancient trees

Australia is home to some of the oldest trees in the world. But how do they live so long?
The ‘White Australia’ ideology was commercialised and used to sell things from soaps and games to pineapple slices. Multicultural Research Library

Australian politics explainer: the White Australia policy

While contemporary Australia is proud of its multicultural status, the White Australia policy shows this wasn't always the case.
The British parliament passed the Commonwealth of Australia Constitution Act in 1900. Museum of Australian Democracy

Australian politics explainer: the writing of our Constitution

Australia's Constitution is a product of foreign and domestic political influences. It has become one of the enduring aspects of Australian politics and law, for better and worse.
A new book tells a detailed story of how policy decisions about pokies are actually made. AAP/Mick Tsikas

How one family used pokies and politics to extract a fortune from Tasmanians

In Tasmania, a changing cast of actors has colluded to grant extreme riches to a single family, extracted in large part from the state’s most disadvantaged citizens.

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