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Balanced response: Tony Abbott’s budget speech should be thoughtful, not just critical.

Same old cycle - explaining our budget attention deficit

There is a sublime moment in the first series of The Thick of It, the brilliant British comedy TV series that satirised the inner workings of modern government, where the Minister for Social Affairs and…
Woolworths’ Masters chain is set to challenge Bunnings’ market dominance. Flickr/beeep

Can Woolworths master the tools of Bunnings’ trade?

Woolworths has unveiled details of its plan to launch an assault on the $42 billion Australian hardware and home improvement market with its Masters store brand, raising the prospect of a new chapter in…
Our relationship with China has been marked by misunderstandings and spats. AAP

When it comes to China, we don’t get it

Prime Minister Julia Gillard returned from her visit to China last month having locked down a series of cooperation agreements between countries - including a $600 million iron ore deal - which many hope…
You don’t need eight of these a day to be healthy.

Monday’s medical myth: drink eight glasses of water a day

We have all heard the popular advice that we should drink at least eight glasses of water a day, so it may be a surprise that this is more myth than fact. Of course our bodies need water, otherwise we…
Will an agreement between Fatah and Hamas lead to peace with Israel? AAP

Petty power struggles and shifting sands: Hamas and Fatah reunite

The idea of Hamas and Fatah burying the hatchet and uniting in their struggle for Palestinian self-determination will generate many reactions amongst their people, their neighbours and those concerned…
Is removing a top predator really an experiment we want to try? AAP

Who’s afraid of the big bad wolf: is the dingo friend or foe?

Another attack on Fraser Island - the flashpoint for dingo management issues - has highlighted our complex relationship with these animals once again. But when we shoot and trap dingos, do we really know…
Stretch it out: calls for a Sovereign Wealth Fund are intensifying.

Is a sovereign wealth fund a good idea?

Calls to establish an Australian Sovereign Wealth Fund have intensified with the world’s biggest bond managers, Pacific Investment Management Co (Pimco) calling on the Federal Government to manage for…
Obesity rates have fallen most in children from disadvantaged communities. Wyan Vota

Preschooler generation might be first to buck obesity trend

With one in four children obese or overweight, there is no shortage of bad news about Australia’s battle with obesity. But recently, a glimmer of hope has emerged. Between 1999 and 2007 the prevalence…
Incremental measures have reduced smoking among men from 72% in 1945 to 21% in 2007.

Plain cigarette packaging will change smoking… slowly

When it comes to branding and advertising, much of what we are exposed to creates only marginal difference. But even small differences can tip the balance toward a particular choice, and plain packaging…
A lack of leadership is hampering Libya’s rebels. AAP

The disorganisation of Libya’s rag tag rebels

A consistent theme of the media coverage following the rebel campaign in Libya is its disorganisation. The news footage shows gaggles of unkempt men remonstrating passionately with each other over what…
Liberal MP Bill Heffernan with Coles boss, Ian McLeod at the Senate inquiry into grocery prices on Tuesday. AAP

Milk wars: pointing the finger at Coles and Woolworths

Coles and Woolworths are fighting a price war on milk, beer and now chicken. Why? With the emergence of Aldi and more recently Costco, we’re seeing the two big supermarkets worried about losing some of…
Creating a stir: the young woman at the centre of the recent AFL scandal faces an ambivalent reception. Picture: AAP.

The St Kilda schoolgirl and our troubled relationship with tricky women

We usually don’t like tricky women. Even worse, tricky girls like the alternately cunning and naïve teenager who recently got the better of several AFL players, a player manager, and, arguably, the football…

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